Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a nice hotel but from my experience depending on what you’re looking to get from your trip it’s not always the best option.
Safari & Overland Tours
Africa has some beautiful & luxurious lodges, perfect for romantic trips and also offering more comfortable accommodation for older travellers. However, in my experience it’s not the best way to fully experience a lot of Africa’s amazing national parks.
Camping felt like the best way to get closest to nature, with the guidance of our local guides we were able to choose camping spots that allowed us to get as close to the animals and natural beauty as possible without a) putting ourselves in danger or b) endangering the animals and their habitats.
There’s nothing quite like waking up and hearing hippos yawning, or the thrill of being told that if you need the toilet in the night to look out for eyes! We camped in some spectacular places particularly in Namibia and Botswana and waking up in the morning, unzipping your tent and seeing the national parks in all their glory is quite something.
Riads in Morocco
Earlier this year we visited Marrakech and I spent quite a long time weighing up the options for accommodation. The bigger and recognised hotel chains are out of the city and although they might offer cheap deals for all inclusive, if you’re wanting to experience the city, it’s food and sights, it doesn’t make much sense to stay out of the centre.
Morocco’s Riads are traditional houses or palaces with an interior garden or courtyard. They vary considerably in price and quality, but in general they give a glimpse into a traditional way of life, offer some respite from the heat and noise due to the high walls, many offer local dishes and you’re certainly going to experience a more authentic atmosphere than at a large hotel.
We stayed at the Riad Al Assala Medina for around £40/night, and with it’s beautiful rooms, courtyard pool and spectacular view over the city it was worth every penny.
I’m a big hostel fan. For those you that are either unsure about staying in one or perhaps have had a bad experience before then try not to put them all into one boat. Admittedly some might be under maintained to downright dingy, but do your research online/read reviews on somewhere like @hostelworld before you book somewhere or at least view the room/dorm before you pay.
If you’re travelling on your own then staying in a hostel dorm is a fantastic way to meet people. You’ll be with a bunch of like minded people, most of whom will also be looking to meet others and make some new friends.
If you’re with a partner then most hostels offer private rooms which are usually much better value than a hotel but offer similar facilities usually with a more low key atmosphere. In South East Asia you can get get a decent private room in great locations for less than $20 a night and in many locations you’ll much much closer to the action.