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We're Mike and Rachel - just two people who love to embark on life's journey. Becoming a tourist is simple, but becoming a local is how you truly understand different cultures. We are all neighbors on this beautifully diverse Earth, so let's not be strangers. Contact us, interact with us and don't be afraid to be yourself. We are The Locals.

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How to Pick the Perfect Place to Stay

Updated: Jan 19

Many people resist planning their own trips because there are so many different aspects and bookings they have to organize. In my opinion, the most important booking is where you’re going to sleep! Sleep is essential for any trip to be successful, and it can also create a fantastic rest-stop if booked correctly.

1. Budget

When I’m beginning the process of planning a trip, one of the first things I look into is where I could feasibly stay, and this is often dependent on the type of trip I want. Sometimes trips are low-budget and sometimes I’m looking for something more relaxing and luxurious. Google is your best friend in this situation. Websites like Hotwire, Expedia, and Kayak are incredibly useful when budgeting is necessary, but my personal favorite is Airbnb. With Airbnb I’ve been able to stay in prominent locations for significantly less than a hotel or sometimes even a hostel. After finding a place within your budget, you can decide how long or how extravagant your excursions can be!

2. If you go the hotel route:

Hotels are excellent if you have the flexibility to book a great one. However, it’s important to keep in mind that hotel ratings vary in other countries. You usually want to book a three-star or above in Europe and even higher in countries that are less developed. Be careful to check the reviews as well as amenities that come with the rooms. If you are someone that needs air conditioning and hot water, definitely check because many other countries may not view these as necessities. Also, look into if they offer breakfast because that may make a difference in whether or not you stay there.

3. If you choose the hostel route:

Hostels can be fantastic if you’re a solo traveler looking to make a bunch of friends in a short period of time. Hostels are essentially a dorm-style of living where you share a room and bathroom with a number of people. Hostels are generally frequented by people in their early twenties. They are usually pretty noisy, so if you’re looking for a good amount of rest, I would not recommend it. However, if you plan on staying out late and getting up early, then they are a great way to save a lot of money. They typically include a standard breakfast, but make sure to check before booking.

4. If you prefer Airbnb’s:

A good Airbnb can make a trip perfect. So many people list incredible apartments and houses on Airbnb for much less than they should be worth. This is also a great website to search if you want a unique stay because there are thousands of incredibly odd stays to make your trip unique. I usually prefer Airbnb’s because you can refine your searches to exactly the kind of place you want. Dog-friendly, hot tub, tree house – they have everything. I always worry about safety (especially when I travel solo), and one thing I love about Airbnb is that you can stay with a superhost which essentially means a more reliable host with great reviews. This always gives me (and my parents) a little peace of mind.

5. Location, Location, Location

It truly is the most important thing! I typically start by researching what I want to do while I’m in the new place. Google, again, is my best friend for this. On Google Maps you can ‘favorite’ the locations (they are identified with little stars) which will then allow you to narrow down an area in which to book a place to stay. When traveling alone I always do a quick search of areas to avoid if there are any. This should also be considered when looking at areas to stay because unfamiliar areas require more caution than normal.

6. Transportation

If finding a place near all of your hot spot destinations isn’t feasible, then finding a place near public transportation is a must. Becoming a local in an area almost always requires understanding and mastering the public transport, so why not take advantage of it while you’re visiting? Make sure to research all the transport stops to ensure that you will be able to make it to all your desired spots.

**Overall the most important thing is to find a place you’ll feel comfortable in, because if you don’t feel safe then you won’t be able to sleep.