Welcome back to my Interrail Blog Series and to Part 4! If you’ve not visited this series before, feel free to take a look at my introduction to have an overview of the series and the topics that I’ll be covering across it.
Part 4 is going to cover everything you need to know about accommodation, whether it be hostels or Air Bnb’s, booking your accommodation, the costs and some hints and tips.
My first main point is to make sure you are 100% happy with all of your locations, the order of your route and the dates that your trip follows. If you start booking accommodation and then realise that you actually want to shift the dates or want to take out a country completely, it will throw the whole thing out of whack and leave you in quite a mess. We booked our accommodation in the order of our route, always checking the dates were correct and the check in/out times were suitable for our plans/train times.
For our trip, the entirety of our accommodation has been booked through Air BnB. You may think this is a slight cop out as part of the fun that people always talk about when travelling is staying in hostels and meeting new people, however, as it’s myself and Leona travelling, it worked out so much cheaper for us to stay in Air BnB’s rather than forking out for private dorms in hostels. We wanted our own bathroom so didn’t want to stay in a dorm, and 99% of the time, our Air BnB’s were far cheaper than any hostels! The majority of the places we have booked are entire apartments which doesn’t even compare to only having one bunk of a small, single bunk bed in a hostel or risking the possibility of catching a verucca from the showers. In saying this, some hostels are amazing places to stay while travelling especially if you are a solo traveller or in a large group. It totally depends on your own preferences and what type of experience you are hoping for.
When searching on Air BnB, make sure you always add the number of guests staying, filter the price to what you want to spend in that location and add any amenities that you require (such as the private bathroom). You can also select the type of property you’re looking for, so whether you’d like an entire flat, a private room or a shared room. If you add all of these filters, it narrows down your search considerably and saves you a tonne of time when scrolling through the results.
The next thing I’d say is to make sure you’re always checking the location on the map on the website to make sure it is close to the centre of the city or to wherever you want to be. Some Air BnB’s will claim they are in ‘the heart of Budapest’ but when you check the map, they’re actually as far on the outskirts of the city as possible and despite the attractive price that they may come with, you’ll be spending a fair buck travelling to the city and back each day. Always read the reviews of the property and if you can, book with a Superhost (an experienced host with great ratings), as you’ll then know exactly what other people think of the place and you might get some extra tips on nearby places (supermarkets, restaurants, bars, public transport) or distances to attractions and the city centre. Another thing that’s worth mentioning about Air BnB is that you can either pay the full amount at the time of booking (this is the option we chose) or you can pay half at the time, and half later on. This is a good option if you want to reserve the place but don’t quite have the money to cover it yet!
I can’t advise too much on hostels as personally we’ve not booked any, but the thing I would say is that if you are opting for this route and booking through Hostelworld, be aware that you have to pay a deposit online and the rest up front when you arrive. Always keep track of what you’ve paid and what is left to pay so that you don’t get caught out by the hostel with any extra costs that have sneakily been added on. The tips above about Air BnB do still apply when booking hostels so consider those too! (Tip: take a padlock! You’ll need this if you use a locker in a hostel or in any of the train stations, to lock your bag whilst it is in the hold of the plane or whilst you’re getting some kip during a long train journey. You can rent them from hostels for approx. €2 but if you take your own you’ll save yourself a pretty penny, or euro…). However, if you do some research on public transport costs, it may be worth getting accommodation that is a bit further out if you know there’s a cheap bus that runs to the city centre every half an hour.
Something else that I’ve found since booking Air BnB’s is the amount of discounts you’ll be offered on trips and activities! Whichever type of accommodation you stay in there’ll always be information provided on available discounts on different excursions (zip lining, rafting days, walking tours, pub crawls etc) and information on the area itself (guides, maps, nearby amenities) so it’s really handy to make the most of the information you’re given.
In terms of the cost, we spent a total of £1,289 for all of our accommodation for the both of us, which works out at an average of £41 a night. That’s £644 each, an average of £20 each per night! We didn’t always opt for the cheapest accommodation, we wanted something close to the city and main attractions which was also nice and spacious, modern and clean. You could definitely cut down your accommodation costs by a fair chunk if you aren’t too fussed over where you sleep and pick the cheapest place. Either way, £20 each a night isn’t too shabby at all as we wanted our average cost per night to be approx. £25 and on average, we were £5 under budget for each night. Some places were way over the £25 budget (such as Amsterdam, we paid £250 altogether so £83 per night for the both of us), but other places were way under budget (such as Krakow, we paid £83 for the WHOLE STAY for 3 nights! That comes in at £27 per night for the both of us or just £13.50 each!) so it definitely balances out. For more information on costs and budgeting, keep an eye out for my next post which will go into it in a whole lot more detail (but not too much, I hate numbers).
I had to include this picture as I’m so excited for us to stay there! It’s our apartment in Krakow, yep, the one that only cost us £13.50 each per night for a whole apartment! Still can’t believe we got it for that price, what a steal. That’s about it for this post, I hope you found it helpful if you’re planning a trip but if you’re not, thanks for reading anyway.
See you on the flip side,
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