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Hostels and Hotels – Finding the best place to stay for you

As those of you who have read Vagobond for some time already know, I’m not a big fan of hostels – to find out why you can read my 25 reasons to avoid hostels.

Moroccan beach sunsetBut, let’s say that you are about to set out on a journey and you want to find the best places to stay for you and whomever you are traveling with. How do you find the right spots?

The first thing you will want to do is to visit the following two links:

complete list of hostels worldwide.

largest selection of hotels worldwide

Type in the names of your destinations and see if there is anything listed. For example let’s say that you want to go to Asilah, Morocco – a quiet beach town on the Atlantic Coast of North Africa.

First look at the list of hostels – there are only two listed and they aren’t necessarily hostels. They are

Christina’s House

Dar Nour Asilah

Neither of these are actually hostels. Neither one of them has single bed, dorm room accommodation. Christina’s house is $51 per night for a double room and Dar Nour Asilah is $101 per night. Hardly hostel rates and when you look the descriptions what you find is that these are boutique hotels or riads that are trying to market themselves to backpackers. Fair enough, there aren’t any hostels in Asilah.

Looking at the list of hotels, you find the Al Khaima Hotel Asilah which is listed with three stars and offers the same amenities though not in the same boutique way as the guest houses listed with hostels. But, the price is actually cheaper by a couple of dollars and you have all the regular hotel amenities including a pool, tennis courts, restaurants, a night club, and since it’s not an open courtyard with the rooms facing it as you find in the guesthouses you have more privacy, AC, and the ability to watch television in your room instead of in a common room.

Now, don’t get me wrong – if you’ve never stayed in a traditional Moroccan house – it’s worth the extra few dollars but in terms of comfort – you are going to be more comfortable with the ‘hotel’ instead of the ‘hostels’ and it’s going to cost you less!

But we’re not done yet. There are lots of hotels and hostels that aren’t listed in the usual places – to find out about them you take a trip to Trip Adviser and see what they have listed. The advantage of doing things in this order is that you already have an idea of what is available, how much it costs, and what amenities they are offering.

Now you can see how they stack up against each other and with other accommodation in the area. At Trip Adviser you will find eleven listings for Asilah hotels and guest houses ranging from $14 to $158. The great thing about Trip Adviser is that you get to read reviews and they conveniently rank the sites…be warned though – the site rankings aren’t necessarily accurate. They are based on a variety of ‘secret’ metrics that TripAdviser uses so in some cases a hotel with 150 reviews that are great but the two most recent are bad (and could have been written by competitors) might rank under a hotel with five reviews that has only been around for a month. The point is to read the reviews –

Finally, you are still wondering where to go right? Let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to

Dar El Badia

Al Alba

and

Christina’s House

because the fact that there were 15 terrible or poor review and only 6 postive reviews made you strike the Hotel Al Khaima from your list.

There are two more places to look. Search the Thorntree Forums at Lonely Planet to see if there is any further information on your choices.

And finally, I like to go to search Google blogs for anything that might have been written by other bloggers about my final choices. Check out this gem about Asilah and the things to do there.

And of course you can always search sites like AirBnB, Roomorama, or Couchsurfing too – .

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Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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