They aren’t always necessary, and they don’t always save you money.
When I’m traveling alone, I don’t hesitate in booking a nice hostel. They are perfect for solo travelers looking to meet with other travelers or who just want to save a buck off the price of a hotel room. The issue however comes when traveling with more than just yourself.
Couples that want a bit of privacy will sometimes find that the price of a private room, or even two beds in a dorm, will pretty much equate the value of a cheap hotel room.
It is always worth checking around before booking.
In Istanbul, I was meeting up with Beth and Randy from Beersandbeans.com, which was crazy to say the least. Beth and I have been online buds for many years now, but to meet in Istanbul of ALL places?! Far out. Thankfully, we were all given an opportunity to spend a few nights in a local apartment courtesy of Roomorama, and I’m glad because it not only gave us an awesome place to call home, but it also provided a first-hand look at the type of places to be booked via the Roomorama site. As someone that is planning to possibly return to Istanbul in the spring with Patrick in tow, a private place for not much more than the cost of a double room in a local hostel is probably the way for us to go.
About Our Roomorama Apartment
I was excited about the apartment before I even got there. Beth sent me some emails with correspondence between her and the owner, and it was so cute to know that the goal of the owners themselves was to make extra money to travel the world.
When we arrived at the apartment, it was a breath of fresh air. The place was so white and clean in stark contrast from the old-style 19th century building it was placed within. The furniture was bright, and the blue accents gave it a Mediterranean feel. Even though it was only a one-bedroom pad, the living room had a nice pull-out bed where another two could possibly sleep (my bed for the stay).
At night, you could see the Galata Tower lit up in all its glory from the bedroom window. The cobblestone streets produced an almost peaceful sound as cars drove by.
The Benefits of Our Roomorama Apartment
I know that hostel owners and workers generally are helpful people. I’ve had hostel workers draw me maps of their favorite places around the city including those that could be frequented at a low price. But to be met by one of the owners at the apartment and then be given a personal walking tour around the neighborhood afterwards was priceless. He showed us first-hand where to eat, drink and get our laundry done. When we asked about getting to the other side of the bridge, he gave us very helpful instructions. (We may have gotten lucky with this place, so don’t expect that with your bookings.)
Besides the helpful owners, having an apartment just plain rocked. Being people who work from the road, we needed to have a place where we could sprawl out with all of our equipment, surf the internet and kick back from time to time. Doing that in a hostel… not easy.
It was a different way to learn about Istanbul. By the end of our stay, I was feeling quite close to our little neighborhood and our local grocery store. The goal of the stay with Roomorama was to live like a local, and I think we can say that goal was achieved.
Big thanks to Roomorama for the free stay! If you like the look and sound of the apartment we stayed in, you can inquire about a booking here. The cost came to about $100 a night, which I easily paid a third of that for a dank hostel room. Moral of the story: Roomorama is great for budget travelers not traveling alone.