I firmly believe that it is a twenty something right of passage to backpack across Europe; spending sixty days gallivanting round the EU was my idea of a fabulous time. Looking back I find it amazing that I was completely content sleeping on a bunk bed in a room packed with sixteen people.
Travelling by bus and train to seven countries in two months and being completely exhausted, was exhilarating and a part of
A second European adventure four years later painted a completely different picture; this picture was of two countries over two months. The pace was far more relaxed; as I immersed myself in Parisian and Milanese daily life. I rented apartments in both destinations and made a point to live like the locals.
I became a regular at neighborhood boulangeries and cafés; and I cooked long and indulgent dinners that were shared with befriended neighbors. What a difference a few years makes.
I was shocked to find that renting an apartment and staying in one place for an extended period of time was surprisingly cheap. So this begs the question, hostels versus apartment rental, what makes the most sense?
Hostels are wonderful because they are a low cost option if you are only planning on staying in one place for a short period of time. However, the lack of privacy leaves little to be desired. Quite often hostels capitalize on space by using bunk beds; which can result in 7-10 people per room. Several mid-range hostels offer private rooms, which can offer them a hotel like feeling; but beware of a false sense of security.
I have had my computer and over $1000 stolen from a “private” room in Barcelona.
Many hostels are simply used as sleeping accommodations, therefore every meal must be eaten out; and that can add up quickly. However, there are premium hostel options that provide a continental style breakfast; but, honestly, the breakfast options are slim and you will likely be hungry in an hour.
Although apartment rentals seem to be a higher output of money initially, the savings can be quite tangible in the end. With an apartment comes a kitchen, and therefore most, if not all, meals can be prepared at home. And currently as the Canadian and US dollar goes rather far in the EU, quality groceries can be easily afforded. This option also offers the luxury of indulging in the vast fresh food markets that many European countries boast.
Although, when travelling one should always protect important documents such as passports, credit cards and the like; an apartment rentals offer more security than any hostel could ever provide. Not to mention privacy, an apartment rental allows you to unpack and make this temporary accommodation your home; a far cry from hostel living.
Choosing whether a hostel or apartment rental is right for you, depends on many factors; destination, length of stay and budget. But doing the proper research can aid you in your choice so that you can have the best travel experience possible.
Bianca is professionally trained natural foods chef and freelance writer; and avid traveler having been to every corner of the earth. When she isn’t globe-trotting she is writing about the foods for skincare and wellness; specializing in the best acne skincare solution.