Comfort, Convenience, and Cost

I have a rule about trip planning–I can’t officially start ‘planning’–that is, making spread sheets and tables and charts and notes on things to do and how to get there–until I know that I have somewhere to stay.  Which brings me to the new decision I have to make about my solo trip…I shall call this decision comfort vs. convenience vs. cost.

I cannot have all of these things.  I can have some of these things–I’d say, at most, two.  I can find a well located place to stay that is reasonably priced–in a dorm (so comfort goes away).  I can find a nice place that is somewhat reasonably priced–several metro stops away from anywhere I want to be (bye bye convenience).  And I certainly can find many places that are both nice and close to the action–I just can’t (and won’t) pay over $200 a night, because that is just stupid.

My choices have been narrowed down to THREE:

1.  The distant but very nice, very safe, caters-to-business-men-and-cruise-patrons hotel that has fantastic views of the beach, a rooftop infinity pool, and giant clean rooms with marble baths and wifi (and that offers great rates on Expedia).  This is my husband’s #1 pick because of the safety aspect.  I don’t know if he’s considering the long-ish metro trip to anywhere–in a non-English speaking country–but whatever.

2.  A middle of the road hotel that is ideally located a walkable distance from most ‘sights’–and close to public transport for farther trips.

3.  A bed in a hostel that is well located, clean, and CHEAP–half the price of the two above.

After writing that, it seems #1 should be off the list.  I appreciate that my husband is trying to look out for my safety, but when I point out the possibility of me being lost on a metro–that could very well result in wandering around scary places–he’ll see my point.

So the decision is single room for more money or hostel for half the amount.  If the decision were only about money, there’d be no contest–I’d just pay more and have my own room (and my own BATHROOM, which, let’s be honest here, is the issue with a dorm!) But I also have to take into account the fact that I’ll be traveling alone.  And this could very well be an incorrect assumption, but it seems easier to meet people staying in a dorm–with communal everything, including a kitchen (and, oddly, at this hostel, a pool and a gym…?)–than it would be in a hotel.  In my head, I see me going back to my nice, private room in the more expensive place every night having not talked to a soul (other than some random questions in broken Spanish); in comparison, I see myself making friends in the common room at the hostel, going out to tapas bars with said friends, and adding them on facebook when I come home (though I’ll likely never see or hear from them again).  It is this mental picture that makes me think that the hostel is the better bet.  However–I very well could be very wrong.  And beyond that–I know me.  Please see my post, Shared Housing Sucks, from last summer’s stay at Breadloaf–and that was a room shared with one other person in a very nice house (though, to be fair, there were only two bathrooms for ten women, which is not even near enough!)

What to do?  I do not know.  But I’ll take suggestions.

In related news: The Tracy Extension trip must be shortened.  I fully realize I’d like to have some time in my own house this summer, so here’s the new plan–I shall ‘practice’ traveling alone in ONE place–and then come home.  If I end up on a solo trip next summer, then I can go crazy planning a route.  But this is supposed to be practice–not an epic journey.

I’ve decided on Barcelona because, well, I’m just as excited about it as I am about London and Paris.  I even bought a Lonely Planet Barcelona city guide, travel book number seven or eight, after Iceland, Florence, Paris, London, Great Britain…among others.  But it is sitting there, barely opened, because I first need to book a room and an Easyjet flight.  Then I can finally start planning this leg of the trip–and finish planning London and Paris.  My poor Paris ‘Table of Sightseeing Fun’ is only partially finished.  Thank goodness we don’t leave for over three months!

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2 responses to “Comfort, Convenience, and Cost

  1. I would vote hostel all the way. I always stay in hostels when I go on trips, mostly because they are cheap and usually well-located, but also because I can find people to talk to if I want to, and if I don’t I can just put in my headphones and ignore them.

    I almost always travel alone (I love it), and on longer vacations it’s nice to have someone to talk to at the end of the day…

    • Yeah, I feel like that’s what I’m leaning towards. Though of course, my mind ALWAYS changes. I kind of just want to book something so I can stop thinking about it–thoughts like ‘well if I do the hostel thing, I can afford to stay longer or go somewhere else’ need to be stopped!

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