When traveling as a solo traveler, what accommodation should one book? Hotel? Hostel? Guest House? Home Stay? Airbnb? Resort? This is too much for this article to discuss, but one can read about choosing between a hostel and a hotel. The discussion here will be around solo backpackers or others traveling on a budget. Backpackers will normally be tossing with a hostel or Airbnb as the accommodation of choice.

Much of which is best is going to come down to personal taste and preference. Sometimes just staying at the accommodation is an experience like Hans Brinker Budget Hostel - the self-claimed worst hostel in the world.



Hostels are very much fun and interesting places to stay. They differ all around the world and each has a different vibe. They are often the accommodation of choice for solo backpackers. Often even backpackers with a decent budget will choose to stay at a hostel. No other accommodation can match hostels with their community spirit. When traveling solo,  it is nice to meet other travelers and make friends.

  • Key Advantage: The Community Of Hostels Is Unrivaled
  • Cost: Dorm Beds Are Often The Cheapest Accommodation

Almost by default, everyone in a hostel is friends. A common question asked solo travelers around the world is "don't you yet lonely?" For those staying at hostels, the answer is normally no! The other backpackers staying at hostels are almost by definition in staying in the same hostel traveling much the same as everyone else. Everyone wants to go out for a beer or see the local sights.

  • Activities: There Are Always Activities and Parties Going On In Hostels - Or By The People There
  • Travel Advice: Hostels Can Give Excellent Travel Advice And Tips to Travelers

Often in hostels, one chats with other travelers and one gets along really well with them. It often turns out that backpackers are traveling similar routes and so travelers travel together for days or weeks sharing incredible experiences together.

  • Advantage: Find Interesting People To Travel With And Share Experiences With
  • Disadvantage: People Snoring, Alarms, And Other Problems Sleeping
  • Age: Often Hostels Are Better Suited to Younger People

The accommodation that hostels normally offer are dormitories, private rooms without a private bathroom, and private rooms with a private bathroom.

  • Accommodation: Dormitories, Private Rooms With/Without Private Bathroom

Note that in Africa, hostels normally take the form of "the backpackers". These are very different from the hostels one finds in Europe. They aren't the cheap accommodation for penny counting backpackers in other countries. They typically have their own restaurant, bar, often a swimming pool, a range of cheap and even resort-like accommodation.

They are often the hang-out points for ex-pat communities in the African country as well as locals with means. They are accommodation for backpackers, and those traveling overland with their vehicles in Africa. One will often find the more wealthy and connected in the city hanging out in these places.

Related: 20 Hostels That Cheaped Out (Even By Backpacker Standards)


Airbnb's are typically much nicer accommodation. One can have a fully furnished apartment or house to oneself. They can often be very affordable. In fact, it can often be cheaper to rent out an entire apartment than just a basic private room in a hostel. In a hostel, one is paying for the vibe and company much more than just the accommodation.

  • Advantage: Excellent Work Space For Digital Nomads
  • Dates: Great For Those Planning To Bring Someone Back With Them
  • Disadvantage: Can Get Lonely

Airbnb's are great for those who like their personal space (there isn't much personal space in a hostel). But one can easily get lonely in an Airbnb. If one has no contacts in a new country, then it can quickly become boring and lonesome.

If one is a digital nomad, then the private space of an Airbnb can also be very beneficial as a quiet workspace.

  • Affordable: They are Often More Affordable Than Having A Private Room In A Hostel

Airbnbs are also well suited to those to plan to create their own networks in the city and make new friends. They are also great if one is interested in Tinder dating and the like.

Related: 20 Things Hostels Offer Guests That Hotels Don't

Try Flatting With Ex-pats

If one is looking for accommodation in a city somewhere in the world for an extended period of time. Then one can also consider renting or boarding. In many cities in the world, there are ex-pat communities. There are people from Europe, America, and everywhere who are living in different cities and rent large apartments.

  • Tip: Consider Flatting - Check Facebook Groups And The Like

They in turn sublet out a room. This can also be fun for the traveler, they can get the best of both worlds. They enjoy both the familiar company of like-minded travelers and the privacy of one's own room without a large amount of intrusion.

Next: The Best Hostels in Italy that Work Perfectly Within A Budget (And Offer Great Amenities)