When I first came to Europe, I asked others for recommendations on the best traveling accommodations. The answer was unanimous: hostels. A hostel is an establishment that offers cheap lodging — depending on how much you pay, you usually are just renting a bed and sharing a public bathroom and kitchen. Hostels are cheap, which is why they’re the popular choice.
We stayed in a hostel during Florence and Brussels and each night varied from 13 euros to 30 euros per person. For those two trips in particular, a hostel was convenient because we only stayed for two nights in each city, and only needed a bed to lay our heads at night. We wanted to spend majority of our day out sightseeing, so we weren’t looking for a romantic jacuzzi or mints on our pillows. Since we traveled in larger groups, we lucked out with our own private room (so no creepy creeps digging through our suitcases at night) and in Brussels, they even served free breakfast! Disclaimer: depending on the arrangement, you might end up in a room with a dozen bunk beds filled with strangers, no lockers to hold your luggage, or no free wifi and sheets.
This is a great site to find a hostel organized by preferences: price, privacy, popularity, etc.
For Paris and London, we were staying for a longer period of time. We didn’t think eating out for each meal was the smartest decision so we wanted more amenities without emptying our wallets. (#CollegeStudentProblems) A friend had suggested looking into renting apartments, (which is apparently very popular in Europe). An apartment meant privacy, a clean bathroom, AND a kitchen to cook/eat in to save some pennies. (:
This past trip to Paris was my first time renting an apartment and it ended up being the most wonderful experience. We found the apartment through this site, (but we also liked this), and between the three of us for four nights, our grand total was ~300 euros. AKA ~25 euros a night per person for a WHOLE apartment. The landlord was also super welcoming making our travels much more comfortable — he filled our apartment with coffee, tea, extra towels and sheets, as well as gave us thorough directions to/from apartment to airport, and even recommended his favorite scenes in Paris.
We stayed in the second district and our apartment was only a twenty minute walk from the Lourve, and a one-minute walk to the nearest metro stop.
Final verdict? Apartment > Hostel
Here a few photos from the apartment we stayed at in Paris:
If you’re planning a trip to Paris and overwhelmed by all the different districts, I found this website to be a really helpful resource. It breaks down each district, going over its charms, best tourist spots, shopping, food, etc.