A huge part of travelling is doing research and looking for the best price in everything you do. There are days where you spend hours searching out hostels, airbnb’s, hotels, couch surfing, housesitting, anything to save a bit of extra money for your next destination. It has been about 5-6 years since I’ve done a long haul trip like this and all the memories of last time have come rushing back and I feel like I’ve fallen right back into it as I never left. Although on my last big trip I was living in Australia and I was more inclined to stay places for months at a time, especially when I found a great place to live! Jumping around as much as we are, we spend half our time discussing where we will stay, how we will get there and what’s the cheapest route. But there are a few things you need to factor in when making these decisions. For example: You may save money if you pick a cheaper place to stay that is located outside the city center (if that is your preferred destination) BUT how much is the cost of transportation going to be? That’s an added expense. It is an easy route from where you are to where you’re going or are you going to be traveling for over an hour to get there and back? What time does the transit system stop running? Are you going to miss out on the night life because of that or suck up the extra cost and pay for an Uber, which we have found out, is not that cheap out here so far. You’re so out of the way, you cant just head home for a couple hours to relax, you’re almost forced to spend more money to hang out at a bar or a café even though you have everything you need at home. If the difference of a better location VS further away is fairly low or off by a few dollars or euros (and it fits into your budget) just pay the extra. You will have more time to explore and spend less time worrying and traveling long distances, plus a bit of extra cash saved. Do the research is what I’m saying! This place costs this much….it is this far and this many buses/trains from where we want to be….the cost per ticket for transportation is this much, the pricier place closer is going to look better and better.
All of my trips that I have done in the past I have always leaned towards hostels. I vaguely remember the Airbnb discussion coming up on my last trip to Asia. Someone who was on a tour with us in Vietnam had mentioned it and I dont think I fully understood what it was or how to use it. Well that was only a couple years ago and here I find myself searching hostels and because Mark and I are a couple, using money from the same funds, they are way out of a our budget. On average for two people to stay at an Airbnb we are paying anywhere from 25-35$CAD a night, which is a great price! We always choose a place we can use the kitchen and usually around main transportation areas. More often than not you get a private room also which costs almost as much as a hotel in a hostel. When searching for hostels you’re looking at that same price per night but per bed as well. So all of a sudden our costs double because we need two beds. Its a bit frustrating cause I have always loved hostels. They are the best place to be social, meet new people and hear tips from other travelers about where to go and what to see. Some of my favourite places I’ve been to weren’t from a google search or a blog, but just hearing it from a fellow traveler. So ya, I miss the hostel atmosphere, I miss the common rooms, the community kitchen and sitting on a beanbag chair watching old movies with a bunch of strangers from all over the world. I dont miss waiting to use the bathroom, waiting to take a shower, having food stolen from my crate in the fridge, listening to strangers snore or make weird clicking noises in their sleep (although I might be used to that now that I’ve slept next to mark for 3 years). But the activity and excitement of a hostel is one of the most rewarding and eye opening experiences I’ve had. I have some wonderful friends from all over the world that I met in hostels and still keep in touch with and some I have had the pleasure of staying with in their home town when traveling to their country.
That all said — it brings me to weighing out my options again. Hostels are far more central and sometimes breakfast is included. So there you are, saving costs on transportation and a meal already. A lot of them offer free tours and suggestions on cheap things to do and places to experience. Right there you’re saving time, which is your most valuable tool when traveling. I have stayed in hostels where they have a free Sunday pancake breakfast or every Friday night they offer a free BBQ of hotdogs and hamburgers. You just never know and sometimes its hard to make the right decision. In the end we will decide based on several factors, what our budget entails, which place we are visiting and what kind of experience we want to have. Make sure when you’re planning your next trip to take all of these suggestions and really do your research and base your final decision on not only PRICE but experience, location and atmosphere.