BootsnAll indie travel guide

FAQ – Accommodations: Hotels/Hostels/Camping

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Should I bring camping gear?

Probably not. There are people who do forms of long-term travel that involves a lot of camping, but that’s pretty hardcore. You might want a few small pieces of gear that campers use, but for the most part even the lightest weight sleeping bag will take up too much room and just isn’t necessary most of the time. Trips where you sleep and cook outside a lot are great, but camping stuff is pretty much dead weight on most any RTW trip.

I Don’t Have Much Money, And I’m Young. Should I Stay In Hostels?

Most likely, yes. Hostels are a great place for travelers to meet other travelers. If you are young, you can stay in dorm rooms for really cheap, and because you’re young, you probably won’t mind the lack of privacy or occasional lack of sleep.

I Don’t Have Much Money, I’m Not Young, And I’ve Never Stayed In A Hostel. Should I Stay In One?

Most likely, yes. Since you’ve never stayed in a hostel, you probably have a very skewed vision of what a hostel actually is. The vast majority of hostels have private rooms, so you don’t have to be stuck in a dorm room with a bunch of young, drunk, college kids. And the same benefits apply to you. You will have the chance to meet other travelers as many hostels have unique common areas fun for congregating. Breakfast is typically included as well, plus most have kitchens which can dramatically reduce your food costs.

Aren’t Hostels Loud With 24 Hour Parties?

Not necessarily. While there are plenty of party hostels out there, most are not, and in the vast majority of cities, you have a wide variety of hostels to choose from. Most guidebooks and hostel booking sites have reviews that will let you know which hostels are the party hostels, which are nice and quiet, and which are family friendly.

Wait. Families Stay In Hostels?

I told you that your view of hostels was probably all out of whack. Yes, families can and do stay in hostels all the time. Remember, most hostels have private rooms for couples, families, and those who just don’t dig staying in dorms with strangers. Some hostels are more appropriate for families than others, but there are plenty of families traveling the world and staying in hostels.

My Budget Affords Me To Stay In Hotels. Should I Consider A Hostel?

Absolutely. While everyone travels differently, as long as you enjoy meeting others and don’t mind not quite knowing what to expect (as you do with chain hotels), then yes, you could certainly stay in hostels and spend the extra money on activities, souvenirs, or nicer meals. Hostels encourage conversing and hanging out with other travelers, and they’re not meant for hanging out in your room all the time. If you’re taking a trip like this, chances are you would fit in quite well in a hostel, and if it’s privacy you crave, most hostels offer private rooms, many with en suite bathrooms as well. Besides, since you can afford it, you can always stay in hotels every so often to give yourself a break.

What’s The Bathroom Situation In Hostels?

The bathroom/toilet/WC situation is also not as bad as you might imagine. Private hostel rooms in many places these days tend to have an en suite toilet. But even if you have to share, most aren’t that bad. They will have a series of small, locking shower and toilet areas near every room that are cleaned daily so you needn’t worry about a lack of privacy, even if you might have to wait a few minutes to get in there.

What’s The Kitchen Situation In Hostels?

This varies from hostel to hostel. Some are fantastic and have all the amenities you could ever want. Some have 2 pots, 3 pans, 2 knives, 1 cutting board, and a half refrigerator yet can accommodate 200 travelers. You never know. But most will be adequate, and when you stay in one that isn’t, you either go out to eat or make the best of it. Having provisions for 5 but cooking with 50 is a great way to make new friends.

Are Hostels Always Cheaper Than Hotels?

Dorm beds in hostels are pretty much always the cheapest way to go, and private rooms in hostels are almost always cheaper than even the most basic hotel room with an en suite bathroom, but there are times when they might not be the best value. Even most hostel fans like to mix in some hotel nights here and there. A large and comfortable bed with your own TV at the foot of it can be a really nice treat once in a while.

Is There Ever A Time Where It’s Cheaper/Better To Stay In A Hotel?

You should be aware of hotels that usually caters to business travelers. Larger hotels that rely on business travelers can be jammed for months in a row and then nearly empty for a week or two, in between trade fairs or during holiday periods. You may be able to find a two or three-star hotel for just a bit more than a private hostel room.

Any tips on getting cheap rooms?

Last minute deals are usually your best bet after checking business hotels. BootsnAll offers a huge booking network for hostels and hotels all over the world at prices that are usually impossible to beat. Or you could just turn up and check out several places for yourself. When you’re right there in front of them offering to fill a room in an otherwise empty hotel, it’s difficult for a manager/owner to turn the money down, and your bargaining power increases dramatically.

Should I Book Rooms In Advance?

Most of the time, in most places, you can arrive in town and find a decent place without a problem. Traveling this way gives you the sort of freedom these RTW trips are often all about. Without advance reservations you can arrive whenever you want. If you arrive in a city early enough you might have time to wander through the city center for a few hours until you’ve decided exactly where you’d like to stay.

So You’re Saying I Should Never Book Rooms In Advance?

No, there are times when it makes a lot of sense to book in advance. When you are arriving in a new city, it’s often nice just to book your first night’s accommodation just so you can relax upon arrival in a new place. If the place isn’t to your liking you can always go out early the next morning and find a better place. If you are arriving late at night, you will be tired and ready to crash, so traipsing around the city with all your crap will be annoying. Keep in mind holidays and high season as well since accommodations book up quickly.

With the itinerary getting settled, the RTW vs. Buy As You Go decision made, overland travel considered, and accommodation options getting more clear, it’s time to move on to talking about trying to stay healthy when on your RTW trip.

For more in depth information about accommodations for your RTW trip, don’t forget to check out this article.

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