Staying In A City: What Type Of Accommodation Should You Choose?

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There are many types of accommodation to choose from when staying in a city. Each has its pros and cons, depending on the type of trip you’re planning to take. Below are four city accommodation options compared.


Staying in a hotel guarantees a private room which will usually be cleaned for you by staff. Many hotels have restaurants or bars within them, allowing you to grab food and drink without having to prepare it yourself (although they tend not to be all-inclusive unless it’s a resort area). Hotels may also come with other luxuries such as TVs in rooms, private balconies, swimming pools, and gyms.

Hotels can vary in quality. Those eager for a glamorous city break may want to consider a five-star hotel. Those who just want somewhere to rest their head may be happy with a two-star or one-star hotel. The star rating helps identify exactly what level of amenities are provided. It is not always a good indicator of the quality of service you will get, which is what reviews are for – some one-star hotels may have very friendly staff and may get better customer reviews than some five-star hotels.

Some hotels are likely to have a better location than others. Some will come with a great view such as this riverfront hotel in Bangkok. Others will be within walking distance of popular attractions. You’ll often pay more for these great locations, but it can often be worth it.


You’ll find hostels in many major cities. Unlike a hotel where you have a private room, hostels may require you to share rooms with guests. The room facilities tend not to be very luxurious – a room may contain nothing more than two bunk beds. However, you may still get fairly luxurious shared facilities such as a restaurant and bar. 

Hostels are often conveniently located near attractions. They are also much cheaper than hotels. If you don’t mind less privacy and luxury and are unlikely to spend much time at your accommodation, a hostel could be a better choice than a hotel. 

From my personal experience, hostels in the US are absolutely amazing and great if you’re on a trip where you want to make friends along your way. In contrast, I have found hostels in Europe to be places I’d certainly avoid in the future for a whole scope of reasons from being dirty to feeling unsafe so do your research!

Rental accommodation

Rental accommodation in cities typically includes houses or apartments that you rent out for your stay – often through sites like AirBnB. Unlike a hostel or hotel where you have an on-site restaurant, rental accommodation requires you to cook your own meals. You also have to clean up before you leave (some rentals will not give you back your deposit if you don’t).

A benefit of rental accommodation is complete privacy – you don’t have to make small talk with other hotel guests or worry about housekeeping coming in during the day. Large families can also stay closer together instead of being separated into different rooms. You may even find some more quirky accommodation options by exploring rentals such as this houseboat in Amsterdam. Rental accommodation may work out more expensive than a hotel, but when travelling with a large party you can usually split the cost. 


Homestay accommodation involves staying with a local in their home. Such accommodation is often cheap and you may get free home-cooked meals. It is a great way to experience life as a resident and truly immerse yourself in the culture. Those learning a foreign language can particularly benefit from these experiences.

There are sites online where you can find homestay listings. Homestay accommodation is typically different from sofa-surfing in that you get your own bedroom and pay to stay there. 

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