Over the last few years of travelling, I have been fortunate enough to have tried out a wide range of accommodation options, across my various stays at home and abroad. To help you decide what might best suit your idea of an ideal getaway, I have compiled a rough overview of the pros and cons from my experience, in no particular order.
My first experience of an AirBNB property was admittedly not booked by myself and came in the shape of a small rural stable conversion for a friend’s birthday in the Wye Valley. We shared two rooms between four of us and was immaculately kept with all the necessary furnishing and utensils required for a self-catering weekend break. It sounded rather straight forward in terms of booking and acquiring keys, with no hidden charges and although sceptical, I am keen to trial the experience again. Sure you have to sort food out for yourself, but it also allows for privacy within homely surroundings.
I have tried a couple of holiday package deals that came in at different star ratings and I must say it wasn’t as bad as I feared it might be. The variety of bed and board options could prove a little overwhelming for some, but ultimately offers a fair range of price options to suit any traveller. It is worth doing your research across different providers to ensure you get the best deal and don’t forget to read the small print, as there can be additional fees for some amenities with through the hotel or airline. Remember, just because you have everything from the pool bar to entertainment included on-site, you still have the option to venture further if you wish.
It can be a bit like marmite, but as a well-versed camper I thoroughly recommend that you undertake the experience at least once. Sure it means you have to bring your own gear and potentially struggle with those pesky tent pegs, but it can be a rewarding experience to provide for yourself and others, besides, why wouldn’t you want to wake up to nature’s striking views? You could go all out and cook by gas on the stove, but depending on your location, you could always pop-by the local café for a full-English if you prefer. Do remember to bring sensible and spare clothes in preparation for different weather and off-road terrain.
Not always an affordable option, but last year I did manage to treat myself to a little luxury, upgrading to a central hotel with spa facilities on a birthday trip to Belgium. If you’re planning to go away for a special occasion, it may be worth scouting out the options available, but make sure not to blow all you pennies on accommodation alone, you still want to be able to enjoy your holiday. Truthfully, it was nice to have that option, but I have found it much more interesting to try out different types of stay on my various adventures and you are less likely to meet new people.
I have experienced two different types of homestay, one was more intimate on an educational excursion to Spain, the other an immersive international exchange on voluntary work in Indonesia. The first was a quiet residential stay in a rural village and meant I had peace to lock myself away and write without disturbance, making myself at home as I embraced the foreign culture. The latter involved bamboo bunks with a group of global citizens in a basic but functional chalet. Each was reasonably priced for the value of the experience had and allowed me to familiarise myself with ease to the local customs, people and food, providing a friendly, but in some ways more intense stay.
As a student it was by far the easier and cheapest option when I wanted to escape my studies and explore some place new. They often offer breakfast or dinner options at an additional but reasonable price, but I often chose to delve into the town or city and spending a little extra for that additional air. I have stayed with friends and strangers, which can prove a little daunting, but in the end usually allows for an interesting experience, from which you may even make new friends. Price clearly conquers comfort with this option, but pushing your pounds further provides more travel.