Travelers nowadays have never been so spoiled for choices when it comes to choosing a place to sleep. In the past, they depended on travel guides and agencies to check their options, but with the advent of smartphones, they literally have all the information they need at their fingertips.
The “accommodation scene” has changed a lot recently. It’s not about finding a bed anymore, it’s about the whole experience. Whether you’d like to meet locals, hang with like-minded travelers, or just enjoy nature, the place you choose to stay will definitely influence your adventures.
Hotels are probably the most ubiquitous form of accommodation. They’ve been around for ages and they won’t be disappearing anytime soon. They come in all shapes and sizes, but if you’re looking for extra facilities and luxuries, you’ll have to pay the price.
Sometimes you can find cute, small hotels with heartwarming owners and other times you might stay at massive hotels which can host big conferences. The higher end hotels will probably offer spas and even Michelin-star restaurants onsite.
When backpacking became trendy, the market responded with youth hostels. Not everyone wanted to be inside their rooms watching TV, people wanted to make friends and be part of a growing community. And they wanted it for a cheap price!
Although many hostels now have private rooms, their main selling point is the dorms, where people share the same room, therefore bringing the prices down. It’s also very common for hostels to offer big communal kitchens, where people can cook together and not spend money eating out.
Couchsurfing is a beautiful movement which definitely changed the traveling scene. It’s a community of travelers who stay at each other’s houses for free. Bear in mind that the main goal is not to save money, but to create meaningful relationships with other people.
I’ve used Couchsurfing in the Czech Republic, Austria, and England among other countries, and always had a wonderful time. Staying at people’s houses gives you a completely new perspective of the culture. You can see their fridge, their arts and crafts, and most importantly, you have access to a local person with emotions, ideas, and opinions!
Relationships based on trust (not money) are special and Couchsurfing can give you that.