cabin in Mar Azul, Argentina

How to Decide Where to Stay

October 22, 2013 | , ,

I’ve written before about how to decide where to go, which can be a challenge when you could go virtually anywhere!

People also often ask me about the next step in the process: how do you decide where to stay?

In a lifetime of travel, I’ve probably stayed in nearly every type of accommodations possible, from five-star hotels to an air mattress in a friend’s living room to a tent in a national park.

This question has been on my mind once again because I just booked a place in Kuala Lumpur for six nights next week via and we are still trying to figure out where we want to stay in Indonesia (both Jakarta and Bali).

There are a lot of factors that go into making this decision, including how long we’re staying, why we’re visiting, and what we’ll be doing while we’re there.

Here are some questions to help you narrow your search for accommodations in a particular destination.

  1. How long will you be staying?
  2. Do you know anyone in the area?
  3. What is the main purpose of your visit?
  4. Is there anything particular you want to see or do while you’re there?
  5. What form(s) of transportation will you use to get around?
  6. What amenities are important to you? Which ones are must-haves vs. nice-to-haves?
  7. What is your daily budget for accommodations and food?
  8. Do you prefer to be independent or have more support and infrastructure?
  9. What kind of environment are you looking for?
  10. Have you received any personal recommendations?
  11. Are you partial to any particular brand or part of any loyalty programs that will earn you free nights?

Based on your answers to these questions, you might decide to stay with family or friends or find accommodations near them; rent an apartment where you can have more space and cook your own meals; book a fancy hotel with concierge, room service, and all the amenities; reserve a basic hotel or hostel with Wi-Fi; choose a hotel that offers free transportation to/from the airport; find a place where you can do home exchange or house-sit… The options are endless!

Here are some of my favorite sites for booking accommodations around the world. (The links below with an * are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small commission if you sign up/purchase through that link—at no extra cost to you, of course. Thanks for supporting Nomadtopia!)

Hotel and Hostel Booking Sites*


Also look for regional options, such as Asia Rooms in Asia.

Short-Term (Furnished) Rentals

Airbnb (get credits for traveling and/or hosting with this link*)




Also look for regional options, such as Solo Dueños in South America.

Home Exchange and House-Sitting

(All of our home exchange and house-sitting has been through word of mouth so far, but in 2016 we signed up for Trusted Housesitters to try to find more options; so far, none have been a good fit!)*

Caretaker Gazette

Mind My House


Couchsurfing can be a great way to connect with locals, and you don’t even need to stay on the couch if you don’t want to. Many hosts have a guest room (or even a whole guest house!) available, so read the descriptions and find the type of surfing situation that would work best for you.


How do you decide where to stay? Do you tend to seek out particular types of accommodations no matter where you go?

This post was part of a blog challenge I did in October 2013 where I published a post every single day for a month.

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