So far on our trip, after four weeks (or 28 days) of traveling, Kelly and I have stayed somewhere for free 9 of those nights. And we plan on at least 10 more. Thats a grand total of 19 of 50 nights of free sleeping space.
How, you ask?
Well I suppose anyone could take the homeless route and sleep on the street, in the park, etc. etc. (please note, I am sympathetic towards people who are actually homeless) and not pay a dime for it, but you probably risk getting arrested or mugged or something of the sort. Thankfully Kelly and I have not resorted to sleeping on the streets…yet.
As I explained in another post, we’ve been trying out a couple of different budget-friendly lodging such as hostels, airbnb and couchsurfing. Additionally, we’ve had a few very generous friends open up their homes to us a few nights (Thanks Tom, Brenda, Jane, Stewart and Jeremy!!!). Now that we’re more than half-way through our trip 😦 we’ve experienced them all and have learned what we like, and don’t like about each…
4. Hostels. Hostels are both Kelly’s and my least favorite. Every hostel we’ve stayed in there’s been at least one sick person staying in the same room as us. This makes you feel like maybe you should bust out the masks everyone wears in Beijing so you dont catch whatever they have. Hostels also arent just for youth anymore. In Ireland we stayed in rooms with a decent amount of adults over the age of 50. Which is fine, unless they expect people to be completely quiet by 10 p.m. or huff and puff about lights that people use to see where they’re walking when they come back in the middle of the night. I dont mind sharing a room with older people, but if you’re going to stay in a hostel then dont complain about some of the obvious flaws every hostel has. Most of all I think we dont like hostels because we’re not really on this trip to party all the time, and that’s the vibe you generally get at a hostel. Plus, you also get sucked into touristy activities and sight-seeing because that’s what everyone around you is suggesting. We like the tourist attractions but also want to see a city from the locals perspective too.
3. Airbnb. From here on out Kelly and I differed with our opinions on “rankings” but since this is my blog post we’re going to go with what I thought 🙂 I like Airbnb because it’s a little bit of a step up from couchsurfing. You’re guaranteed a room and clean linens – it’s more of a B & B type atmosphere (go figure) but that also means you have to pay. We used Airbnb while in London. The apartment was good, especially the room we stayed in which was clean, had closet space for our things, a key for the room and even a hair dryer! There was a bit of a problem with the toilet while we were there but the other housemates took care of it and updated on when it would be fixed. The only thing I really didnt like was that the people we were living with in the apartment didnt really seem to want anything to do with us. They were pleasant and nice when they spoke with us, but otherwise just let us do our own thing. If I wanted to do my own thing I would’ve just stayed in a hostel or hotel. I was hoping they’d want to get to know us better or invite us out with them one night on the weekend. While that’s not really a big deal, it was a little bit disappointing for me. We do have another Airbnb stay coming up soon in Edinburgh, so hopefully the people living there will be a little more keen on spending a little time with us.
2. Couchsurfing. Couch surfing is great because it’s free! And most of the people on the website are interested in meeting new people, showing you around town and learning about different cultures. Here is where we really get the locals perspective, find those hidden gems and meet some awesome people. Of course, there are a few downsides: you never really know what you’re getting yourself into until you show up on said person’s doorstep, you have to send out dozens of “surfing” requests before a host will get back to you with that long awaited “yes,” and they can cancel on you at the last minute. But to me those are just small annoyances in the bigger scheme of things. I love couchsurfing, and I think Kelly has liked it too, so we’re trying to do a bit more. We will be couchsurfing at two more places this week – London and Paris – and I can’t wait to meet our hosts! They seem like great people.
1. Home Stays. I like this the best because usually you already have some connection to the person you’re staying with and they’re really interested in helping you out and showing you around. The great families we’ve stayed with have given us beds to sleep on, delicious home-cooked meals, rides to our next destination and enthusiastic tours their city. I dont know if we’ll be able to spend anymore time with good friends on our trip, but it sure was a pleasure staying with them when we could. I wouldn’t pass it up for anything else!
Have you had any interesting lodging experiences? Share them with us!
Ta-ta for now!