TRAVELLING the globe is a privilege that's unique to the current twenty-something generation, which I am ever thankful to be apart of. I don’t mean to say that previous generations didn’t travel, but we have so many more options today, mostly because of technology. We have cheaper and faster options that allow us to hop on a plane tomorrow and arrive on the other side of the globe later that day.
Technology has also, in my opinion, provided current travellers with more safety than the travellers that came before us. Perhaps the world is a more dangerous place in general, what with all of the political and religious wars, but it’s also the most connected it’s ever been. And I, as a believer of inane human goodness, think that connectivity is what keeps us safe.
I am lucky enough to have travelled to six continents (just need to go to Antarctica!). I have travelled while studying, working, and just for pleasure. I have also stayed in a large variety of accommodations, and I have put together a comprehensive list of these for you.
This is a list of the top ten current accommodation options for travelling anywhere in the world. It is aimed at budget travellers (of which I include myself) but I’ve included an array of options because, let’s be honest, I don’t know your budget! It’s good to consider all options when making decisions. Travelling to new places is a thrilling experience that builds character, creates a global community, and gives you opportunities you’ve never dreamed of. Take precautions, but live the best life you can!
1. Couch Surfing
www.couchsurfing.com is a relatively new organization, founded in 2004, connecting 10 million people in every country of the world. You simply use their website to either find someone to stay with while travelling, or offer up your home, all for free. The idea is that you are letting someone, from a culture other than your own, sleep on your couch (or vice versa), making the world more culturally aware and more travelled. You are staying with real people, so you have to be careful and thoroughly check out references before you meet a stranger from the internet. Their goal is to “envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect." This type of accommodation is most beneficial for budget travellers and/or those who want to experience something new culturally.
A hostel is a type of budget accommodation that is usually focused on creating a social environment for the guests. These can vary in price and will also vary in style accordingly. They are often (but not always) dorm style rooms with bunkbeds, shared bathroom, shared kitchen, and shared common areas. Hostels also usually provide unique information on the local area and/or tours. Here is a good website to find a hostel www.hostelworld.com. They are most beneficial for budget travellers and/or those who want to experience this type of social environment.
This type of accommodation is most common. You can find a cheap hotel or a very luxurious “5 star” hotel. You rent a room with a bathroom attached, and possibly some kitchen type amenities. Breakfast may be provided. A motel is traditionally a “motor hotel” for those driving through a city who need a bed for the night. An inn is traditionally a restaurant or pub that often offers rooms for rent. However, these three seem to be exchangeable terms today, with exception to luxury accommodation, where you would only use the term hotel. Most beneficial for any traveller wanting to stay for a short time in a clean bed and a lot of comfort.
A guesthouse or B&B (bed and breakfast) is somewhere in between a hostel and a hotel, both in style and price. You usually have your own bedroom and bathroom, but will share a kitchen area and common room with the other guests, so there is the social aspect as well. There will usually be fewer rooms than a hotel, although you can find a range of sizes. These are most beneficial for someone who wants a social accommodation with certain comforts that hostels don’t usually provide.
www.airbnb.com is a company founded in 2008, so also relatively new. On this website you can find or list ANY type of accommodation. You can rent out luxurious castles and houses, small cozy apartments, a bedroom in a house, or a couch! Prices vary wildly and you are renting from regular people, not a company, so you have to be careful and thorough in checking out all of the specifics. Most beneficial for a traveller who wants to live like a local! The type of local is your choice.
6. Work for lodging
Work while you travel, it’s better than free! There are several companies you can go through, but here are a few good ones www.worldpackers.com, www.workaway.info, www.wwoof.net. The type of jobs and accommodation vary, so you just have to do some searching to find the right place and job for you. Most beneficial for someone who wants to travel for free and be immersed in the culture/work environment for a period of time.
7. Sleep while travelling
This can’t exactly be classified as accommodation, but if you’re trying to save money while travelling, you could make adjustments to your plan. Instead of paying for transit AND accommodation, you can sleep a couple hours in an airport terminal (some have beds during the night!), travel overnight in a sleeper train, which has a bed (might not be comfortable), or airplane, bus, you get the idea. Or if you’re taking a road trip, get an RV or a big van you can also sleep in. This is most beneficial for those who are often travelling between cities or countries. It also gives you more time at your destination.
Instead of paying for accommodation, just put up a tent! Make sure you know the laws of the city or country you are in. You may have to go to a campground and pay a small fee or have a permit. This is an honest option that isn’t utilized as much as it should be. It’s cheap or free and you can come and go as you please! Plus you can spend some time in nature. We all need to do that every now and then.
9. Host family
In this category I include studying abroad and student exchange programs, www.studyabroad.com gives some good options. These can be short term or for a year or more. They can be with a school you are already attending or with a company that does student exchanges. There are also opportunities for less formal host family experiences, like programs that churches or other community organizations might put together. In this case, you’ll have to do some research about the place you want to travel to and find the right opportunity for you.
10. Vacation rental
You can rent a house or apartment through a company, usually at a destination sight, like a beach. There are some great websites to help you find one, but it depends where you want to go! You can also get a Timeshare. A Timeshare is a vacation rental that you partially own. Depending on the contract, you agree to pay however much and then are allocated a certain amount of time per year that you get to use the place. These are most beneficial for travellers who want a holiday or vacation with family.
Wherever you go, do your own research. Make the most out of today’s technology and use sites like www.tripadvisor.com to get the best experience possible. The best of luck to you and I wish you safe travels!
Jasmine Lewis is a native of Seattle, Washington, currently studying for a Masters in Forensic Archaeology at Bournemouth University. Her inspiration in life comes from the thrill of travel and learning, and she hopes to always do both.
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