Who doesn't like staying in a fancy hotel? Everyone loves a bit of luxury, but when you're travelling far and often sometimes your choices have to be a little more down to earth.
Hostels are a great way to meet new people, but still there’s no guarantee that you’re going to meet great people. You could end up finding your new best friends, or get stuck with five of the most boring (or smelly) individuals on earth. The idea of sharing a bedroom with randoms seems crazy until you’ve actually tried it, but as long as you’re a person who can easily fall asleep anywhere when you’re tired (me!), you’ll be just fine.
Some hostels have single rooms which are still a lot cheaper than a hotel. It’s a nice little luxury to have your own private space, as long as the walls aren’t too thin. In the space of one week I spent nights listening to a man trying to repair his marriage over the phone, a couple planning a six month cycling tour and someone who sounded like he was running a late night cookery class via Skype.
For something a bit different, keep an eye out for a capsule hotel. These futuristic sleeping pods are not for the claustrophobic, but you get more privacy than at a hostel plus a choice of lighting colours and your own climate controls.
Honestly, I’m not a fan of camping. Why do you want to go on holiday and sleep in a tent? It’s cold. Until suddenly it’s hot and you wake up gasping for air, desperately trying to escape through layers of zips and nylon flaps. I once came scarily close to padlocking myself into a tent, but that’s a story for another day.
For a different point of view, I had a chat with my best friend Sandy, who thoroughly enjoys camping.
Over to Sandy now for her top reasons why she loves going camping:
1) You can get accommodation with a 5 star view for a 1 star price.
2) You go to the sleep to the sounds of nature, especially when you camp near the beach and you can hear the sounds of the ocean.
3) You can get creative with your cooking and see how many things you can make with only a campfire and a limited amount of cooking utensils.
4) For city people like me it's a great chance to actually see the stars properly, without any light pollution.
5) Most of the time you have no phone reception when camping. When you can't use your phone you are forced to make conversation with your friends and find activities to entertain yourself. You end up doing things like playing card games that you wouldn't usually think of doing at home.
6) You get to go to bed early which is one of my favourite things to do! (Editor note: Honestly, she’s not that boring, she just really enjoys sleep and I can totally relate to that!)
7) Camping is a perfect chance to really get away from the world and enjoy being alone with friends or with someone special. Or nearly always….
One time I went camping with a boyfriend at a deserted little spot up the coast. After parking the car found we had to walk about 1km to the campsite with all our stuff. We had to do several trips back and forth to the car. We’d just got everything sorted out, I’d set up my awesome reclining camping chair in a perfect spot and got an ice cold cider out of the esky.
Suddenly there was a rustle in the bushes and a sweaty man appeared, exhausted from a strenuous day of hiking. I assumed this random man would just say a polite hello and then continue on his way, but by complete unfortunate coincidence it turned out that he was some old acquaintance of my boyfriend. Next thing I know I’m kindly offering my awesome chair to this man and so I’m sitting on the ground while he’s getting comfy in my chair, drinking my cider and enjoying my hard earned ocean view!
You know, this is controversial but I’m still not sold on AirBnB. I’ve learnt that I value anonymity when I’m travelling. I just don’t feel comfortable in someone else’s house where they’ve made such an effort for everything to be perfect.
What happens if I accidentally break a plate? Or I have some kind of shower curtain related incident that ends in water dripping out of a downstairs light socket? I’m not even catastrophising, this actually happened to me. I have a track record of freak mechanical incidents in other people’s bathrooms.
Also sometimes I’m just a disgusting human. Like that time I went to Ibiza with newly dyed red hair and a spray tan. My hotel sheets and towels definitely knew all about it.
You can get away with stuff in hotels. AirBnB is personal. It’s someone’s house, they’ll personally be cleaning the room and they’re going to write a review of your guest behaviour. They’ll never forget your name.
Nicki Ranger is a freelance writer currently based in Perth, Western Australia.
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