These articles were created by the students participating in the UMD Study in England Programme for the 2013-2014 school year. The program is over, but the experience will never fade. If you have any questions or want to get in touch, send an email to the UMD International Education Office!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Hostels, Hotels, and HomeAway: Where to Stay When Traveling Abroad

During your nine months in England you will probably be off on your own adventures, and no matter where your travels take you will need a place to stay. Here is our breakdown of some your options:

Hostels are a solid option if you are looking for something super cheap. You may have to share a room with a lot of other travelers, but they are generally pretty safe and clean. If you are traveling with a group many have private rooms to rent. They are easily accessible, will help you get where you are going, and many have options for activities around their particular town. Keep in mind during the weekend it can get a bit rowdy. A good site for these is hostels.com, or hihostels.com to find hostels affiliated with Hostelling International, a reputable intentional hosteling organization.

Hotels are nice because they are clean, private, and comfortable. However, they can end up being pretty spendy (especially in bigger cities). When you book a room, do not lie about the number of people staying, they take this very seriously. Still, if you can afford it, staying in a hotel can make you feel like you are on a real vacation. You can find hotels on sites such as expedia.com or hotels.com.

Our third and final option is HomeAway. Using this option, you rent someone's property for a short period of time. Unlike couchsurfing, where you stay with the owner, you have the flat to yourself. There are a variety of options for this in terms of how many people, where you are trying to stay, what sort of place you want, and the season. We were able to stay affordably in several different countries for various amounts of time in nice places, by paying close attention to the neighborhoods and reviews that accompanied the posting. HomeAway usually works best for multiple people planning to stay for longer trips (many require a minimum of a three to four night stay).

There are other options for accommodations whilst traveling, such as couchsurfing.com, where you stay at someone's house with them, and airbnb.com, to find bed and breakfasts.
In order to maximize the amount you save, we would also suggest using skyscanner.net for plane tickets. It is amazing the deals you can find out there with this site!

Safe travels,

Jill, Jasmine, and Miranda

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