Those primarily concerned by convenience usually prefer hotels, but the cost of booking one is higher than the other alternatives. Good deals are possible though when traveling in groups. There are various hotels ranging from the budget to the luxury hotels.
Reservations can be made online, but be sure to compare rates before deciding as different rates for the same room are common on the internet. Independent reviews by fellow travelers can provide first hand information to help you in choosing the most suitable hotel. As hotels are quite costly, staying in one may be given as a treat to yourself towards the end of the trip. By this time, you will know whether you still have enough funds to indulge yourself.
Bed and Breakfasts
In terms of costs, Bed and Breakfasts (B & B) are in the middle of hotels and hostels. These are usually rooms in private houses made available for travelers. It is a good option for families or couples that require privacy but cannot afford hotels.
Hostels are accommodations at the lower-cost bracket, which basically provides a bed, pillow, blanket and bathing facilities. These are usually in dormitory style, offering rooms good for one, two, four or six persons. The cheapest hostels can accommodate anywhere from ten to twenty people in one room. Sometimes it is advisable to bring your own sheets and towels, as these items are usually not usually provided by most hostels.
All kinds of travelers can stay at hostels whether they are families, couples, students or senior citizens. The minimum age restriction is 18 years of age, except those accompanied by a responsible adult, while there is no maximum age restrictions except probably for those located in the Bavarian region of Germany which usually sets the upper age limit at 26 years old. Generally, everyone is welcome at a backpacker hostel.
Hosteling International (HI) of the International Youth Hostel Federation runs about 5,000 hostels in more than 70 countries. They are generally clean but have restrictive curfews. Independent hostels are those that are not owned and operated by any worldwide hostel groups such as HI. They usually do not have any curfews but its state of cleanliness cannot be assured.
Hostels are the usual choice of accommodation of backpackers as these establishments are intended for travelers who are not expected to stay more than two or three nights. Some provide lockers or luggage rooms for storing backpacks if there is any need to go out during the day, but it is much safer to keep essentials like passports and money in a day pack which should be with the traveler at all times.
One downside of hostels is the lack of privacy. There is a big chance of not having a good night’s sleep due to the constant incoming and outgoing of room companions. It is also possible that it may not be the best place for children due to the wide range of independent travelers it caters to. The spirit of hosteling is based on getting out and exploring one’s surrounding which would probably explain the reasons for lockouts and check-in times being as they are.
Other possible options for accommodation are apartments, pension houses, camping grounds, university dorms, vacation property exchanges and online communities and organisations offering free accommodations all over the world. You can also choose to stay with friends and family for possible free lodging at least for a night. An extreme option would be to stay in airports, train stations, bus stations, parks and beaches. This is not advisable though primarily due to safety reasons.