Every traveler needs a place to rest their head at night. And in this day and age, we’re luckily inundated with numerous options. When we need budget-friendly accommodations during our travel, hostels and Airbnb are the top two contenders. But how do we choose between these two? Especially for first-timers, picking the right option can be difficult. So, let’s look at the different aspects that a desirable accommodation would offer and break it down for both a hostel and an Airbnb.
For the uninitiated, a hostel is a place where you can rent a bed or a private dorm. Hostels are the most popular choice for backpackers and budget-conscious travelers who don’t spend too much time in their room. However, if you choose to stay in a hostel, you will often have to share your dorm and facilities with other travelers. On the other hand, an Airbnb is an apartment or house that has been listed on the Airbnb site by the owner. If you choose an Airbnb, you can either opt for a part of a house or the whole house. You can also discuss and negotiate the terms with the owner before making a reservation and a payment through the website.
Aspect #1: Comfortability
Well, there’s no simple answer here. Whether it’s for a hostel or an Airbnb, your space is only going to be as comfortable as you choose. Basically, if you choose a shady hostel or Airbnb apartment at a shady part of town, you can’t really expect too much from it. However, there are many hostels that offer personal lockers, a common area to meet other people, free Wi-Fi, and friendly staff who’ll be willing to help you out. Although, the amenities provided differ from one hostel to another so it depends on the hostel you choose.
The same goes with an Airbnb – if you choose very cheap options, you’re not going to get much comfort. However, since you’ll be staying in someone else’s home, you’ll get a genuine experience of living in that particular place. After all, that’s what travel is about, isn’t it?
Aspect #2: Flexibility
Most hostels would probably have a check-in counter that would be open 24/7. Or, they’d have in-house staff to manage the dorms. So, you can reach a hostel and check-in to your dorm at any time. Whether you arrive early in the morning or late in the night, you wouldn’t need to worry about missing your reservation time.
If you choose Airbnb, you need to reach the location at the specific time you had previously agreed with the owner. So, if there’s a delay in public transport or if your flight has got delayed, you’d need to inform the owner as soon as possible. Alternatively, if you reach the location early, you’ll need to wait until the owner arrives.
Aspect #3: Authenticity
Hostels are usually situated near tourist spots and are mostly communal as you might have people moving about your room. This offers a great platform to socialize and cultivate friendships with other travelers. However, most hostels have an age limit so if you plan to travel with kids, hostels may not be your best bet.
Like it was mentioned above, local authentic experiences enhance your vacation. And Airbnb enhances your chance of living life like a local. So, if you want to socialize with fellow travelers, choose a hostel. But if you want to experience living in a house at your destination, go for an Airbnb.
Aspect #4: Affordability
The cost of either a hostel or an Airbnb depends on the kind of place you choose. Most of the time, both kinds of accommodations have similar costs. If you’re completely new to a place, an Airbnb would offer more safety and privacy than a hostel. However, if you know your way around or are a seasoned traveler, hostels might be a better choice for you. If you wish to explore a new city on a budget, contact a well-established travel agency for tailored and affordable tours. It all depends on your preference.
Aspect #5: Privacy
Anyone who has previously stayed in a hostel before would know that hostels and privacy don’t go hand in hand. You would be sharing a dorm with many people and might come across awkward or unpleasant situations. While some hostels offer a privacy curtain, you’d be hard pressed to find privacy in most dorms.
Airbnb is the right choice if you value your privacy at reasonable prices. While you can choose to rent a part of a home, you can also book the entire house. During your stay there, the owner will stay elsewhere.
Aspect #6: Safety
While there have been a few horror stories regarding guests having a bad experience at hostels, hostels are usually quite safe to stay in. You just need to look after your belongings and be aware of your environment. Since many people will be present, you need to lock your stuff and be alert to your surroundings. Once you have a list of some hostels you’d like to stay in, check the reviews of previous guests online. If they’re on social media, see if there have been any public complaints.
The same applies to Airbnb as well – it’ll generally be safe but you need to be careful with your stuff. Although, remember that the owner will have another set of keys to the house. So, check the reviews of the host along with the images of the properties and decide wisely. As there are people who populate the Airbnb website with fake reviews, assess the veracity of the reviewers. Check the number of reviews they’ve left and the truthfulness of their profile details.
Both hostels and Airbnb offer amazing accommodations at affordable rates. Both options are very popular among solo travelers and backpackers with good reason; both have their fair share of pros and cons. It all comes down to you – the kind of lifestyle you prefer should dictate your choice.