Listen up guys: I love hostels, couch-surfing, house-sitting and all the other budget sleep accommodations out there. I’ve even slept in a few airports in my day. As I get older and demand slightly more of my accommodation than just a twin bed to sleep in, my favorite way of saving money is to stay in apartment rentals.
There is something so cool about having your own apartment in the midst of a foreign city. We have rented apartments in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Rome and now Chicago and it has always given us a unique insight into living in the city- along with providing all sorts of comforts you just can’t get in a hostel or even a hotel.
This cost breakdown assumes that you are either a couple or traveling with a friend (the value of apartment rentals goes up with the more people in the apartment). If you are a solo traveler who is simply looking for the cheapest place to shut your eyes, skip this assessment.
So let’s say that, like us, you are visiting Chicago for a week in June. When I did my search I chose the dates of June 22-29. Here’s what I found:
The top rated hostel on Hostelworld (that has private rooms) is the Chicago Getaway Hostel. The Deluxe Twin room (the only room that offers a double bed) has a half bath, with showers down the hall. It costs $54.50 per person, per night during the week, but $70 per person on Saturday and Sunday. If you are staying for a week, that makes the total cost $825
When it came to searching for hotels I only looked for ones in the vicinity of central Chicago. Sure you could stay at a Travelers Inn by the airport for cheap, but that’s not really the kind of travel experience we are talking about. If you want to stay Downtown it’s slim pickings at under $400 a night, but I did find a bargain on Priceline for the Congress Plaza Hotel at $175 a night for a Queen Room. For seven nights the total cost would be $1225.
Finally there is the apartment rental. Searching on Flipkey, I can find a whole slew of apartments in various price ranges for those dates. The cheapest is a room rental in Lakeview that is going for $500 a week! I like to have my own place though, so instead I focused on this one: “Stunning 1bd/1ba downtown. Walk to everything!” The apartment features free wifi, a full kitchen and access to an indoor pool. It costs $105 a night or $735 total for the week.
Even I was amazed to find one cheaper than the hostel. The apartment we actually settled on was this one: 2bd apt in Wicker Park (we had a friend staying with us a couple days which offset the extra cost). It may not be cheaper than the cheapest hotel, but it’s much more comfortable for a long stay. We will also save money in some indirect ways:
Other Ways Apartment Rentals Save You Money
An apartment rental isn’t just a bed: it’s an entire apartment, which means you have access to a variety of amenities you wouldn’t in a hostel or hotel. For starters: almost universally free wifi.
A real kitchen means that it is so much easier (and more fun in my opinion) to cook your own meals instead of constantly eating out. You can keep staples like yogurt, cereal and milk in the fridge for easy breakfasts and make your own coffee.
Many apartments also have laundry facilities where you can wash your smelly clothes for free.
This post was written by me, brought to you by FlipKey