If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re not some hobbit – you can’t just sleep under a random tree. Thus, as a traveler, you need a place to rest your feet, catch some Z’s and maybe even have a shower. However, not all lodging options are made the same, so finding the right one for you might present a great conundrum. Here’s our advice on how to choose hotel, hostel or some other form of rentable-roof-over-your-head.
- Hotel vs. Short-time Rental vs. Couchsurfing vs. Hostel
Unless you’re travelling with a camper or plan on sleeping in a tent, you probably want to find a place with four walls and a roof. Hotels are the old stand-by, usually well-placed, somewhat affordable and ready to take care of many of your needs. Hostels are their cheaper cousin – they might not be fit for a family travelling with kids, but you can still find a private room for two.
Short-time rental – as made popular by AirBnB – is the strange cousin to the hotels, in that you get to stay in an apartment that someone had previously lived it. Naturally, they vary wildly and you can hardly expect such luxuries as maids and breakfast. But if you don’t mind that – and if you’re a hardcore adventurer – you might even give couchsurfing a spin. This can even be free – yet the trade off is having to trust people and be ready to adapt to their routine somewhat. On the other hand, who knows the city and the country better than the locals that live there?
- Review the Testimonials
Now, before you pull the trigger and enter you bank details, you should really seek out testimonials about the place you’re choosing. If you’re going for a hotel or a hostel, Booking.com is of great help. The website only allow reviews by people that actually stayed at the location.
Cross-check it with TripAdvisor to see pictures of how the rooms actually look. On the other hand, don’t trust TripAdvisor reviews too much – they allow anyone who wants to comment.
Meanwhile couchsurfing is pretty well covered by websites like couchsurfing.com.
When you read the reviews – whether they be of hotels or couch-owners – it’s best to concentrate on ones that are less than a year old. After all, you wouldn’t want to reserve a hotel room that’s suffering a catastrophic vole infestation just because you read a shining review from 2012!
- Consider the Location
It’s highly unlikely that you’re going on a vacation solely to enjoy the amenities at the hotel. You probably want to go out, see the sights, drink in the atmosphere, party a little, and take selfies in front of ancient monuments.
That’s why the location of you lodgings matters. You need be sure that you’ll be able to reach the cool stuff with minimal hassle and time expenditure. If everything you want to see is downtown, getting a room in the suburbs is not that smart.
You might also want to take note of how the safe the location of your hotel/hostel/couch is. Neighborhoods around major train or bus stations are usually unsafe, and you’ll want to check for other stuff like that.
- Balance Budget vs. Luxuries
However, there’s more to choosing your stay than just the location and whether there’s a chance that your host is a weirdo. You also have to consider the balance between your budget and luxuries. For budget, you don’t want to spend too much money on the hotel and be left without the funds to finance your fun. Sure, even going for a walk in a foreign land might be fun while also being totally free, but you probably want more than that. Eating is a thing you have to keep in mind, too.
Luxuries, on the other hand, are the things that make the place to rest your head “cool” rather than “tolerable.” Does your hotel offer wi-fi, is there hot water in your hostel, will you have to share the bathroom in the AirBnB? Will you get breakfast, or will have to fend for yourself? Can you check out in the middle of the night so you could make it to your 5:00 (that’s 5 AM for our American readers) flight? Keep these in mind when you budget!
- Cancellation policy
Unfortunately, travelling is not a frictionless experience. Bad things can happen: you might be late for your plane, your boat might get hijacked, you might face a family emergency, and so on. In case something like this happens, it’s really smart to get a hotel that offers free cancelation. I mean, you already have enough stress from not getting to go on your holiday – why should you pay more?
Incidentally, if you experience disruptions with your flight, you might be eligible for a compensation. EU regulation states that under certain conditions, each passenger on a flight that was delayed for more than three hours or cancelled, or if they were forced out of the plane due to overbooking, has the right for up to 600 euros in compensation. And Skycop experts are ready to do all the bothersome law stuff – so why not give us a try?
- Do include your family
Now that we got all the cold financial considerations out of the way, we can talk about the mushy stuff that relates to choosing a place to stay. This means that you should consult your family – nay, actually involve them in the process! They might have needs that you could accidentally overlook, whether it’s related to location or the amenities at hand. They could also offer some insights and salient solutions that you may have missed. Lastly, this takes some of the load off your shoulders – and that is not a bad thing. So whatever you do when choosing where you want to stay, consult your family too!