Hostel vs. Hotel vs. Airbnb

Hostel vs. Hotel vs. Airbnb

Accommodation is one of the most important things that you need to plan and arrange before you travel. We often compromise on accommodation because we focus so much on planning the activities we want to embark on once we get to our destination. But do you know that the right accommodation can enhance your travel experience and make the entire travel smooth and easy for you?

Here is what you need to know. Travelers often choose between one of three options:

  • Hostels are shared accommodation for tourists on a budget. Travelers rent a dorm bed(s) and share a bedroom with other tourists. Some hostels provide private rooms at an added fee.
  • Airbnb provides vacation rental services. You can choose to rent private rooms within a shared space or rent the space entirely for the duration of your stay (such as guest cabins).
  • Hotels are private accommodation for tourists with different budget types. Travelers pay for their room and meals, and any requested service.

So, how do you know which accommodation suits you best? Consider the four criteria below.


Four Criteria for Hotel vs. Hostel vs. Airbnb

1. Amenities

Hostel amenities are shared by tourists who have rented beds. The shared amenities include a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and living area.

Hotel amenities include warm service, access to local information from hotel staff, staff assistance in emergencies, full-time personnel, and flexibility on services such as extra ice, late check-ins, and privacy. Additional hotel facilities are restaurants, business center facilities, gyms, spas, and swimming pools.

Use Airbnb if you plan to do your cooking and cleaning, although some Airbnbs add cooking and cleaning services at a fee.


2. Privacy

If privacy is a must-have, then a hotel or Airbnb is the way to go.

Airbnbs provide that privacy and serenity you need so long as that the location is not very noisy or overpopulated. Hotels are also able to adjust privacy settings for their clients. Elite clients can book with pseudo names, stay on suites on private floors, and access facilities that are inaccessible by regular clients (such as private elevators and entrances).


3. Location and atmosphere

Hostels are found in highly-populated areas. They enable tourists to meet and engage in fun social activities together. There is a sense of community among tourists in a hostel.

Five-star hotels are located in convenient parts of the city/town. This makes them ideal for travelers who want accommodation offering a great location which saves them time and money so that they can focus on shopping, visiting tourist attractions, and quicker transportation connections. Hotels in distant locations in national parks, forests, or by the beachside (called lodges, tented camps, and lodges) are largely secluded and ideal for those seeking solitude and to unwind away from people.

Airbnbs are located in residential neighborhoods and are ideal for tourists seeking local experiences in a specific town or city. This option is best for those who are comfortable moving around and making their plans. With Airbnb, you will feel like a local and have a sense of everyday life and culture of your host town or city. One caution is that you need to research the neighborhood of your Airbnb to ensure that you have adequate privacy and security.


4. Pricing

We often think that hostels are the cheapest accommodation. Surprisingly, you are likely to find expensive hostels in major cities in Europe (such as Berlin and Prague), where charges almost similar to a hotel or private room in an Airbnb.


Solo travelers tend to stay in hostels because they are more affordable. On the other hand, group travelers find Airbnbs more affordable especially if they choose to stay for a week or longer periods.

Hotel prices differ based on the experience you desire. Luxurious 5-star hotels are the most expensive while non-star or 1-star hotels are more budget-friendly.

Tips to save money

  • Consider seasonality and travel during the low season. Most hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs charge different fees for high-seasons and low-seasons.
  • Accommodation outside the major cities is cheaper than within the cities.
  • Exploit last-minute deals on booking apps and websites such as HotelTonight and Booking
  • Be wary of extra fees. For instance, a hostel can charge you for using their towel and renting a lock. City hotels include city tax in their fees. Airbnbs will charge you extra if you bring more guests.
  • When in hostels, rent the dorm bed while when in Airbnb, rent the private room.
  • Some private rooms in Airbnbs are cheaper than the private hostel room or a 1* hotel.


If there is one place not compromise your travel experience is in getting quality accommodation. The best accommodation for you should have the amenities, privacy, pricing, and the location and atmosphere that you desire. Cost is not the only thing to consider. Also, remember your goals for traveling and focus on achieving that experience whether in a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb. Lastly, have fun!!


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