Being a young solo traveler is an incredible experience, but not one that you can simply Google a how-to guide for. Deciding on accommodations as a young solo traveler can be especially tricky on your few trips.
Do you choose a Couchsurfing experience for the local, authenticity factor? An Airbnb for the privacy? A hostel for the communal aspect? Read this and then decide what’s best for you and the trip you want to have!
3 Things to Think About
Before you jump into anything I suggest you think about 1.) what type of trip you’re hoping to have, 2.) what type of traveler you are, and 3.) your budget.
If you having almost no funds, are adventurous, and want an extremely local experience, I suggest…
Couchsurfing is a completely free way to travel where you stay at a local’s residence with no obligation of payment or work. Locals might host Couchsurfers because they might like to make new friends or meet people of different cultures.
As a woman, I do believe there is an element of danger in staying solo at a person’s home without legal or implied protections like at more official accommodation.
If you have almost no funds, are adventurous, and are looking to volunteer or work while you are abroad, I suggest…
A homestay is an arrangement when visitors share a residence with a local of the city to which they are traveling. Organizations such as WWOOF, WorldPackers, WorkAway, and HelpStay help connect willing and able workers with farms, hostels, and private citizens. I’ve done a WorkAway in Italy at a doctor’s home working in her garden in exchange for a place to stay and meals.
In this environment, you will be surrounded by people, other workers or the hosts, but not people you know closely. So this is a good option for both introverts and extrovert travelers!
If you have a slight/moderate budget, privacy is important to you, and you want to cook for yourself, I suggest…
An Airbnb or other short-term often allow you all the luxuries of living at home—privacy, a kitchen, laundry, etc.—at a reasonable price. On the other side, there are luxury Airbnbs that can give you the feeling of a 5* resort for a much more expensive price!
But staying in your own apartment might get a bit lonely if you don’t have friends in the area. Consider using travel Facebook groups as a way to meet likeminded young travelers to adventure with during your travels.
If you have minimal funds and are an extrovert seeking a sense of community, I suggest…
Hostels are the absolute best location if you’re an extremely budget traveler whose priority is meeting other young travel friends.
By staying in a hostel you’ll never be alone (for better or worse) and will be surrounded by hustle and bustle. They make it easy to find people to do group activities with every day and explore destinations with.
However, the lack of privacy might be a concern for those who are traveling with a lot of valuables, so if you’re traveling with an expensive laptop or camera be wary.
If you have a moderate budget and want to worry about as little as possible in terms of cleaning or safety, I suggest…
Finally, the most common option—a good old-fashioned hotel. Most often the most expensive choice for a lot of reasons.
With hotels you can pay for your stay with a credit card or reward points, you have daily cleaning staff, hotel security, and a lot more perks and support than any of the other accommodation options.
The point of traveling solo is to do whatever makes you happiest. We’re young and traveling the world, we’re supposed to be completely selfish!
And don’t listen to anyone who tells you you “should” or “shouldn’t” do something. Do your research and do whatever fits you and your adventures best.
Gabby Beckford is a Gen Z travel and lifestyle entrepreneur who runs the blog Packs Light.