Types of places to stay…
When you travel, you will find SO many options for accommodations! I am here to give you some insight as you plan your solo adventure!
For the socialite, you will most likely wanna stay in hostels. Hostels are also for budget travelers! Questions I get all the time about hostels:
What are the rooms like? Rooms are dorm like, or you can reserve a private room for more money. Typically you will find bunk beds with a curtain for privacy. The rooms also will have storage for your luggage, be sure to bring a lock! You may also find reading lights and little fans in each bunk. I have also seen hostels with single twin beds, maybe 6-8 in a room, and no bunks.
Is there an age restriction? I have only seen age restrictions for children. I am unaware if there are restrictions where you can age out. You will typically find a young crowd from maybe 18-30, but if you are older than that, don’t let it deter you!
How to pick a good hostel? I like to use hostelworld.com to vett hostels. You can find great reviews on this website. Pro tip: you MAY be able to get a better deal on the hostel website, so use hostelworld to do research and book on the actual hostel website. Also hostels are not all the same! Some cater to environmentally friendly people, or LGBTQ+ groups, or party seekers. Make sure and research the vibe of the hostel before booking.
What are the main pros and cons of mixed gender dorms and 4,6,8,10 bed rooms? Mixed gender rooms can be a bit anxiety inducing, especially for solo women. I personally have not stayed in a mixed dorm and don’t intend to. I also like to stick to rooms with 6 beds or less. The more rooms, the higher the bunks, the more noise, and the more crowd-y it gets. 10 is just WAY too much for me.
You also will of course see hotels as an option. If you are a loyalty member or find great deals on hotels, this may be the route for you. Hotels often have great amenities, sometimes they even have transportation to and from the airport which is great! Amenities I like to look for in hotels:
Transportation to and from the airport
Free wifi (sometimes they charge for wifi!)
Connectivity (location, location, location)
Restaurant availability (you never know when you may need to lean on the hotel for a meal!)
Fun events (I have been to hotels with complimentary gin hour!)
Hotels can be pricey, especially for a solo traveler. My advice: if you are going the hotel route, make sure it is centrally located and has amenities that make up for what you would’ve spent if you stayed elsewhere. Also, look for deals! Sometimes hotels offer third or fourth night free!
Boutique hotels are hotels with smaller capacity. They often provide more personalized services for patrons. Sometimes they are located in reclaimed buildings which are super cool! Boutique hotels really range in price and can be either a better deal than a typical hotel or significantly more. I personally love boutique hotels because I feel they are often cleaner, especially if they are under the umbrella of a larger hotel, such as the Icon Collection from Hilton. Some boutique hotels that I have LOVED:
StayPineapple San Francisco
Hotel Icon, Autograph Collection Downtown Houston
Ballard Inn, Seattle
Casa Mathilda, Barcelona
And of course, Airbnb’s or VRBOs. These apps are now also offering hotel rooms, so just be aware of that. I prefer Airbnb’s if I am not planning on doing much in the city I am visiting, for example, I rented an Airbnb in Mexico for half my stay while I am working remotely. This is helpful because I have a lot of space and a kitchen. If I was planning on being out and about, I would not need this much space. I also look for laundry facilities in Airbnb’s and bathtubs! I don’t have a bathtub in my boat home so this is a luxury for me. Airbnb is sort of a pain because of all the fees associated with a booking at the end. If you are traveling with a larger group, this may be the way to go. I also enjoy airbnb stays when I want to feel like a local. I buy groceries and plan to make a few meals for myself. This provides a truly magical experience where I can take in all the sounds and sights from the place and feel what it would be like to live there.
Airbnb’s that I have loved:
Casa Frida B&B, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
When I travel, I like to do a mix of accommodations, if I can. There are pros and cons to this. Pros, you get a lot of different experiences. I have traveled to Portugal and stayed at hostels, boutique hotels, and Airbnbs. It was GREAT to get such a range of places. The con of this though is that you have to pack and carry all your stuff to a different place. This is why I encourage you to travel light!
Things to absolutely not forget to think about when booking accommodations:
For hostels, do not forget to bring a towel, earplugs, a lock, and shower shoes. You can rent a towel and a lock if you forget, but it’s a cost you can avoid.
For hotels, you can buy safety/cleanliness things from amazon such as a door stopper alarm, portable door lock, UV light/sterilizer. I like to check the sheets and pillowcases. Bed bugs are a thing and are a SCARY thing to have to deal with when you get home.
Hostels can be rowdy. Also, I feel like hostels are easier to catch a cold because of the close quarters. Just something to consider.
If you want to check in early, just call and ask! You might be able to. At the very least, you should be able to leave your bags at your accommodation.
Check to see if where you are staying has elevators! I have made the mistake of staying somewhere without an elevator and I was totally overpacked thus unprepared!
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