If you’re a backpacker in need of accommodation, hostels may seem like the obvious choice. They’ve come to be known as the standard for affordable and flexible lodging in most parts of the world.
But since AirBnB has started gaining traction, many young and/or budget-conscious travellers have been choosing this as an alternative option. While AirBnBs can be quite expensive depending on the type you choose, they can also be more cost-effective than hostels at times.
There are many reasons why someone would choose one over the
Cost: Hostels are typically considered the cheaper option. But in certain regions, AirBnBs are actually less expensive. In towns with limited hostels, prices are often high due to limited supply and high demand. Therefore,
Privacy: It’s typical to sleep in shared dorms when staying at a hostel. They can be all-male, all-female or co-ed, and can hold anywhere from two to twenty (plus) people per room! Most AirBnBs offer private rooms or even a whole flat/house, although some shared-room BnBs are out there. Hostels typically also offer private rooms at a higher price.
Location: If you’re staying in a city where you want to be centrally located, hostels are probably the way to go. If you’d prefer to explore the suburbs, choose a BnB. BnBs in city locations will likely be extremely expensive and hostels rarely (but sometimes) exist in the ‘burbs.
Social Opportunities: Hostels tend to offer social activities such as pub crawls and trivia nights. As you are sharing rooms or common areas, socialising is pretty much unavoidable. An AirBnB host will usually specify whether they want to spend time with guests or prefer to give them their space. You may share common spaces with your host, but the same sort of expectations to socialise as you would in a hostel aren’t there.
Flexibility: AirBnBs are best when booking in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly. If you need to find accommodation on a whim, hostels are typically the superior choice. Although in either case, the earlier you book the better as neither option is guaranteed to have availability.
Security: Hostels may or may not have lockable storage units for your valuables, but it’s likely you will be leaving some items in publicly accessible spaces, meaning you need to really trust the other people staying there. AirBnBs are a more secure source for storage assuming you are staying there alone or with the host as the only other occupant.
Neither AirBnBs nor hostels are better, per se. Each offers different upsides and downsides. Hopefully this comparison has helped you weight the pros and cons of each a bit better so you can best determine which is right for you.