Good trips are, well, good. Once you’ve booked your flights the second decision you have to make is accommodation. There are so many options and so many questions. Is it worth it to blow your budget on a fancy hotel? Will I get killed in a hostel? Is Airbnb ethical?
Just a heads up, all the places I mention in this post are places I’ve stayed and recommend. A lot of the links are from trvl.com which is a site that searches lots of different platforms and is somewhere I’ve always found an awesome deal. The links I’ve provided are my agent link, so prices will be the same for you but I’ll get a commission. For more about how and why I use things like commission and affiliate links check out my affiliate link and sponsorship disclaimer.
There’s a reason hotels are the standard. They’re basically big buildings with varying levels of nice rooms. Some of them are destinations themselves. One of my favourites is Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, B.C. The resort that’s just as obsessed with Swarovski crystals as I am. There’s an amazing spa, as well as free pools and little aromatherapy rooms that you can walk through. Another hotel destination category is all-inclusive. These are super common in the Caribbean and parts of Australia and they get a bit of a bad rap among “serious” travellers. If you’re trying to get down and dirty into a city then they probably won’t be the best option for you. But, if you want to lie on a beach and maybe go on a few tours then I really don’t think there’s anything more relaxing than a good, pre-paid vacation.
These are basically hotels where you park outside the room. They’re a road trip and a horror film classic. While some of them give off a hardcore sketch vibe I’ve been surprised by a good few motels in my life. Most recently the Sun Plaza Motel in Mackay, QLD where our small room (that the owner apologized for the size of multiple times) was roughly the same size as our apartment in Dublin. It also led us to the South Mackay Bowls Club where I promised a very entertaining old man that I’d let the world know it’s the cheapest drinks in town. I’ve even been surprised by well maintained private beaches and pools that are almost never crowded.
I’m a big fan of hostels. While the reputation for being cheap, rowdy, and the connection with a very unflattering movie- which trust me, you DO NOT want to watch in a dark room in Český Krumlov where it was filmed- I’ve only been in one that worked to that description. Most are pretty bare bones like St. Christopher’s in Bruges which has bunks, bathrooms, a fantastic bar and a common room though some are fancy and amazing like Gogol’Ostello in Milan which deserves a post to itself because wow. I’ve seen amazing rooftop pools, swings, a koala reserve, restaurant-style kitchens, and drink specials like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes. like a hotel, a hostel is a destination in itself. I used to do yearly trips to the HI-Shuswap where you can semi-camp in an old caboose and eat the best pancakes in the world.
I think Airbnb can be great for country houses like Leap Farm Lodge, aka the most relaxing place on the planet. At its core the idea of Airbnb isn’t bad- you have a spare room that you let out, or you’re on vacation and want to make a bit of cash. The problem comes with city apartments being dedicated full-time to Airbnb. For unique experiences in places that there’s no housing crisis it’s a great thing… but in a city, I like to vacation guilt free in a hostel or hotel.
When it comes to planning a trip, accommodation is a big deal. It’s probably the second biggest part of your budget and is worth a tonne of consideration. Personally, when I travelled solo I would book dorms in hostels with a hotel room every two-ish weeks. When I travel with Adam we veer towards private rooms in hostels, though we opt for shared bathrooms as it’s cheaper and it means we can get ready at the same time and hit the ground running faster.