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Traveling to major cities means major options in terms of housing. Everything from luxury hotels to hostels is available, but you may be looking to save a few extra dollars to spend on experiences or yummy eats. Airbnb and hostels are two affordable options for housing, but which is better in London? Let’s take a look.

For starters, both provide all the necessities found in a hotel: a safe place to stay, bathrooms, food, and common spaces. Hostels in particular are great for budget travelers, but both hostels and Airbnbs offer more affordable housing options than your typical hotel.

HOSTELS: The hostel experience is great for solo travelers or group comprised of individuals since these locations are often set up with multiple beds to a room. They come at the cheapest rates due to the fact that hostels are set up to accommodate as many people in a space as possible; often, you are assigned a specific bunk or bed in a room rather than an entire space to yourself. These are great at giving spaces to meet other travelers and often boast common spaces like bars or cafes inside. Sometimes they are old dormitories or are structured like them. Occasionally, these hostels will have planned parties or community gatherings with fun themes! It’s ideal for someone hoping to meet new people or trade stories on a personal level.

Where to look for Hostels in London: click HERE.

Some famous hostels include Wombat’s City, No. 8 Willesden, and the Walrus.

If you would like more room and/or privacy, an Airbnb may be a better option for your needs.

AIRBNBS: Airbnb is an American company that allows hosts to rent out spaces (such as rooms or entire properties) to travelers. Because these are case-by-case accommodations, Airbnb has a much wider range of types of lodging than say hotels. You could simply be renting out one extra room in a family home while the kids sleep downstairs, sharing an apartment with other travelers or residents, or it could be an entire apartment or home to yourself. Often, this means a kitchen can be included in the resources provided. You can choose which type of accommodation you prefer when you book. If you’d like to get a sense of the culture from the residents, shoot for a shared property. If privacy makes you feel safer, you can choose an option where the owners are not present.

To check out some London Airbnbs, click HERE.

Good neighborhoods to check out would be near Covent Garden, which boasts shops and concerts and the West End theatre district, Tower Bridge for proximity to historic sites, and Borough Market for a chance to be closer immersed to the local scene (and a yummy food market!)

COMPARISON: While hostels may be the cheaper option, Airbnbs offer more privacy and variety in amenities, including the option to cook or store food without risk of it being eaten by another hungry traveler. For someone seeking community, hostels are the premier choice. For my personal preferences, I prefer an Airbnb for the best of both worlds, including privacy, safety, and amenities, but both are safe and affordable options. Happy traveling!

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