Hotels, Couchsurfing, AirBnB in Norway: Which One?

AirBnB Couchsurfing Hotel

I must admit, I’m usually a hostel-goer. I love the idea of spending very little money, meeting new people, and trying accommodations that might be a little off the radar. However, on this last trip to Norway, Visit Oslo graciously put us up at the Hotell Bodeheimen. With the start of our trip covered, I thought it would be interesting to try a hotel, Couchsurfing, and AirBnB all in one trip to compare and contrast.

Here what I found staying at all of these options and what I would recommend for those heading to Norway.

Hotell Bondeheimen Oslo

Hotell Bondeheimen

As someone who personally loves hotel rooms (I always think of them as a mini-vacation), it was such a treat to get to stay at the Hotell Bondeheimen. Located right downtown, it was an easy walk to everything that we wanted to see and offered easy access to the metro if you wanted to see anything outside the city limits. We were given a room with two beds, a couch, TV, and other services.

While I love staying in a hotel, it can be hard to get a taste of a place when you can seclude yourself so easily. We had the Visit Oslo app to help us know where to go and what to visit, but it wasn’t the same as having access to someone who knew the area and who could tell us about what life was like in Norway.

Henning Daniel Moss

Couchsurfing

It was a bit extreme to head to someone’s couch after staying in a nice hotel, but we had the urge to get out of Oslo and to see some of the more rural areas of Norway. Jumping on a train, we headed to Moss where were could be crashing on Henning‘s couch.

Let’s just say, Henning was not the usual couchsurfing host. I’m honestly kind of afraid to try it again because I really don’t think I’ll have another host like him. Not only did he cook us dinner, introduce us to Norwegian television, and drive us around Moss, but he also took a day to show us around the nearby town of Fredrikstad. After staying with Henning (who has a very comfortable couch, by the way), I felt as though we had made a new friend.

He also was a huge superhero fan and had a life-size statue of Superman in his apartment. Score.

Alex Superman Moss

AirBnB Oslo Bad

AirBnB

After working within the travel industry for years and hearing about the benefits of AirBnB, it seemed pretty ignorant that I hadn’t tried it out. I booked a room back in Oslo a little bit out of the city center. The cost was about the same as one night at the Hotell Bondeheimen, but were were highly disappointed in the results. The room that we were staying in was not the room that was advertised on the website, and our host was very strict on when we could leave the apartment and when we should return. She was also very busy and did not interact with us at all.

On our final day, we ended up getting lost and didn’t make it back at the specified time. Our host had already left, so in order to keep the door locked and to leave the key behind, we ended up having to jump out of the window.

Overall? I was most surprised by couchsurfing and how kind Henning was. There was something about how he invited us to his home because he wanted to, rather than as a transaction, that AirBnB lacked.

What are your experiences with these services?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

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10 thoughts on “Hotels, Couchsurfing, AirBnB in Norway: Which One?

  1. I agree! I’ve Couchsurfed for years and love it! I’ve had so many great hosts and guests!!! I recently tried Airbnb on a trip in 2 different cities. It was ok, but the quality was the same or less than Couchsurfing at both places. At one Airbnb all my things had to be unpacked on the floor, because there was no table top of any kind (the dresser was being repaired, so not in the room). It seems like when you’re paying money, a simple amenity like a table top should be provided. At the other Airbnb I had no interaction with the host, except a quick introduction when I arrived. My standards are of course different for Couchsurfing, and I plan to be flexible, but at least then it’s clear from the profiles what I can expect and then select accordingly. So, I’ll stick to hotels in the future, if I want to pay money.

  2. Great post! I haven’t tried couch surfing myself, but I’ve tried Airbnb a few times. I have to say that each experience is very different. We’ve had some hosts who went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable, and we paid very little for a gorgeous en-suite room where we had full use of the kitchen and living room etc. Then we had quite an uncomfortable experience where we basically felt like we were in the way the whole time (and got accused of breaking the can opener!). Each host has their own way of doing things, and I do respect that because at the end of the day you are staying in someone’s home. That said, if a host chooses to rent out a room they should be prepared to accommodate the needs of a paying guest!
    Great blog, looking forward to more 🙂

    1. Thanks, Abbi! I think you’re right. It definitely it depends on the person. I guess I’m to the point that if I’m going to spend as much money as I would a hotel, I would rather opt for that. Thanks for your comment and stopping by!

  3. I’ve never tried couchsurfing but I love AirBnB! Granted, we usually look for listings of complete apartments or houses, so interaction with the hosts is usually limited to checking in, sometimes even to just emailing/ messaging back and forth, maybe a phone call, but – knock on wood – we haven’t had a bad experience yet and we definitely prefer AirBnB to hotels these days.

    1. Good to know! I know some people have had a great experience with it and I think that’s awesome that you had a good time. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  4. If airbnb host behaves like this it means that this guy is just not serious and he doesn’t understand what he takes money for. When I go to the hotel I don’t pay just for the place to sleep, I also pay for the kind service which will help me in case of a problem. Within reason of course. So if I rent an airbnb flat I don’t pay for an honour of staying in somebody’s house but for a SERVICE. So in my opinion it’s absolutely unacceptable to force your guest to go out/come back at particular hour, because it’s him who pays for the service and it’s the host who should match up. So sorry that you have to experienced this 😦 Don’t have doubts to give him an opinion he diserved for!

    1. Thanks so much! I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in thinking of Airbnb as a service rather than as a privilege. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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