How I Choose My Accommodation (+ FREE Airbnb Credit)

Monday, July 24, 2017


Double room in large Victorian house in London, United Kingdom. (via Airbnb)

I am that type of traveler who feels more secure knowing that I have an accommodation booked before arriving at the destination itself. If you are anything like me, then this post would be useful to you. But before I start, I think I better state this beforehand before any low balling hater starts snapping nonsense into my face for trying to be a know it all. I do not know it all. I don't even know what's going on half the time. Ask my friends, I am that blurr sometimes. Hahahaha. Seriously. I just like to travel and then talk about it on my blog so if this is not your cup of tea, don't drink it.



Disclaimer: This is not a full-proof guide of how you should choose your accommodation. This is simply me, sharing how I usually choose my travel accommodation for the random trips that I take - which is why this whole category is called Travel Tales and not Travel Tips. You can either use the same method as I did, or find other methods that you deem fit. 

Okay enough of the serious stuff. Hahaha. Now moving on to what you're actually here for. When choosing an accommodation for a trip, there are a few things that I'll always take into consideration before actually booking the space and here they are: destination, trip type, travel companion and of course / obviously / like duh, budget


DESTINATION:

To me, I think this plays the biggest role, even bigger than budget actually. Destination here includes the country + the exact vicinity in which you want your accommodation to be at. You need to first look at which country you are going to because the types of accommodation available and the criteria of the star ratings are actually different at every country.

Cozy 2-Story House in Jungmun, South Korea. (via Airbnb)

For example, when in Thailand or Vietnam, it is much cheaper and safer to book hotels rather than Airbnb due to the high supply of service providers in the country. However, if I'm in Australia or Japan, booking a space on Airbnb would be more ideal because a bed in a good hostel costs around the same price and there is a lower supply of budget hotels, and well, mid-range or luxury hotels are just way out of my pathetic student budget.


El Gordo's Adventures & Guesthouse in El Nido, Philippines. (via Airbnb)

Next, I need to consider where in that country would I want my accommodation to be at. Be it the main town, the rural villages, etc. This will affect your final decision because some areas are so rural that you can't find hotels and only have home stays. Also, if your accommodation isn't located within close proximity of food readily available in the middle of the night, you might want to consider either stocking up from the closest supermarket or have a space that provides a stove for you to whip something up.


TRIP TYPE:

This varies for every single trip, honestly. It depends on my mood / the people I'm traveling with / the itinerary that I have planned for that particular trip. For example, I would book a personal space at a good hostel or a room with minimal necessities in a budget hotel if I were to be on a trip where I'm gonna be out the whole day and only coming back to shower and sleep. I wouldn't want to spend too much on a gorgeous villa in a resort but not get the chance to fully utilise the living space because I'm busy exploring the whole day.

The Good Shepherd Hostel in Makati City, Philippines. (via Airbnb)

On the flip side, there are some trips where I will want to be pampered to the extreme ends of the world. This means that a resort would be ideal because I would be driven on a buggy from the hotel reception to my room, and then served breakfast in bed, and would come back to a clean and made up room with a bubble bath readily prepared by the room service crew. Like a short tai tai life experience for three nights kinda trip.

But then again, it's common sense, really. You wouldn't want to book two single beds for your honeymoon right? Where you gonna do it, on the floor? Hahahahaha actually I don't wanna know. Whatever floats your boat, guys.

Home Away From Home in Perth, Australia. (via Airbnb)

TRAVEL COMPANION: 

I don't think I'm extremely picky when it comes to who I'm traveling with - most times, I just want to travel, no matter who it's with. But who you go with affects your accommodation type, down to the type of room / facilities that the accommodation has because now, there's more things and other people's feelings / preferences to consider, not just your own. It also depends on your relationship with that person, too.

For example, when I was fighting with my (then) boyfriend but we have already booked the flight tickets and accommodation, I would request for two single beds instead of a king sized bed - just to show how pissed I was with the situation. Hahahaha. Another example, whenever I travel with my mother, I need to remember that she is those high maintenance aunties who cannot shower if the toilet is not up to her comfort standards and that the space must always provide a hair dryer, a water heater and air-condition. So obviously, hostels are a freaking huge no when traveling with her.

Cupuwatu Wood Hut in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (via Airbnb)

When traveling in a group, it's trickier because everything that you had to consider with a plus one is now multiplied. Does everyone want a private room or a shared apartment? Does everyone has the same budget in mind? Is everyone okay with the location of the accommodation? Things like that. Always ask your friends, don't be that controlling bitch that books without discussing. Unless your friends are all lazy boys who believe that trip planning is a girl's job and say, "Ah Nurul you book ah, we anything, just tell us how much then we pay you." Hahahaha that one, different story.


BUDGET:

This will extra important to be taken into consideration if you're a broke ass student like me. If money is not an issue to you, then you can completely skip this part I suppose. But if it matters, then I guess this will affect your final decision greatly.

Deluxe Cottage Bedroom in Krabi, Thailand. (via OffHotels)

It's basic common sense, really.
Good Location + Good Ratings + Good Facilities = Higher Room Rates

If you're looking to skimp on the dollars then you will need to make some sacrifices and choose only one or two out of that equation. If you want a luxurious hotel, be prepared to spend like you actually live a luxurious life. Simple.


WHAT I USUALLY DO AFTER CONSIDERATIONS ARE MADE: 


  1. Search on OffHotels / Airbnb for an accommodation space. 
    These are the websites that I usually use to book my accommodation. I prefer OffHotels because the search results will showcase the total amount that I need to pay for all nights of my trip, unlike other sites (like Trivago / Agoda / Expedia etc) which only display the pricing per night, and will only have the taxes and extra charges totalled up once you click check out. I just feel that it makes searching more convenient. Airbnb is my go to website for a taste of local experience - I wrote about why I love Airbnb here.

  2. Read up on Trip Advisor / Google personal blogs for reviews, reviews, reviews. 
    I don't really trust the reviews on hotel booking sites because from what I learnt in school (perks of a tourism degree) the reviews are mostly being curated and sometimes even posted by hotel staff to try and garner trust from travelers. Personal blogs are usually more genuine. Just my preference.

  3. Check Google Maps for area compatibility / accessibility 
    I have had experience booking through a website that claims the hotel is "in a good location!" and "walking distance from tourist attractions". Come to think of it, every where in the world is walking distance from each other - just how long you're gonna take is what differs. So I usually use Google Maps (Satellite View) to see how the neighbourhood is in real time.

  4. Make use of the "Book Now, Pay Later" or "Free Cancellation" option 
    I am guilty as charge for this. I will book like the top three hotels that fits the bill, and then use the free cancellation option right in the nick of time to eliminate whichever I think does not make the cut. This gives me the flexibility to change my booking in case we have a change of plans or in any case that the destination got affected by natural disasters or unlikeable political situations.

  5. FINALISE BOOKING & PAY! 
    Once I've considered enough, I'll proceed and click that confirm button. Yes, I pay beforehand because I'm the type that prefers to clear all the debt before I travel so that I know, that all the money that I have with me is solely to be spent on transportation / food / shopping / activities etc. 


Well, that's about it! Pretty lengthy post but if you look closely, they are all interlinked actually. I think I blabbered enough for one post so congratulations if you actually read my nonsense til the end! If you have not experienced living with Airbnb before, click here to instantly receive a voucher worth SGD50 that will be credited into your account. I hope this post has helped you, one way or another and hopefully answered most of the questions that I get asked about how / why I choose the accommodation that I did stay at. Safe travels everyone!

♥, NMJ


This blog post was not written under any pressure, endorsement or sponsorship of any of the parties mentioned. 
All thoughts and opinions here are as always, my own.
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