So you and your friends or family are planning to go on a holiday! You might have encountered this dilemma before, regardless of whether it is a domestic or overseas trip: is it better to book a hotel or a homestay?
There are several things to consider, which could sometimes lead to arguments with your friends or loved ones. To facilitate healthy discussion, here are six things you should keep in mind as you make your decision.
1. How big is your group?
Your party could consist of just you and your partner, immediate family members (perhaps four to five of you in total), or an entourage of 20-plus people.
For a couple, a hotel would work as you could shop around for affordable rates of anywhere from RM50 to RM200 per room, depending on the star rating.
Furthermore, hotels provide most of the basic facilities you might need such as toiletries, an iron, coffee maker and the like.
If your group consists of three or more people, renting a homestay might be better as most options have multiple rooms, which could equate to the cost per person being cheaper than going to a hotel.
Homestays are also more well equipped with amenities such as a kitchen, a larger living room and dining space for socialising, and perhaps even a barbecue pit.
2. What are your expectations?
If you are travelling for business, hotels provide easy access to food and drinks, public transport or e-hailing services, and workspaces with reliable online connectivity.
Most hotels are also located in cities, which would make getting around for work more convenient.
On the other hand, if you’re travelling for leisure, a homestay could provide more of a sense of a getaway, offering a pleasant change of scenery that could, perhaps, be in natural surroundings, a quiet village, or by the sea.
Homestays also allow you to cook or might even have meals provided, which would in turn save you money compared with dining out.
3. What is your budget?
Hotel rooms in Malaysia could cost as little as RM50 or as expensive as RM750 (or more!) a night.
A homestay, meanwhile, might set you back anywhere between RM90 and RM1,000 per night, which is justifiable as you get a much bigger space.
If you have a tight budget, cheaper hotels with basic amenities would be your best bet, but if you’re happy to spend more, homestays are a good idea, especially if you’re looking for a more relaxed, immersive experience.
4. How do you plan to move around?
As mentioned above, hotels are usually in prime urban locations. Homestays, on the other hand, are usually out in nature or in residential areas.
If you plan to do a lot of walking or use public transport, hotels are a good option as most attractions or transport services would be easily accessible.
However, if you plan to drive, bear in mind that some hotels may charge for parking – assuming they have parking spaces to begin with. This is a problem you’ll avoid with most homestays.
5. How often will you be ‘at home’?
Some people leave their accommodation all day for work or pleasure. Others prefer to sit around and enjoy the facilities – such as spas or gyms in higher-end hotels – or the peace and quiet of a comfortable room.
If you’re thinking of dumping your luggage and heading out all day only to return to a clean room and nicely made bed, then a hotel is the clear choice.
But if you’re planning on being more of a homebody, staying indoors and socialising most of the time, a homestay would be more ideal.
6. What are the needs of your travel group?
Most hotels are equipped to assist the elderly or disabled by providing amenities such as wheelchairs or ramps. With a homestay, there is no guarantee of this.
You could even put in a request to the hotel management for a room that’s closer to the lifts so older members of your party don’t have to walk too far.
Generally, hotel staff are more trained than homestay owners to cater to those who might be in need of a little extra help.