Alternative Accommodations (or "Hotel Rooms are not for Everyone!")

(back to blog)

We all have different budgets when it comes to travel, and different areas where we are prepared to scrimp or splurge for the best possible travel experience. Generally, the cost of a trip can be split into four key spending areas: transportation, meals, accommodation and activities.

Personally, I don’t care how narrow or wide my airplane seat is, so long as I’ve paid the least possible money for it. But once I’ve arrived at my destination, I don’t like to scrimp on my meals, or miss out on a great activity because I didn’t budget for it. The one area where my spending is inconsistent is accommodation. There are times when I’m lured into paying for the romance of a boutique hotel, and other times when a simple hostel bed suits my needs the best. While I’ve heard some people say their hotel bed is just that – a place to sleep – and no sleep should be lost over choosing it, I’ve found that wherever I choose to stay does become a part of the adventure.

A recent trip to New York City saw me spending an inordinate amount of time choosing accommodation. My travel partner and I had saved up for this trip and were prepared to spend four days sampling the city’s incredible array of restaurants, museums, shopping and nightlife. I didn’t want a $300/night hotel room to take away from our fun money! But I also didn’t want to stay far from the action, with a train ride out to Jersey as the culmination of every day.
Just as I was about to book a room at the not-terribly-imaginative-but-centrally-located-and-affordable-YMCA, I stumbled upon an accommodation site I’d never seen before:

A warning: for those of you, like me, who are mildly addicted to trip planning and hotel research, this will only feed your addiction. Airbnb opens a door to a whole new world of accommodation options. Offering places to sleep in 165 countries, Airbnb lets you stay as a local in a new city, by acting as a conduit between people with apartments to let and travelers looking for an alternative to the standard hotel room.

Suddenly, I was no longer confined to picking a hotel in a tourist-oriented neighbourhood. I could stay in the East Village, in Park Slope, the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village...for less than the cost of a room in a hostel. I ended up picking a studio apartment near St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, and my partner and I felt like bona fide New Yorkers as we walked up the steps to our brownstone at the end of every day. It sure beat a commute to New Jersey.
Share This Article