One core aspect of traveling is figuring out where to sleep. Barring more exotic options like sleeping in a tent or an RV, most people end up choosing either a hotel, an Airbnb (or VRBO), or a hostel for a stay. Read on to see what I like/dislike about each of these and what’s my favorite.


Hotels are designed for tourists and not travelers. Hotels, especially big chains, are great for consistent and high-quality service.

One major problem is that hotels, usually, have a very car-centric approach to travel. If you are taking public transport, then either the hotel connectivity would be poor. Or even if it is good, you might have to walk a lot inside to reach the right room on the right floor of a gigantic hotel.

Further, hotel rooms usually don’t have a kitchen, so, there is rarely an opportunity to cook or even heat something. Most hotels, instead, have a dine-in restaurant, which depending on one’s preferences could be a great place to eat western-style (or a westernized version of the local food). For someone, who wants to try local food, it is best to venture out.

So, they are great if they are traveling in areas where public transports are unusable and you will be driving or taking guided tours. For example, the west coast of the United States and the sparsely populated islands of the Caribbean.


There are tons of Airbnb-affiliated bloggers shilling Airbnb all the time. And they are not wrong. Most of the time, Airbnb can give a better value for money than hotels.

However, a lot of times either you are sharing a house with the owner or there is absolutely no one at the place and you are fully on your own. I, dislike either setting. When traveling, I don’t want to be watched when I am coming and leaving the place. If the owner is living in the same place, it becomes unavoidable. And if the owner isn’t staying then you are probably on your own to solve problems like the keycode not working at 1 AM at night!

The other problem that comes with Airbnb is that a lot of bookings cannot be made instantly. But can only be requested. And then the owner will approve it. That’s a separate hassle in itself that one has to plan for.

The last problem with Airbnb is the misleading prices. There is a cleaning fee, service fee, and other creative fees that show up when you book. None of these fees show up during the actual search!


When one imagines a hostel, one imagines 4 bunk beds in one room, young guys sleeping half-naked, with their clothes lying on the floor. And that probably is the worst-case assumption you should make if you are staying in a shared dorm room. But I wouldn’t recommend that.

Instead, book a private room (with a shared bathroom). It won’t be lavish but you will get privacy. With the minor inconvenience of sharing the bathroom.

It will be much cheaper than a hotel room. At times, I have seen the same hotel being listed on both hostel sites like and hotel booking sites like The price for the same room would be 2-3X higher when it is listed as a hotel room!

In a hostel, you can still go out and interact with fellow travelers in the kitchen (where you can microwave food!), swimming pool, or other common areas. It will have a 12-hour, if not 24-hour staff at the reception. And you will be staying in a lively area of the city.

Also, since most hostelers are dependent on public transport for traveling, you will encounter that most hostels are conveniently located near major public transport hubs or in the center of the city.

Hostels are a great way to explore cities like Prague, Madrid, Cusco (Peru), and even Honolulu. Hostels aren’t the best choice in places where the concept of an urban center doesn’t exist, for example, Aruba, Dominica, or Minneapolis.