Hotel v Hostel

There is no place like home. But if you have a strong case of wanderlust, more often than not, you will find yourself thousands of miles away from home. It is crucial to find a place to stay in that is comfortable, accessible, yet affordable.

While promo fares are not hard to come by, not all hotels give out discounts. You’re actually lucky to get 10% off or something in that level. No matter how cheap your airfare might be, usually the bulk of your expenses lie on the accommodation.

Finding a place in London wasn’t a problem for us because my aunt and grandparents reside there. So yes, you could say I’m a lucky bitch. No need for posh hotels, because we have a home to stay in.

When we went to Hong Kong, we stayed in The Salisbury (YMCA) located in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s not very fancy, but I can say that it is clean and decent. My boyfriend chose it because being employees of HSBC, we are entitled to a discount, 10% if I remember correctly. It is also accessible to both the pier and the train station. Still quite pricey, but there were three of us so we managed to afford it. (Also, my dad shouldered the hotel accommodation for my sister and I.)

If you’re on a tight budget, hostels are the way to go. Last year, I had two consecutive trips so it’s all I could do not to be choosy.

My boyfriend Cy found this hostel in Singapore’s Chinatown, called Wink Hostel. This hostel caters to what they call flashpackers.

High style and high tech converge at Wink Hostel – the flashpackers’ travel accommodation of choice. Without sacrificing coziness and budget of the traditional backpackers’ inn, Wink innovates beyond conventional hostels in design, quality and conveniences.

Wink is geared for the young (at heart), trendy and technology savvy travelers. Throughout our premises, Wink balances both privacy (sound-resistant pod beds, contained lighting, private nooks) and communal space (café, entertainment lounge, kitchenette) to cater to guests with varied preferences. Wink invests in technology to ensure you a seamless stay from check-in, across myriad transactions, to check-out.

The place was neat and beautiful, and my only problem was the common bathroom. Not only do I have to share the bathroom, it was located on the third floor while our room was in the second floor. It’s a good thing that I’m too dead tired to even get up in wee hours of the morning just to pee. But in all fairness, the bathroom was clean. I was just not accustomed to the setting.

The place was accessible, surrounded by restaurants and just a few steps away from the MRT. You can also find a massage place beside it, and I tried to have foot reflexology one night because my feet are on the verge of dying. There’s also free WiFi and you can actually borrow their Blackberry Playbook if you’re bored.

Looking for a place in Seoul, meanwhile, was excruciating. Hotels are expensive, but there are a lot of guesthouses and hostels to choose from. It’s much cheaper if you’re traveling as a big group, for you can actually find a room as low as Php700++ in Korean Won equivalent. Click here, here, and here to witness my journey of looking for a guesthouse.

After months of searching, we ended up staying in Ciara920. It was accessible and the price is reasonable. We rented a room for three, with a private bathroom, and it only costs about Php5000/person for 6D 5N stay. Not bad, because breakfast is also free. It’s a shame I don’t have any pictures of the place, but it’s near Insa-dong where a lot of shops are located, and it is surrounded by restaurants and a lot of make-up stores. We could walk going to Myeongdong, Seoul’s shopping district. Our guesthouse is situated in a very convenient location.

It’s not easy to find the perfect hotel/hostel/guesthouse, but if you look hard enough, you will actually find a good deal. Never underestimate the power of Google.

Just a few tips:

1. Once you found an acceptable choice, make sure to look at the feedbacks and reviews.

2. Hotel booking sites like Agoda and Hostels.com can give you ratings for accessibility, comfort, and even security.

3. Don’t be too choosy, unless you can afford to pay for a pricey hotel.

4. Do not sacrifice comfort for price. You can find a place that is both comfortable and affordable.

5. ENJOY! :)

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