Three times vacation stays
I often get questions where I stay when I travel and honestly it varies a lot depending on where I go, what I feel for, who I travel with or what I am doing. I prefer a mix of places and for example during my latest one week vacation at Aruba, Panama and in LA I have stayed at one guesthouse, one luxury hotel and at one hostel. I will share my pro’s and con’s as a solo travel for the different places.
I always make last minute reservations for my stays. Either while waiting at the gate, on the plane or just after arriving if I do not book any place which you can cancel until 6 pm the day of arrival without any charge. I have though most often made some research in advance on where to stay but I am not planning the majority of my trips in advance. My best sources for booking accommodation is hotels.com, booking.com or airbnb.
Staying at a guesthouse in Aruba
At Aruba I stayed four nights and I booked a guesthouse through booking.com. It was a really, really nice place with simple standard and I enjoyed it a lot. The owners were super friendly and accommodating. It was clean but a bit far from the beaches (2km) and the transportation was not great but the nice owners were driving me to the beach. Such an amazing service! Since it was a bit far and most hotels at Aruba are all-inclusive resorts everyone brought food or cooked during the evenings so me and the other guests gathered outside at the poolarea eating together and had a great time. The crowd was mixed, it was me, a girl from the states, a Spanish lady and another Swedish guy that traveled ourselves, there were a group of three girls and a family from Colombia and a couple from Czech republic staying at the place. That is what I enjoy the most with guesthouses, it is personal but yet private and you are not alone even though you travel yourself.
Staying at a luxury hotel in Panama
When I travel myself to countries which are considered more “unsafe” I prefer booking a better hotel so in Panama I booked Hard Rock Hotel. When I book hotels I always pick choices with a pool and gym if it is not a running friendly place. The Hard Rock hotel in Panama was nice but the staff were barley speaking English. The gym, pool, the view from my room at the 34th floor, the skybar at the 62nd floor and the breakfast buffet was great but since the hotel was huge everyone was doing their thing including myself that was not spending too much time at the hotel. So if you are a solo travel and want to meet people huge international hotels is not to recommend.
Staying at a hostel in Santa Monica
Finding a place to stay in Santa Monica that is reasonably priced if you travel yourself isn’t that easy. Hotels are at least 200$ / night and for me it is not worth that especially if I do not plan to do anything else than sleep at the hotel. Then I prioritize a good location and I have stayed at Hostel International in Santa Monica before and it is clean and has a perfect location one block from the beach and one block from the main street so I booked my last two nights there. It is a great place to meet other travelers and especially when it is a marathon weekend in town. The place is packed with runners so it is a great place if you travel solo but not want to be by yourself. When I backpacked in Australia and New Zealand I often stayed at Hostel International places and those hostels are not catering the collage party crowd. If you are one or two people that want to spend your money on other things than sleeping while in Santa Monica this is a good place.
That was a sum up of my vacation stays this trip. Also when I travel with others I prefer to mix accommodation styles. I like guesthouses because you get to know the local culture more and what you pay goes back to the community and encourage local entrepreneurship, I like international hotels since it is comfortable and I like hostels since you meet people you probably never otherwise would meet. What is important for you when you decide where to stay during your trips? how do you decide on where to stay?
/ Pernilla the traveler