It’s really easy when traveling to get sucked into tourist traps and jump on the first accommodation that presents itself, but if you take the time to do some research, your efforts will pay off big time!
So what should you be looking for?
What are your main goals for your trip? Are you close-by your top 5 things you want to do? Is there any nightlife nearby? If not, why?
Be sure to check if there are posted quiet hours, any bars nearby, rooster farms next door, or brothels on the other side of the wall.
Leaving all of your “stuff” to a stranger, in a strange place can make you go crazy. Check with the staff to see if they allow non-guests into your building. Do they lock the doors at night? Any security guards on staff? It is always refreshing when you are traveling in Africa and your security guard is armed with a 22 gauge shotgun.
When you checked in, did you get the cold shoulder? The accommodation staff can be your best friend or worst enemy. When asking about the hostel, be sure to gauge the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. After all, you might need to rely on these people over the next few days until you get settled.
Do some price shopping. Give yourself a day to adjust to the exchange rates and learn what local prices are. Ask other tourists what they are paying and where they are staying. A tourist who has been there for a few days, has already been through the process and can help you learn the local tricks and tips in a quick 5 minute conversation.
What is the scene like? Are the people who are staying with you somewhat similar? Will you get along with them when they are urinating in your shoes at 3 AM?
Are you sharing a room? Are you sharing a bathroom? Things can get interesting when you get stuck in a room with a sleepwalker, snorer, and a sex crazed couple.
A Pool, free Wi-Fi, banana pancakes delivered to your room every morning, and cheap hostel bars are some of the most glorious things our world has to offer. Be sure to check out if any additional perks are available to you when staying at the hostel.