Travel not to escape life but for life not to escape you, a popular quote. Nowadays, traveling has become more accessible and possible, allowing more people to explore worlds and cities thousands of miles away. As one walks through foreign streets and enjoys a culture different from theirs, another essential aspect is finding that perfect travel accommodation that fully matches your style, goals, and budget.

There are many things to consider in finding the ultimate accommodation for your trip, below is an extensive guide on everything you need to know about travel accommodation as well as some tips and tricks to get the best deals.

What are the types of travel accommodations?

There are several types of travel accommodations and the options, size, and rate varies depending on the season, location, number of guests, and property amenities to name a few. Discover below the most common travel accommodation and lodging types!

Hotels and Resorts

The most popular type of travel accommodation is hotels. They are comfortable, convenient, and highly flexible depending on your preferences. There are hotels from all ranges of the budget, from low-cost ones to high-end luxurious suites and penthouses. A hotel is also a popular choice among families and people on business trips. Hotels also offer the best form of convenience, comfort, and security among all the other types of accommodation. Some hotels can accommodate one to two guests, there are family suites and multiple bedroom units for big groups. Typical inclusions in a hotel stay also include a private bathroom and toilet, a small closet, a small fridge, sometimes a mini kitchen, and a breakfast buffet. Linens, towels, and toiletries are also provided for each of the guests.

  • Great for: First-time travelers, family with children, a group of friends, couples, solo traveler, business trips
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, digital and print advertisements, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: booking.com, agoda.com, kayak.com, airbnb.com

Hostel

What makes hostel different from hotels? Well, quite a lot of things. First, hostels don’t have the same level of exclusivity and security. Hostels are for those who either want to cut down some expenses on accommodation as well as experience a more social environment. Hostels also offer everything from private rooms to shared rooms that vary from 3, 4, 6, 8, sometimes even up to 20 people on dorm-type rooms. Some hostels also double as an attraction by itself, with unique features and interiors. These boutique hostels are uniquely designed with detailed interiors and furniture, at times with pockets of garden as well. There are also hostels popular for being “party hostels” with facilities that include an in-house pub or rooftop bar, pools, and beer pong, and billiards tables. In terms of room inclusions, some hostels provide free breakfast, towels, and toiletries, while others don’t. Hostels are especially popular among backpackers due to its cheap fee and its general laidback feel.

  • Great for: sociable solo travelers, backpackers, a group of friends
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, travel groups online, digital advertisements, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: booing.com, agoda.com, kayak.com, airbnb.com, hostelworld.com

Airbnb

Somehow a mix between comfort, convenience, and budget, Airbnb accommodations have recently been popular among travelers. Options in Airbnb vary as well from single rooms to shared rooms, and sometimes the entire property. Another great thing about Airbnb is flexibility. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, traveling with kids, or with friends – from 1 guest to 30+, Airbnb has properties to accommodate you. In terms of interiors, some Airbnbs are designed as well to have that unique flair. Some rooms or properties are beach-inspired, while others have that Scandinavian touch, to name a few. Properties in Airbnb also allow guests to utilize the facilities within the rental – such as the kitchen, pool, gym, etc. There are Airbnb properties as well that allow pets and there are some rentals wherein the host or property owner is also staying within the place – for example, a three-bedroom house or condominium, with two bedrooms available for guests, while the main bedroom is reserved for the host. With the many options in Airbnb, it is important to always check the fine print. Airbnb also has added charges such as website service fee and at times cleaning fee, depending on the host.

  • Great for: a group of friends, couples, solo traveler
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, digital and print advertisements, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: airbnb.com

Villas

A property commonly found out of town or near beaches, villas allow guest to rent the entire property. This is especially great for families and a large group of friends. When renting villas, the use of the facilities such as kitchen, outdoor BBQ, and swimming pool is often allowed as well. Staying in a private villa during the holiday is one of a kind experience, both for adults and kids.

  • Great for: First-time travelers, family with children, a group of friends, couples
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, digital and print advertisements, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: booking.com, agoda.com, kayak.com, airbnb.com

Beach Houses

A private rental similar to villas, but smaller in a way, beach houses are the ultimate accommodation for beach lovers, These are fully equipped properties situated in the coastal area, allowing guests to enjoy ocean views and the sea breeze any time of the day. Beach houses are also fully equipped with everything that the guests may need, from a fully-equipped kitchen to fishing rods, and sometimes even kayaks and life jackets.

  • Great for: Family with children, a group of friends, couples, solo traveler
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, digital and print advertisements, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: booking.com, agoda.com, kayak.com, airbnb.com

Glamping

A new form of accommodation when traveling, glamping is a combination of glam and camping. The concept is being outdoors but a the same time, retaining that glam, comfort, and style complete with a luxurious interior. There are many ways to do glamping, from tents to treehouses, RVs, cabins, caravans, pods, huts, and A-frame cabins. Glamping accommodations offer five-star amenities at par with hotels and resorts, but at the same time retains that genuine feeling of being one with nature. Depending on the glamping accommodation type, bathrooms and toilets can either be exclusive or shared.

  • Great for: First-time travelers, family with children, a group of friends, couples, solo traveler
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, digital and print advertisements, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: glampinghub.com, booking.com, agoda.com, kayak.com, airbnb.com

Homestays

Popular in the urban or more isolated areas such as mountains or farms, homestays are accommodations, often rooms or space rented out by locals to guests visiting their area. Homestays are great for experiencing the local culture and getting a real feel of being in your destination, often without costing an arm and a leg. Some homestays allow free accommodation in return paying by providing services to the property. Included in these services are helping tend to the farm and the animals, providing carpentry assistance, or lately, even assisting a business in their digital, marketing, and IT needs, enable one to stay in homestays.

  • Great for: A group of friends, couples, solo traveler
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, recommendations from locals, local tourism board, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: limited listings at booking.com, agoda.com, kayak.com, airbnb.com

Sleeping pods, hotel capsules

For travelers who simply want a place to rest for the night and store their valuables, sleeping pods or hotel capsules are recommended. These are also ideal for those with long layovers who want to skip booking a hotel room. Sleeping pods/hotel capsules first became popular in Japan, especially with businessmen frequently flying in and out. The pods just allow space to stretch and sleep comfortably, with its own small lamp, and maybe a small pull-out desk or drawer for storage. Luggage is kept on a separate place within the area and there are shared bathrooms and toilets for the guests.

  • Great for: solo travelers, business trips, frequent flyers
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, digital and print advertisements, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: booking.com, agoda.com, kayak.com, airbnb.com

Couch surfing

Accessible via an app or its website, CouchSurfing is – as the name suggests – is surfing through couches (but can also be beds). It follows the principle of being in a new town and calling up a friend and wondering if you can stay for the duration of your trip, whether it is in a couch in their living room or a spare bedroom in their place. The hosts and couch surfers interact via a website, wherein both create accounts and submit necessary verification documents for security. The core of CouchSurfing is trust and respect both between the guests and hosts – there are good and bad stories. The views and experiences regarding Couchsurfing vary.

  • Great for: solo travelers, business trips, frequent flyers
  • How to find the best hostels: Internet, social media, word of mouth
  • Website and Apps: booking.com, agoda.com, airbnb.com

What are the best types of accommodation?

Choosing the best accommodation for your travel is dependent on your travel style, goals, budget, and location. As long as these align, any travel accommodation would be a good fit. There are also instances though that one aspect may need to be adjusted, in favor of the other factors. An example would be going for a higher priced travel accommodation in a more accessible and safer location, compared to a cheaper one but doesn’t generally feel safe. There can also be compromises in terms of room facilities, such as choosing between an air-conditioned room or a fan room, going for solo room or shared, and so on.

Accommodation types depending on experience

  • Hotels: For comfort, convenience, and peace of mind
  • Hostels: For socialization, a different experience when traveling, and for lower costs
  • Airbnb: For comfort and convenience similar to a hotel, but at a lower cost, also ideal for travelers looking to rent entire properties
  • Glamping: For travelers who want to explore and stay in the great outdoors without sacrificing comfort and style
  • Couchsurfing: For adventurous travelers looking for free accommodation

Accommodation types depending on budget

  • Low budget: Dorm-type Hostels, AirBnbs, Budget Hotels, Couchsurfing, Homestays
  • Middle budget: Budget Hotels, Shared Room in Hostels, Airbnb Properties
  • High budget: Luxury hotels, AirBnbs, Private Room in Boutique Hostels, Airbnb Properties

Accommodation types unique to destinations

  • City: Hotels, Hostels, Airbnbs
  • Beach/Coastal: Beach houses, hotels, resorts, hostels, Airbnb, Glamping
  • Nature/Outdoors: Hotels, hostels, Airbnb, glamping, cabins, tents, huts, homestays
  • Mountains: Hotels, Airbnb, glamping. cabins, tents, huts, homestays
  • Desert: Hotels, Airbnb, glamping
  • Snow: Hotels, Airbnb

With destinations, in addition to the accommodation types, the actual place also often determine the price and the experience of the place. Accommodations near Disneyland will surely be different in comparison to a rental property in the countryside of France, the capital of Mexico, along the coastline of Australia, and the heart of Bangkok. Accommodations in the city, especially near airports tend to be more expensive as well.

Furthermore, the cost of living in a destination is also an important thing to consider. Generally, accommodations in Europe in comparison to Southeast Asia will vary greatly – both in cost and experience.

The Major Differences Between Hotel, Hostels, and Airbnb

As Airbnb rises to popularity, more and more people are becoming curious about how it’s different from hotels, as well as the difference between hostels and hotels.

Management

Hotels are operated by actual companies and corporations, often with branches locally and globally. Hostels are operated by companies as well, however on a much smaller scale compared to hotels. They also offer private rooms, as well as shared rooms, and dorm-type rooms. Recently, pods and loft-type shared rooms have also been popular among hostels. Airbnbs are operated by individual property owners or hosts, Airbnb itself is just a website where people can register their properties and lease it for guests/travelers.

Security

In terms of security, guests can get more peace of mind in hotels, in comparison with Airbnb properties with the entire place being managed by a private individual. The shared space on hostels also makes it less secured compared to private rooms.

Comfort and Convenience

Regarding comfort and convenience, there is a possibility of a draw. Most Airbnb properties are designed to be less expensive than hotels but at the same time, retain its feel and style. Hostels, on the other hand, depend on the type of hostel you are looking at. Same with hotels, these properties range from budget to luxury.

Location

Hotels and Airbnb are both strategically located near popular local attractions, on business districts, and airports. However, Airbnb properties are not just limited to these. There are properties even on less touristy areas, perfect for travelers who prefer the off-beaten path.

Facilities and Amenities

Hotels are fully-equipped with everything a guest might need – from the facilities within the room, as well as the building amenities that include swimming pools, gym, playground, parking, game room, and a commercial area of restaurants, bars, convenience stores, banks, and laundry at the lower floor of the building. For Airbnb, since some properties are located within residential buildings/highrises, they also offer the same amenities. Hostels on the other hand vary, but some also allow the use of shared kitchens, a common area for all, and pools. Other features that guests look out for are Wi-Fi connectivity, access to Netflix (for some), bidet, hot shower, air-condition, and heater among others.

Experiences

Catering to the needs of their guests; hotels, hostels, and Airbnb often offer the similar experiences of airport transfers, discounted tickets, rooftop bars, and access to tours offered by their partner companies. One unique thing about hostels is that some offer pub-crawls for guests who want to explore the local nightlife. For Airbnb, some hosts also double as tour guides, sometimes providing tips about the locality or even as far as taking their guests around the place.

  1. Advantages of Hotels: Comfort, Convenience, Security, Peace of Mind, Hotel Amenities, Good for first-time travelers, guests with children
  2. Advantages of Airbnb: Comfort, Convenience, Unique and Local Experiences, Flexibility on cost and payment method, Good for solo travelers or groups, some properties are pet-friendly
  3. Advantages of Hostels: Comfort, Convenience, Socialization, Meet and Make New Friends, Flexibility on cost and payment method, Popular among backpackers, Available in private rooms, shared rooms, or dorm-type rooms
  4. The Disadvantages of Hotels: Usually the same experience and look/interior every time
  5. The Disadvantages of Airbnbs: Less secure, managed by individuals, doesn’t always have housekeeping
  6. The Disadvantages of Hostels: Less secure, not recommended for introverts and those who are not comfortable sharing rooms, even with private rooms, some might feel that the place is crowded

Safety Tips when Choosing Travel accommodation

Research, research, research

  • One of the most important parts of traveling is researching and this applies to travel accommodations as well.
  • Search the internet for the best travel accommodation deals
  • check for customer reviews (xxx and xx are good sites for these), about the room/property, service, staff, vicinity, environment, accessibility from the airport, access to public transportation, building/property facilities such as kitchen or parking
  • check their social media accounts and page reviews, verified accounts are better
  • Ask for recommendations from family and friends

Read the fine print before the final booking, some rentals have additional charges that often come as a surprise for guests.

  • Services such as airport transfer and massage will have additional fees.
  • Consumed food and beverages inside the fridge of hotels will be charged upon checkout.
  • Airbnb, for example, has a cleaning fee and a service fee from the website.
  • Other usual charges include early check-in or late checkout and requested meals, to name a few.
  • There are also non-refundable deposits on some rentals.

Have copies of all your booking reservations, both digital copy (saved in your phone and online) and hardcopy, printed out for added security.

  • When traveling to a non-English speaking country, it is also best to have the name and address of your accommodation in the local language. This is especially helpful when trying to communicate with taxi drivers or asking the way back to your place after exploring.

Inspect the property upon arrival.

  • Although often, hotel staff and hosts will ensure that the place is in the best condition, it won’t hurt to double-check. Inspect the place, the drawers, linens, pillows, even the bathroom if there are items that should be there but aren’t (or vice versa). When staying in hostels, be wary of bedbugs on shared rooms, especially on dorm-type ones. Check the pillows, lift the mattress. In any type of accommodation, insects and bugs are a no-no. If you find some, immediately call the receptionist and you can either ask for a change of rooms or if possible, get your money back and move to a new place.

Top Recommendations

Traveler Type

Travel Accommodation

For the low budget traveler

Budget hotels, hostels, Airbnb

For the mid-budget traveler

Budget hotels, hostels, Airbnb, glamping

For the luxury traveler

Luxury hotels, fancy hostels, prime Airbnb, glamping

For the solo traveler

Hotels, hostels, Airbnb

For first time traveler

Hotels, hostels, Airbnb

For families

Hotels, Airbnb

For groups of friends

Hotels, Airbnb

For travelers with pets

Airbnb, rentals, pet-friendly hotels

Top Q&As

How to Organize Travel and Accommodation Arrangements

One of the daunting tasks of organizing a trip is arranging the accommodations, especially for large groups. Below is a quick guide on how to organize travel arrangements, whether it’s for a solo trip, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation

  1. Note your accommodation requirements
  2. Research the best places that meet your requirements
  3. Check the availability of the property
  4. Note the details of your booked accommodation

How to Find the Best Travel Accommodation Deals

  1. Use travel accommodation websites such as booking.com, agoda.com, and airbnb.com
  2. Sign up for memberships to get insider deals
  3. Subscribe on the mailing list of accommodation booking websites and hotels for regular promos and discounts
  4. Follow the social media accounts of your favorite hotels or hostels to be updated with good travel accommodation deals
  5. Note that prices during the peak season and off-peak season vary, as well as weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Prices especially soar during the peak season, as well as weekends, and holidays.

What are the Best Travel Accommodation Websites

  1. Booking.com: With millions of properties worldwide, booking.com is one of the go-to websites for booking travel accommodations. Users can filter based on their preferences and there are all sorts of accommodation types available on the website. The payment options are flexible as well, including pay via credit card, pay on the property, or partial payment until a few of the actual booking. The site is also popular for low price deals, promos, and frequent traveler points that can be used as discounts for bookings.
  2. Agoda.com: A tight competitor of booking.com, agoda.com offers mostly the same features available on booking.com. There are also filters for narrowing down searches, everyday low price deals, and discounts for frequent travelers.
  3. AIrbnb.com: One of the big players in booking travel accommodations, Airbnb has multiple properties globally, from business districts to less touristy areas.
  4. 4. Hostelworld.com: The ultimate website for hostels all over the world, hostelworld.com enables travelers to find hostels that fit their needs. Filtering to find properties that offer private rooms, air conditioning, laundry, and 24 hours reception and security are also possible.
  5. Kayak.com: A big player in the travel accommodation industry, Kayak.com allows users to search for properties via a map with notes on the top places for sightseeing, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, etc.
  6. Expedia: A popular site for booking travel accommodations, including last minute deals and low prices promos. Expedia also owns Travelocity, Hotels.com, and Hotwire.com.
  7. HotelsCombined: The accommodation equivalent of Skyscanner, HotelsCombined allows users to search for accommodation and compare rates, offering the best and the cheapest options,
  8. Glampinghub.com: For travelers looking for glamping accommodations, glampinghub is the go-to place. There are several properties available here, as well as different types of glamping accommodations – including beaches, snow mountains, lakes, and farms to name a few.
  9. TripAdvisor: A popular booking accommodation website, with a trusted user review library – TripAdvisor is worth checking out.
  10. Couchsurfing.org: For free accommodation and meeting new people, couchsurfing.org is the place to go. As mentioned, the experiences vary, but still – it remains an option for those who are interested in trying or those who are having a tight budget.
  11. BedandBreakfast.com: As its name suggests, this is the website to go for those who are looking for B&B accommodation.

How to Save on Travel Accommodation

  1. 1. Book on off-peak season or weekdays
  2. 2. Maximize promos and deals on social media and promos sent via email
  3. 3. Consider a shared room on hostels, for travelers comfortable with sharing space with other travelers
  4. 4. Use websites like agoda.com or booking.com
  5. 5. Check the company website for other offers
  6. 6. Avoid consuming the food and beverages on the hotel fridge, grab supplies from the convenience store
  7. 7. Search online for local restaurants or bars near your accommodation, in-house restaurants and bars are often pricier
  8. 8. Research on getting around your destination to save costs on booking for airport transfers
  9. 9. Subscribe to the mailing list of the accommodations and on their social media, for regular and seasonal promos and offer
  10. 10. Sign up on insider accounts on websites such as Agoda.com to get members-only discounts.

What are the Best Travel Accommodation Apps

Most of the top travel accommodation websites offer their apps for the convenience of their users. Be sure to have these travel apps ready for easy organization and arrangements of your travel accommodations.

1. Booking

  • Great for: Browsing for accommodations, reservations, and purchasing
  • Cost: Free
  • Available on iOS, Android

2. Agoda

  • Great for: Browsing for accommodations, reservations, and purchasing
  • Cost: Free
  • Available on iOS, Android

4. Airbnb

  • Great for: Browsing for accommodations, reservations, and purchasing
  • Cost: Free
  • Available on: iOS, Android

5. HotelTonight

  • Great For: Last-minute deals and instant booking accommodations
  • Cost: Free
  • Available on: iOS, Android

6. Couchsurfing

  • Great for: Meeting new people, free accommodation
  • Cost: Free
  • Available on: iOS, Android

Conclusion: How to Find the Best Travel Accommodation

The requirements for the best travel accommodation are often similar: a comfortable and convenient place for guests to rest after exploring their destination, as well as a safe place for them to store their belongings and valuables. Where it varies, however, is on the budget, style, and experience that the travel is aiming for. Once you get that perfect mix of the standard requirements and the personalized experience that varies per traveler – that is then the best accommodation.

For solo travelers, it depends whether you are on a budget, backpacking around Southeast Asia or having an Eat, Pray, Love experience in xxx, or a dream vacation in Paris. Hotels are great for comfort and if you simply just wanna lay down at the end of the day and not worry about anything. Hotels are also ideal for travelers who are very particular with their privacy, accommodation, meals, and staff service.

On the other hand, solo travelers who want to save money but also want to spend the night making friends and partying can opt for hostels. These are highly social places with different pockets for people to meet and hangout. There are common spaces on hostels, there are rooftop/in-house bars, and swimming pools (on some). Some hostels also offer organized tours and pub-crawls, perfect for solo travelers who want to explore but at the same time be part of a group.

Solo travelers on shared hostel rooms are also able to meet all sorts of people and travelers from all over. There are good and bad experiences, of course. In the mix of these, all are Airbnb properties, with facilities according to your needs. There are private rooms in a three-bedroom unit, a spare room on a local’s place, or sometimes private sleeping capsules or pods.

For couples on a romantic getaway or a bonding trip, hotels and resorts are the best options. These places offer the utmost privacy and comfort for the couple, without sacrificing security and convenience. For couples who are looking to meet more friends, private rooms in Airbnb and hostels are recommended as well.

Family vacation, groups, trips with children: hotels and Airbnb. As mentioned, the accommodation type varies on how you travel and for large groups, especially with children, hotels or Airbnb (entire property rental) are the way to go. Hotels provide the requirements of traveling as a large group as well as the safety, security, and facilities necessary for families with children. There is optimum security, safety features, and kid-friendly areas such as a playground and a kiddie pool. There are also gyms, bars, salons, saunas, and pools for the adults of the family. Facilities such as a fully-equipped kitchen, Wi-Fi, laundry machine, or a laundromat are also available on most Airbnb properties.

Pets are family and while some prefer to leave their furbabies at home or on pet hotels, some lucky ones can join the fun. The good news is that there are several pet-friendly travel accommodations globally, especially on Airbnb rentals and private accommodations. Hosts who prefer to lease the entire property, usually a home, a villa, a cabin, or an RV allows a pet in the accommodation as long as the pets are in their best behavior, do not soil or damage the property, and pose no safety risk on other guests.

When choosing a pet-friendly travel accommodation, it is also important to read the fine print. Some properties only allow small dogs and cats, at times only a maximum number of pets are allowed, or sometimes pets are not allowed inside bedrooms or on the furniture. Updated vaccinations of the pet/s might also be requested by the host or the accommodation. Ensure that all the necessary documentation of your pets are ready and at hand. It is important to note as well that for some travel accommodations, there are additional charges when bringing in pets.

For those who love nature but doesn’t want to be comfortable – glamping is a new experience that is surely a must-try. Imagine looking up to the stars on a crystal dome, in the middle of an island surrounded by a lake or in the middle of a meadow in a lovely forest. Glamping by the beach is popular as well, offering great views of the sea and the luxury of lush linens and breathtaking interior decor. It is the usual environment of a camping ground but the comfort and style of hotels.

There are all types of hotel accommodations depending on the traveler. The important part is to make sure your chosen accommodation fits all your travel requirements. Take advantage of the internet, social media, and the personal recommendations of family and friends. The purpose of the trip affects your accommodation as well. Is it a business trip or a Valentine getaway? How long are you staying, do you prefer accommodations with or without Wi-Fi? These and so much more are to be considered when looking for your next travel accommodation.

Traveling is a fun and enriching experience, whether it is alone, with your special someone, with a group of friends, with family or with your pets. Finding that perfect spot to lay down and rest after a long day of exploring foreign cities and experiencing local cultures, is an important part of traveling. After all, how can one make the most of the trip if they are lacking sleep, if their back hurts from an uncomfortable bed, or their mind is always back to worrying about their valuables? What you need, what the place offers, and the budget – all these combined allow you to find that ultimate accommodation perfect for your trip. Happy travels!

Do you have more tips on finding the best accommodations and lodging when traveling? Let us know below!

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