Ah. Accommodation. The choices. The cost. How do you decide?
I decided a long time ago that I am over the hostel thing. I’m too old to be sharing a room with half a dozen strangers. You never know if you’re going to end up with a snorer or someone who has to get up early to catch a flight or someone who talks loudly and rustles plastic bags and in general makes a lot of noise.
I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Even when I was younger I still felt too old for these places. I’ve never been a party person or someone who likes to stay out late. The main perk of the hostel for me was the cost. It was cheap and when you quit your job and start travelling on savings alone, you need cheap.
This time around, however, I have not quit my job. I am taking three months’ holidays, which means I will still be getting an income (most of which will go towards my rent at home let’s be honest). I have managed to save enough to travel comfortably for this length of time (I hope so anyway!).
So hostels are out. Budget hotels may be in (I have the money but not for much more). But wait…how about staying in a stranger’s house? I’m talking about you, AirBnB.
My first port of call in this trip is Buenos Aires. I am lucky in that I have a friend who lives there and has given me tips on where to stay and even links to some hotels. Nice hotels. Mostly out of my price range unfortunately. I started looking at apartments on AirBnB. I made queries to a few and got positive responses back. Yes, they are available. And they are cheaper than hotels. And you get the whole place to yourself.
But how do you then decide which apartment to use. They are both around the same price. Slightly different locations. Great reviews for both. My Buenos Aires friend loves one. The other one a colleague stayed in a few years back and loved it. This is still not helping…
Apartment A – slightly more expensive (negligible). Buenos Aires friend loves it.
Apartment B – slightly cheaper. Colleague has stayed here previously and loved it.
My sister just gave me those well known words of wisdom – go with your gut. My gut is currently leaning towards Apartment A, but only slightly.
I am lucky that one month of this trip will be taken up by tours (Inca Trail in Peru and Rockies in Canada) and by staying with friends, one of the many perks of having friends all over the world.
Our Paris accommodation has been booked. By the time I reach Paris I will be joined by my parents, my sister and my niece. We have booked this apartment. Splitting the costs four ways certainly helps get you somewhere nice.
The other question is do you plan everything before you go or do you play it by ear. With South America I will be booking everything before I leave as I’m scared of the language barrier (Spanish classes have only taught me a little so far). I would prefer peace of mind knowing that everything is booked beforehand.
When I meet up with my sister in France we are hiring a car and driving around the countryside for a week. I think we will just play that by ear. We will be there late October so don’t envisage there being too many hassles. Plus, it could be fun – the freedom of having a car to drive on to the next town if we can’t find anything (let’s just forget that we’ll be driving on the wrong side of the road…).
The next few weeks will be spent researching and booking accommodation in South America. I will keep you updated on the progress.
For now it’s back to deciding between Apartment A and Apartment B. It may come down to the toss of a coin…