Hotels vs. Hostels vs Private Rental

January 29, 2014

Row of Victorian hotels on the seafront at Llandudno, North Wales, UK.

Privacy, budget, location and facilities all play a huge part in the way we choose our accommodation when we travel. And while each of the different options have their benefits, none of the three are perfect.

A great majority of the time you get what you pay for, but sometimes it just comes down to pure dumb luck or a great referral from other travellers or the multitudes of travel blogs.


Hostels still generally provides reasonably good value for money. Going upscale and have a better value than what is a 2-3 star hotel in the area. You also have the chance to meet a lot of other international travellers and staff are often friendly, looking to share amazing travel stories and experiences with you. Due to Hostels being very social, they can also be very noisy and unless you opt-in for a private room then don’t expect any privacy.

A lot of Hostels will come with some sort of kitchen facilities so that you can cook for yourself, helping you stretch your travel budget even further. So while you may get free breakfast, expect it to consist of processed foods and maybe some fruit.


If you are booking a Hotel room when you’re are travelling, generally you are very particular about your choices. Usually opting for a free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and be centrally located to make them worth the extra cost for privacy, comfort and a larger bed.

Joining reward programs can earn you free or discounted accommodation as well as complimentary services that might normally cost you like parking, Wi-Fi, Breakfast.

Apartments or Private Rentals

Apartment rentals have been more of my normal mode of travel instead of Hostels if staying longer than just a couple of nights. They work like this: someone either has a couple of spare rooms in their own apartment that they rent to you while still there, or they have a whole apartment you can rent out for your stay.

While some of them are wonderful and amazing, some can be very misleading in their descriptions and you soon learn to become savvy in your research. Having your own kitchen facilities allow you to cook with ingredients picked up from local markets and saves on your food budget.

If you are renting out a room in someone’s shared apartment, it can be awkward depending on their private lives. That being said it can provide you a fast cost-efficient option for last minute and is quickly becoming a very practical option with App’s and websites proving ease of booking but you do need to do some research and check online reviews.

Some Guidelines:

  • Don’t Automatically Pick the Accommodations
  • Know What Amenities You Want
  • Know Your Location
  • Visit before You Visit (Google Maps can be your best friend)
  • Use Reviews But Always Look Deeper

I don’t think there’s a “perfect accommodation type”. It really does depend on your individual needs at the time.