Your choice of lodging sets the tone for your whole vacation. But before you pick a place to stay, it helps to know what’s available. This comprehensive list of the different types of accommodations will help you decide where to plan your perfect escape. Read on to learn:
- The different types of tourist accommodations
- What to expect from the different types of lodging facilities
- Who is best suited to each type of lodging option
- How much to budget, relatively speaking
And don’t be surprised if there are several lodging options in this list you haven’t even considered. 😉
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CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn about the different types of accommodations you might consider when you’re planning your perfect getaway.
- Rental Property
- Floating Accommodations
- Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Accommodations
Your first thought when deciding where to stay on vacation may be to book a hotel room at a mid-range hotel. At least, that’s the most popular choice when it comes to choosing from the different types of accommodations.
But have you stopped to consider what kind of hotel would be a good fit?
Not only will you want to keep in mind the budget, but perhaps also the size and even the brand-name of the hotel, if you collect points.
This time, perhaps a different kind of hotel is in order.
You’ll be interested to know there are a variety of industry ratings and service levels when it comes to hotels.
Here are some types of hotels to consider.
AAA Rated Hotel
Affordability of an AAA Rated Hotel: $$-$$$
An AAA rated hotel has to excel in multiple areas such as cleanliness, hospitality, and comfort. They must meet ‘rigorous’ standards and are rated as either
- “Approved” (Noteworthy)
- “Three Diamond” (Comprehensive)
- “Four Diamond”(Upscale)
- or “Five Diamond” (Luxury).
Affordability of a Budget Hotel: $
A budget hotel (also called economy) is exactly what it sounds like. It focuses on the basic, affordable comforts that budget-minded travelers may look for.
It’s a place to rest your head without all the frills and thrills.
In a pinch, you can almost always find a budget hotel among the different types of accommodations in any region.
Extended Stay Hotel
Affordability of and Extended Stay Hotel: $$
Extended Stay Hotels are enlisted for stays that typically last longer than a week, maybe even a month or more.
This type of accommodation can also be called a “serviced apartment” because all utilities are typically included in the overall cost.
Of the different types of hotel accommodations, this is an affordable, longer-term rental. Extended stay hotels are especially suited for:
- long-term business trips
- travelers on an extended stay
- those in the process of a move or relocation.
Forbes 5-Star Hotel
Affordability of a Forbes 5-Star Hotel: $$$
A Forbes rated 5-Star hotel is the epitome of luxury. The rooms, food, and dining, as well as staff and service must meet exceptional standards based on Forbes’ 900 (yes, 900) objective standards.
5-Star Hotels are perfect for someone accustomed to outstanding service, as well as those who would simply like a taste of what it’s like to have every need anticipated.
If you’ve never stayed in a 5-Star Hotel, you must try it at least once in your life. But be forewarned, it will be hard to settle for anything less once you’ve experienced this level of hospitality.
Related: Experience 5-Star Luxury at Mandarin Oriental, Boston [Hotel Review]
Affordability of a Hostel: $
Hostels are shared accommodations that work for anyone traveling on a budget. They often offer shared dorm-style rooms with between two and twenty beds. The rooms may be separated by gender or age, or they may be co-ed.
Hostels also offer a social aspect that many hotels and other accommodations lack. It’s an opportunity to connect with other travelers, share tips and stories, and potentially make new friends to visit.
No two hostels are alike, which adds a unique and fun feel to any trip.
Hostels are also called “Youth Hostels,” since it’s one of the popular types of accommodations for students. But don’t be fooled by the name. Travelers of all ages are welcome to stay at hostels around the world.
Affordability of a Motel: $
Motels are typically a one to two level complex with basic rooms and minimal amenities. They are especially convenient for those on the road who need a place to stay during a long road trip, business trip, or even a family vacation.
You’ll find motels can make an affordable home base, especially if you plan to spend much of your day at the beach or out exploring anyway. It’s a great, no-frills option for anyone on a budget who still wants to get away on vacation.
Affordability of an Overwater Bungalow: $$$-$$$$
An Overwater Bungalow is a structure that stands above shallow water, close to the shore, often seen in tropical resorts. Perhaps the most famous overwater bungalows are in The Maldives and Bora Bora, poised above pristine aqua seas.
It may seem like a simple accommodation when you book Maldives packages, but these bungalows are often quite luxurious.
Some even have glass floors so you can see the rays or ocean life as you lounge in your cozy little bungalow. And, you’re just steps from the beach and palm trees, too.
Relais & Chateaux Rated Hotel
Affordability of a Relais & Chateaux Rated Hotel: $$$-$$$$
Relais & Chateaux rated hotels are typically independently owned hotels that focus on unique, cultured, and charming experiences.
These hotels offer a more authentic, personal feel to your stay that other accommodations may not offer.
Affordability of a 7-Star Hotel: $$$$
Sometimes, 5-stars just don’t do a hotel justice. Although there is no official 7-Star hotel rating, expect those hotels known as 7-Star to be “over the top,” lavish, and elite.
7-star hotels are certainly not for the budget traveller, so expect an extravagant price tag to go with this luxury experience. But hey, you’re worth it, right?
Bed & Breakfast
Affordability of a Bed & Breakfast: $$
A bed and breakfast is a different type of hotel in that it’s typically a quaint, family owned accommodation with a cozy and personal atmosphere. It can feel a little like a home away from home.
While you’ll enjoy a private bedroom and most likely an en suite bathroom, the shared areas of the home may include dining and the living area.
You can expect a breakfast buffet or breakfast made to order, as the name implies. It’s a great way to start any day of your vacation.
So, If you enjoy a low key vacation with home cooked breakfasts and personalized service, then a Bed & Breakfast might be for you. It’s certainly one of the friendliest of the different types of accommodations–which is why it’s one of our favorite choices.
Related: Discover 5 Elegant Bed & Breakfasts in Cape Cod [Get Recommendations]
Affordability of a Ryokan: $$$
A traditional Japanese inn is called a ryokan. They have a long history dating back to the 8th Century AD, and typically feature tatami mats and futon bedding, and sometimes, communal baths.
Often, the innkeeper (“okami“) is the owner or wife of the owner of the ryokan. As such, he or she will attend to any business matters for the guest, and coordination with the local community.
Ryokan tend to be more expensive than modern hotels, so they can be harder to find in the cities. You’re more likely to book a ryokan in smaller cities and towns and scenic rural areas. If you do, you will experience what many think is quintessential Japanese hospitality experience.
Rental properties generally cater to fewer people at once than hotels or beds and breakfasts. In fact, you may even have a whole place to yourself. Whether that extends to a room within a home or the whole home itself depends on what kind of rental property you enlist.
Affordability of an Airbnb: $-$$$
An Airbnb is a modern and unique type of accommodation. Provided through an online marketplace, people across the globe can rent out their homes or rooms to guests.
You’ll find everything from cozy cottages and family homes to luxurious flats and townhouses. There’s a type of accommodation for every type of traveller.
If you’re curious, have a look at this report. It compares the cost savings between staying at an Airbnb vs. staying in a hotel in every US city.
Agriturismo / Farm Stay
Affordability of an Agriturismo/Farm Stay: $-$$
Of the different accommodation types, a farm stay (called an Agriturismo in Italy)is a unique experience that can be quite peaceful and enriching.
Available to adult-only groups and families alike, this type of accommodation offers you the option to help out with animals and daily farm duties while you stay over. In this immersive experience, you will become grounded in nature and learn about a different lifestyle.
And don’t forget how fresh the food is! Often, organic, wholesome, farm-to-table food is served at farm stays.
You’ll find farm stays offered all around the world, so you are spoilt for choice.
Apartment or Flat
Affordability of an Apartment or Flat: $$-$$$
Apartments and flats are great for singles, couples, and families alike. They are a great option for those who don’t need or want too much space to take care of, and are typically less expensive than a house.
Your apartment or flat might be basic with only the essential amenities, or it can be a luxurious penthouse with sweeping city views.
Either way, an apartment is one of the various types of accommodation in tourism that is often overlooked. It’s well worth the convenience and the cost-savings, so have a look into this option if you’ll be staying for a bit.
Affordability of a Cottage: $$
If you’re looking for something cozy and quaint, perhaps set in a more rural area or even on the water’s edge, then perhaps a cottage is right for you.
Cottages are a more private option of the different types of accommodations. They can be quite charming, too.
Depending on the number of bedrooms, a cottage is a good fit for a solo traveler, couple, or even a small family.
Most cottages have basic comforts and include a full kitchen, bedroom(s), and of course a cozy fireplace!
Related: Find out about an off-season waterfront weekend in a cozy cottage (East Sandwich, Massachusetts).
Affordability of a Nature House: $$
If you love nature and have always dreamed of sleeping in a place nestled in the woods or even within an enchanting treehouse, perhaps a nature house accommodation is right for you.
Nature house cottages are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Some bookings help support local environmental projects, too.
Affordability of a Rental Home: $$
Rental homes are often owned by a landlord or realtor who rents the house out to tenants.
This can be a perfect fit for a big family getaways. It’s also a great choice for long-stay vacations, such as in the case of winter snowbirds.
A rental home can be cheaper than other lodging options, and can be especially helpful if you haven’t quite decided where you’d like to settle more permanently.
Time Share Condo
Affordability of a Time Share Condo: $$-$$$
A time share means a property shares ownership or use rights. When you own a time share, which is typically a resort condominium unit (“condo”), you’ll have a certain time period amount of time to use the property. You also have the option to swap your allocated time and space with another time share owner in a different location.
Tip: Few travelers know that when the time share exchanges are vacant, a timeshare exchange company will rent it to you at a big discount. You can find out more about condo vacation deals here.
For those who love the great outdoors or simply wish to be close to nature, camping is a great option. But don’t worry–you may not have to “rough it.”
In addition to tent camping, you’ll find a range of camping options from high-end “glamping” (glamorous camping) experiences to mobile homes. Consider these options if you love being outside.
Related: Before you go camping, make sure you know these essential tips for camping (includes supplies list).
Affordability of a Cabin: $$
If tents or RV’s aren’t exactly for you, you’ll be delighted to know that many campgrounds also rent cabins.
Some cabins might be more rudimentary, uninsulated wooden structures without running water. (Still better than sleeping on the ground, in my opinion.)
Other cabins have kitchenettes, several bedrooms, bathrooms, and more amenities.
What this means is you can enjoy your time in the great outdoors, but with a touch of home! Of the different types of accommodations, a log cabin is the kind that offers the most charm.
Cabins are great for couples or small families who need that extra bit of comfort and structure as they adventure through nature.
Camper, RV, Motorhome
Affordability of a Camper, RV, or Motorhome: $$-$$$$
There are plenty of different styles of campers, RVs and motorhomes that are a perfect option for people who don’t want to sacrifice their comfort while camping.
You’ll find the gambit ranges from basic, cozy, one room campers to full, luxurious RVs with showers, flat screen TVs, bedrooms, and full kitchenettes. This means there are viable options for families on any budget.
Affordability of Glamping: $$-$$$
Since not everyone is made for the great outdoors, Glamping can be the perfect option for getting out in nature, but with a touch of glam. It takes “shabby-chic” to a whole new level!
From cozy furnished tents with boho decor to luxurious mini-cabins, Glamping puts a modern twist on traditional camping.
While it is a fairly new concept, you’ll find glamping resorts are popping up across the globe.
Affordability of Tent Camping: $
If you really want to escape the chaos of everyday life and get close to nature, tent camping is a perfect option for your next trip.
Tents come in every shape and size, from one person to twenty person tents.
Tent camping is a great option for any type of traveler, because it’s quick and easy and can lead to many great memories. And, it might top the list when it comes to types of reasonable accommodation, affordability-wise.
Related: Find important tent camping tips here.
Van Life (Caravan, VW bus, Schoolie)
Affordability of Van Life: $-$$
Recently made more popular among young and adventurous travelers and pilfer couples alike, converted vans are a great and compact way to travel–or live!
These vehicles can be taken virtually anywhere and often have minimal amenities such as a kitchenette (sometimes) and bed. Occasionally, as in converted Volkswagen busses and School busses (“schoolies”), they even have some form of a bathroom and shower arrangement.
Vans and caravans are a new, popular way to travel, and one of the best types of accommodation for students and free spirits alike. In fact, it’s really more of a lifestyle!
Affordability of a Yurt: $-$$
A yurt is a round, portable tent which was originally used by nomadic people in Central Asia.
Nowadays, yurts are set up on wooden platforms and have all of the modern amenities that you would want in a home or accommodation.
Yurts are very commonly seen in glamping resorts, but some even choose to live in them full time!
The idea of staying at a resort can sound a little high-brow, but it can actually be very cost-effective, especially when the resort includes meals or other attractions.
Plus, you may not need to go off the resort because everything is on campus.
All Inclusive Resort
Affordability of an All-Inclusive Resort: $$$-$$$$
All-Inclusive Resorts are a great choice if you want to know exactly what you are spending, with little to no hidden expenses. They often include the cost of the room, any snacks or meals, alcoholic and/or non alcoholic beverages, and sometimes more!
All inclusive resorts are great for any type of traveller looking to have fun without having to stress about finding an ATM or checking their bank account during their stay. It’s…all-inclusive. So when it comes to the different types of lodging, I have to admit, this is a great option.
Affordability of a Couples Resort: $$-$$$
Looking for a romantic escape away from the pitter patter of little feet? Good news, you’ll find the couples resort is an excellent option. They top the list for honeymoons or romantic getaways for couples and are typically 18+ or 21+.
Couples resorts are the perfect opportunity for couples to get away, spend some quality time together, and maybe even spice things up when you ask for the romance package.
Affordability of a Family Resort: $$-$$$
Family Resorts truly have something for everyone and offer the opportunity to make timeless memories with your family.
Children of all ages can enjoy learning about a new culture or participate in fun and enriching activities while parents lounge and relax away from the stresses of everyday life.
These resorts can also be all-inclusive, further removing the stress about what to eat, drink and do each day. Because, let’s face it: planning a family vacation can be stressful! Good news…A family resort makes it a whole lot easier!
If you’re the adventurous type of just love the water, have you considered actually staying on the water?
That’s what you can do with these floating accommodations.
Some, like a cruise ship, may be a familiar option. But there are other floating accommodations to look at when you are considering the types of lodging facilities for your perfect vacation.
Have a look.
Affordability of a Cruise Ship: $$-$$$$
Essentially a holiday resort on the water, a cruise ship vacation is a popular choice for all types of travelers: family, solo, couples, you name it! You’ll find countless different cruise lines and destinations to choose from, and many different packages available.
Many cruise lines offer various types of rooms, including:
- Inside cabins (no windows)
- Outside room (windows)
- Balcony rooms and suites
Also, depending on the line and budget, you can expect there will be plenty of things to do between the ports of call.
On board, many cruise lines feature:
- Live performances
- Buffets and sometimes several restaurants and bars
A floating hotel is exactly how it sounds: It is a hotel built over a raft-like structure that floats upon the water.
While they are not mobile like a cruise ship, it is a unique experience to stay in a hotel on the water!
Affordability of a Houseboat: $$-$$$
A houseboat is a small house structure on top of a raft.
Houseboats can be motorized for moving around or if not, they can be anchored or tied to a dock or marina.
You might even rent a houseboat that has a kitchen/kitchenette, bedrooms, living areas, and bathrooms aboard.
We think this is among the most adventurous types of accommodations in tourism. In fact, we can’t wait to try it.
Final Thoughts on The Different Types of Accommodations
As you can see, there are as many different types of accommodations as there are different kinds of travelers.
Now that you know all about them, you are better equipped to select the kind best suited to you and begin searching for the right place to stay while you vacation. You can safely say you are one step closer to planning your perfect escape!
Which one or more of these different kinds of accommodations will suit you best? Are there any types of lodging you hadn’t considered before reading this? Do you have a favorite type of place to stay? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Photo credits: Overwater bungalow (Maldives) by Fonthip Ward, Cabin interior by 1778011, Luxury Hotel by Engin Akyurt, Breakfast buffet by Franck Rocheteau, Tourist apartments by Free-Photos; Houseboat in Kerala India by Ravi Shahi; (all images courtesy of Pixabay)
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