Accommodation, where to stay, makes or breaks a good holiday or stay in a foreign place. Travelers who rush into picking a place to stay normally end up regretting because of not choosing carefully. As an international volunteer going abroad s/he should plan on where they will stay. On choosing on where to stay the volunteer should look into the meals, if they are shared or single rooms, price, services like laundry, WIFI connection, and excursions. International volunteers should look carefully at these factors when choosing a place to stay. The various types of accommodation available are homestays, hostels, hotels, group homes, the project location, couchsurfing, and home exchanges. Each of these options have their advantages and their disadvantages. These places offer:
These are the most comfortable but most expensive places to stay in. Hotels are great as they are a home away from home; the staff makes the volunteer as comfortable as possible. The services offered vary from hotel to hotel. Most hotels are ranked from 2 stars to 5 stars, 5 stars hotels are high end hotel and are very luxurious while 2 stars are not as fancy as 5 star ones. Many hotels have websites that show their rooms and the services they offer to help travelers have a glimpse of what to expect. Budget hotels and motels offer basic services as opposed to luxurious hotels. Hotels are a great option if the volunteers are going to stay for a short period of time, need privacy, new to a country and need a bit of pampering or reminded of home.
Hostels are a common option to backpackers, round the world travelers, gap years, international volunteers and students. Typical hostels are made of single, double, and dorm rooms. The dorm rooms have about 6 bunk beds; the beds normally have a heavy blanket with optional sheets. There is a communal shower, while those who choose private rooms have private showers. Some hostels provide laundry services, WIFI, free breakfast and some have a community kitchen. Most hostels are locked during the day so that they can be cleaned. In the evening some hostels offer social settings, with a bar which serves cheap drinks. The hostels are used to travelers and provide needs that suit travelers. Some hostels don’t have curfews but some do. They are a great place to meet other travelers and travel with them. Generally hostels are the cheapest form of accommodation travelers can get but they lack privacy as the travel may share the dorm room with 10 other international volunteers. Some hostels are gender specific and they are for girls only or boys only.
These are normally provided by the volunteer service companies. These are homes that are in the host country whereby all the volunteers will be staying. They are normally single and double rooms. They have a caretaker and chef who will help the volunteers for all their needs. Three meals are provided and they are served at a certain time. Volunteer group homes have someone who will do their laundry in some occasion they provide transportation to and fro the project location. Some homes provide orientation classes to help the volunteer to learn about the host country, the language and currency. The price of group homes vary with the volunteer service organization as the price is included with the volunteer program. They are safe, secure and are great for first time travelers.
These are made available by the volunteers themselves. The property could be house, apartment, flats and townhouses. With this option the volunteers looks for a place to stay and buys furniture for themselves. The apartments are a great option if the volunteer is going to stay for a long period of time. There are great deals out there where by a volunteer could commit themselves for two to three months to paying rent in that place. Renting rules and regulations depend on the landlord/lady and the city. These are good especially if the volunteers are in a group whereby they can save a lot of money by renting their own homes. Older volunteers, boomers, prefer this kind of setting whereby they are able to be comfortable and some could even buy a car.
Other options are available to international volunteers but are not too common. One way is through couch surfing. Couch surfing is whereby the volunteer stay in a person’s home and they buy food for a couple of days. There is a network of homes that offer couchsurfing opportunities. This is one of the cheapest ways of traveling as it’s free. There are rules that go with couchsurfing; the volunteer should know them. Another option is home exchanges whereby the volunteer goes to live in another person’s home while the owners are on holiday or are traveling. The volunteers’ take care of the house and forward mail to the owners.