Part Ill Around the World in 68 Days – Lodging
Finding the right place to lodge for the right price while traveling doesn’t have to be difficult.
By Hannah Heine, University of Dayton
So here is how a sophomore in college (yours truly) was able to budget and plan an entire trip around the world without help from mom and dad…
After airfare lodging is one of the biggest expenses when traveling. Sorry, but it’s not something that can be limited to a once-a-week expense like your gelato fix or your German beer binge. You have to rest your head somewhere every night. So here are some options:
Hostels are really up-ing their game. If you put the smallest amount of energy into researching before you book, you will be satisfied. Also you get to meet people from all over the world! **The Europe’s Famous Hostels Network has an incredible spread of hostels that are all held to a high standard giving you a wonderful overall experience. We used both HostelWorld as well as HostelBookers to find the hostels we stayed at.
When investigating hostels we made a point to see if they were part of Europe’s Famous Hostels Network. It is at these distinguished hostels that there is free Wifi and either includes breakfast or for a small fee of around 3 euros you can have access to a breakfast buffet that also has a bunch of lunch-fixings to take for later. The hostels we stayed at from this network are: Balmer’s Herberge in Interlaken, Euro Youth Hostel in Munich, The Chillout Hostel in Zagreb, and the YoHo Hostel in Salzburg. All of these hostels had extremely clean bathrooms, services, and yummy breakfasts. **Also- we made a point of staying at Balmer’s as it’s one of the oldest hostels in Europe and many people recommend it. We just showed up and booked in person, but I know you can book online.
Another note on hostels…In my experience, if you are not traveling at peak season, then you can easily travel to the country (especially in Europe if you are traveling by train between cities/countries) with a list of hostels you are interested in and “hostel shop,” as my travel partners and I like to say. There is just something about visiting the hostel, seeing the facilities, getting acquainted with the atmosphere, and talking to people face to face. I can honestly say that I didn’t have a single bad experience with hostels EXCEPT for the bunkmate of ours in Dublin who swiped my friend’s iPhone. [Do not leave your smartphone on the windowsill charging at night for a sneaky bunkmate to steal!]
Other Accommodation Options:
AirBnB: This option offers the opportunity to meet locals as well and is very similar to that of couchsurfing. However on this site you can rent an entire apartment, condo, or house if you wish.**Personally I have only had GREAT experiences with AirBnB.We used AirBnB in London, Amsterdam, and Dubai.
The flat we stayed at in London is pictured below with a full kitchen, bathroom and 1 bedroom. This was our biggest splurge for lodging throughout the trip as we were set on starting the trip off on the right foot by staying in the center of London in Piccadilly Circus. The owner of the flat we rented lives in a flat in the same building and had us over for dinner one evening. HOW COOL? We had great food, great company, and great conversation.
In Amsterdam we rented one bedroom in a three bedroom apartment. This served the purpose for us and was just one ferry ride from the center of Amsterdam. It was also extremely inexpensive and again we were able to meet locals and borrow their bicycles and kitchen if we wanted!
In Dubai we REALLY lucked out. There was a hotel room listed on the site from a family’s hotel business that was not necessarily up to par for the hotel’s standards and people paying top dollar. We booked the room that actually turned out to be a suite with 2 bathrooms, a master bedroom, full kitchen, and TV area for $50 a night total (for the both of us) which also included wifi and a breakfast buffet for each of us. [The buffet we later found out was priced at $15 per person per day and we stayed for 5 days!] It was a seriously sweet deal. You need to do your research on AirBnB because there are definitely people looking for good reviews when they first join the network. Clearly, this man in Dubai was looking for a great review by making an incredible package that we took advantage of, and boy did we give him a great review!
WWOOF: In exchange for your work on an organic farm or small family business, you can receive food and lodging in your city of choice. [This is more for people who will have a home base in one city for an extended period of time, but a definite option to consider if you are just starting your plans.] I personally have never WWOOF-ed, but am very interested in exploring its possibilities.
Couchsurfing: People in the couchsurfing network list a bedroom, couch or even a blow up mattress they can offer you usually free of charge. Great way to meet locals and explore the city. I personally have not used this resource yet, but have heard great reviews from friends.
Along with these resources it is important to keep in mind, “What are your priorities?” If your main goal (or B-HAG.. Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) is to hit up as many countries as humanly possible, then going out to the clubs is something you can’t do every night. Bar tabs and covers will add up to cost as much as multiple days of scheduled funds. However, if your goal is to have as much fun as possible including copious nights of drunken debauchery, then by all means- live your dream!
At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with your lodging arrangements. If sharing a room with 15 others is only going to stress you out, then get a private room or opt for a dorm style hostel room that only has three other bunk mates. You have to balance stepping outside of your comfort zone with the ability to sleep at night from your decision.