Budget Photo from nytimes.com

Published on June 5th, 2013 | by Lisa

The S… When on holiday…


It’s not what you think!

What is the main difference between the hostel and the hotel besides the obvious “S”?

When it comes to travel there are so many variables. Alone, group, couple – budget or 5 star – beach or city – extended or mini break?

It really depends on your personal taste and your budget. For me, I like to do it all, I’m a real hot foot. I’ll even tag alone for a trip to the grocery just for the outing.

Choosing accommodation can be a real daunting task. I have stayed in both the 5 star hotel and the hostel and everything in between. I really enjoyed both experiences and it all depends what you are looking for on your travels. I stayed in hostels throughout Europe. The price was right and it suited my age group. I also need to stress that there were many people – all ages so do not be deterred by age. Staying at the hostel was fun. I met interesting people from around the world. Young guys on their graduation trips from college, middle aged couples,  and even a woman who was in the Israeli army- each of them had great stories to share. They wanted to know about your life back home, about your travels to this point and what is next on the itinerary.   They shared great tips and must do’s.   It was truly a social and comfortable experience.

The downside is sleeping in a dorm like area which could sometimes be noisy (symphony of snores). The shared bathroom can also be a challenge.  It is critical to ensure your hostel has an acceptable level of cleanliness to meet your standards and sometimes when the price is right you need to close your eyes and go with the flow.

If you plan to spend all day and night exploring your new city then a hostel isn’t a bad option. Why pay for a fancy room you won’t be spending much time in?  Put your stuff in a locker and go go go!

Now let’s remove the S and move over to the hotel.  Room service, maid service, concierge service. The main difference is service and privacy.  A different kind of S! You can still meet interesting people in the hotel bar but generally I find the hotel bar crowd is not as friendly. I do love me a fancy glass of wine and some bar snacks – it is just a different experience and both are equally enjoyable.   It is a nice pampering experience.

I recommend if traveling alone do the hostel as you will meet people.  If you have an inner diva stay away and check in to the closest Hilton.

If traveling with a mate ensure you communicate and you are both onside for what experience you want to create for yourselves on this great adventure.  Ensure you list the pros and cons of each accommodation option and it meets your budget.

What do you fancy the hostel or the hotel?

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About the Author


I don't travel to escape I travel to self discover. To see different parts of the world to build my personal tool kit. I enjoy the path less travelled to truly learn about the traditions and nuances of my fellow citizens of this great world. Born and raised in Toronto of Trinidadian descent I never forget my roots and as much as I love leaving on that jet plane I always find satisfaction in coming home to my great city to share the tales of my great adventures with my friends and family.

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