During our travels so far we have opted for a mix of hostels and air bnb accomodation…we’ve found there are benefits of each option for budget travellers and feel it depends on the situation at hand as to deciding which is the best option!
To summarise our findings, here goes:
- Obviously hostels provide a place to make friends with other travellers and spend time with!
- If you are travelling solo, this is often the cheaper option, especially if you choose the bigger dorm rooms. In Mexico we have been paying about £7 each a night for a dorm bed and it always comes with a really nice breakfast cooked by cute Mexican old ladies!
- You can steal towels far more easily #chaveller
- Many hostels have been around for years so they tend to be efficient and work to time schedules, e.g. If they say breakfast is ready at 8 it will be (well by 8.30 if you’re relying on Latin American time schedules!)
- You can nearly always find hostels which are located centrally.
- Hostels give you good tips on places to go and may offer tours. Normally they don’t exaggerate too much on how good these are as they know it will bite them in the bum when you get back and say it was a waste of time!
- Picking up hotties, plus the walk of shame is never going to be too long…
- Rating & review systems such as Trip Advisor and Hostel World make it easy to make an informed decision when choosing which hostel to stay in!
Pro Air BnB…
- Sometimes you will find an extraordinary bargain, e.g. this place we stayed in for £12 each in Pensacola had an amazing swimming pool and the owners were out pretty much the whole time. I asked them why they didn’t raise the prices but they said they liked the type of people their cheap accommodation. attracts!
- In pretty much every house we stayed in the host offered us use of their washing machine and tumble dryer. At a place in Houston, our lovely mid 70 year old hosts washed, dried and iron our clothes for us.
- You tend to meet a greater variety of people, not solely the traveller types you find in hostels….some are definitely wierd though, including our first host in Austin who drink nearly the whole box of wine I bought (classy I know) sat on his own at his computer on a weekday night!
- The app is really efficient: I managed to search for accommodation and book it within 10 mins for most cases.
- If you are travelling with someone you don’t mind sharing a bed with then it is often dirt cheap! Our average night stay was £13 each in the US including all fees and we stayed in nice places.
- Hosts are rated on their communication with guests prior to arrival so they try hard at this; making it to facilitate arrival etc.
- The rating system means quality is high. Guests and hosts are both asked to rate each other and give a bit of blurb after each visit, meaning everyone tries hard to make it work!
- Map feature shows location and accessibility
- The app is still relatively new so we found people never tried to over inflate their prices, people still seem grateful for the new way to earn money from their spare room…
- Hosts may invite you out with them. In San antonio, we went out with our host Bryden and his friend to a local district we never would have found on our own! They also gave us a ride home in the back of a trailer.
Overall I’d say, when travelling in ‘traveller areas’ where you’ll meet lots of like minded people, hostels are the way to go and far more fun but when in smaller towns with low tourism, air bnb provides a great opportunity to meet locals and open your mind up to new and quite possible crazy people!