Why hostel? Well, as times move on, so does the accommodation world. These days, hostels often offer a much better experience than hotels. They're cheaper, too.
Sure, that's a big claim, you might say, but hear us out!
Over the years, hostels have gotten a bad rep. Many people who have never stayed at a hostel before believe them to be dilapidated, dirty places overrun by teenage beatniks. Ouch.
Find out how to find good hostels during your travels + what makes a great hostel.
In reality, there are a wide variety of hostels to accommodate all kinds of people, and hostels have blown hotels right out of the water as popularity has grown. Hostels are a traveler haven; social, fun and an affordable alternative to hotels.
So what about hostels is it that makes them so special? Let's find out.
Here we share with you 8 reasons to choose a hostel
If you’re wondering why you should stay in a hostel and not a hotel while travelling, look no further. This is your answer to hostels vs hotels.
Sure, there are pros and cons of hostel life. Yet, we use this space to focus on the many advantages of hostels.
Why Hostel Life is Better than Hotel Life
Note: these reasons are generalized and not hostel-type specific.
1. Hostels are Inexpensive
If you’re travelling alone or with a couple of other people, why stay in a hotel when you can stay at a hostel for a mere fraction of the cost?
To be clear, the fact that hostels are less expensive than hotels in the area does not mean that it’s cheap or sketchy. The hostel saves money by putting several people in a shared dorm rooms, and passes the savings onto you.
Hostels actually have most – if not more – of the amenities you would find in a hotel.
Long-term traveler? 21 Ways to Save Money while Travelling
To give you an idea, here is what you can typically expect to in included in the nightly price of a hostel:
- Linen (and sometimes a towel)
- Breakfast (simple, buffet, pancakes)
- Shared kitchen (save money with these 7 hostel recipes)
- Communal spaces w/ books, games, activities
While hotels may charge you for Wi-Fi or use of certain space, these are usually included for free at hostels.
2. Hostels are for All Ages
Many people assume that hostels are still only for college-aged people who want to backpack across the country. Welcome to the twenty-first century, where people of all ages can stay in hostels!
In fact, the International Youth Hostel Association changed their name to Hostelling International, because hostels are no longer just for the youth. Youth hostels are making way for party hostels, boutique, design hostels, and so many more.
In an average hostel, you can meet anyone, from a fresh-out-of-high-school voyager to a gray-haired senior citizen living it up in his golden years.
Hostels aren't just for sightseers, either. Some people stay long-term for business, mission trips, or studying abroad. More and more families are starting to use hostels, too. Although laws generally prevent kids and teens from staying on their own, many hostels allow minors if accompanied by an adult.
Guess what: Even pets and long-term hostel living is allowed these days!
While some hostels still give off the youthful vibe, they are equally accepting of travellers from other age demographics.
3. Live Like a Local
Hostel employees are often globe trekkers themselves, and will be enthusiastic to share the best that their city has to offer. (Bonus: They’ll also know how to get good deals on the places you’re visiting.)
In addition, you’ll have a cultural experience that can only be done at a hostel.
It’s not uncommon to stay at a hostel where there are more foreigners than nationals. You will be able to share about your country as others tell you about theirs. This is a great way to get travel tips for future journeys! And it shows the importance of hostel life; to merge worlds.
You may be staying at a hostel for business, school, or just for travel, but when the day ends, it’s fun to spend the evening with your hostel neighbours.
You can’t say the same thing about a hotel!
4. Hostels are Safe
Are hostels dangerous? By nature, absolutely not!
This is the number one concern of those new to hostels. While it’s a different experience to share a room with people you just met, that doesn’t mean that hostels are unsafe.
In fact, hostels often provide better security than campsites or motels. Call your hostel ahead of time and ask for their exact security features.
Also, be sure to read this important guide: Are Hostels Safe? 11 Safety Tips for Hostel Travel.
While hostel security differs depending on location, you’ll be glad to know that
- security systems,
- door locks on individual rooms,
- verifying ID at check-in, and
- around-the-clock personnel are pretty standard.
Most hostels also offer lockers or luggage storage. This is either for a small fee or already included in your price. Hostels are usually smaller than hotels, making it easier to spot someone that doesn’t belong. Rooming with others also provides security within itself, because break-ins aren’t likely to happen with several people there.
If you’re still uncomfortable about sharing a dorm room with strangers, many hostels also offer private rooms for a slightly higher price.
5. Hostels are Perfect for Last-Minute Travel Plans
If you book a hotel within short notice, you may be charged a “convenience” fee that isn’t so convenient for your pocket.
On the other hand, you will still get a good deal at a hostel, and most will even accept walk-ins! It's also usual that a smaller, family-run hostel will lower their prices towards the end of the day. A cheaper booking is better than no booking, after all.
In fact, hostels typically refrain from putting a few of their available beds online specifically for walk-ins.
However: If you’re travelling during the busy season, it’s probably a good idea to make a reservation at least a few days ahead of time.
Not sure When to Book Hostels? ← The only guide you need.
Hostels are also more understanding of the frazzled traveller, and will be more than happy to provide you with advice and directions to an alternative hostel, should they be fully booked.
6. Meet New Friends at Hostels
Unless you’re a professional hermit, this is probably the best reason to stay at a hostel, especially if you’re travelling alone.
In addition to getting to know your roommates, hostels provide common areas to meet all the other travellers. These are often the best places to hang out and make socialising easy when staying in a hostel alone!
Sometimes the commons is an outdoor area with patio furniture and a BBQ. Other times it’s a living room with computers, television, board games, and a communal kitchen.If you're really lucky, you'll get to enjoy an outdoor swimming pool and rooftop terrace!
Regardless of how the commons looks, it’s an inviting place and a popular hangout for people staying at the hostel.
Top tips: How to Create an Irresistable Hostel (what to look out for).
And that's not all! Check out some of the popular organised hostel events and activities offered by a really good hostel:
- Pub crawls
- Free walking tours
- Movie nights w/ popcorn
- Happy Hour + drinking games
- Live music/ DJs
- Family dinner
Many of your roommates and neighbors will want to make friends as well, and may even make a community dinner or invite you to join them in town. These friendships can even extend beyond your stay. If you want to keep in touch, be sure to connect with your newfound friends on social media.
Here's a handy guide that includes 9 tips for making friends in hostels.
7. Hostels are Convenient
Have you ever noticed that downtown hotels charge an arm and a leg to stay per night in a room where you’re kept up by all the noises of the city? If you’re lucky enough to find a decently priced hotel, it’s often out-of-the-way, and you’ll need to rent a car to get anywhere.
Hostels are generally only found in tourist towns, so you can expect to be walking distance from many of the attractions. That means saving money on local transport!
Some hostels even offer bike rentals or shuttle services for those places that you can’t get to on foot.
Tip: Use Hostelz.com to do hostel research beforehand – check location, amenities & inclusions.
How to compare hostels? 7 simple and smart Tips.
You also won’t have to worry about finding a restaurant for every meal, because hostels almost always provide a kitchen where you can store and prepare your food. If you're lucky, there may be an on-site restaurant or organized communal dinners.
Another advantage is that hostels can commonly be found in suburban areas or off of main streets.
This way, you’ll still be close to all the action, but you’ll be able to sleep in a place where you won’t hear bar music and sirens all night long. That is, of course, unless you purposely choose a party hostel!
8. Hostels Offer a One-Of-A-Kind Travel Experience
Let’s face it: no matter where you go in the world, all hotels look pretty much the same. Even resorts and campsites can have a uniform feeling. Hostels aren’t like that. They do an excellent job of reflecting the culture of the city they’re in.
Every hostel you stay in will be completely different from the one before.
When telling people about my travel experiences and why hostel life is so damn cool, I am surprised at how many people don’t even know what a hostel is.
To me, there are two things that make hostels stand out from all other kinds of accommodation:
- communal living instead of individual rooms,
- they're full of unique culture instead of being stuffy and conventional.
With all the advantages of staying in a hostel, we're sure you'll agree that is really is a no-brainer!
Summary: Why Hostel?
By now, we're sure you're convinced that hostels are the way to go when travelling.
As long as you're keen to meet new people and try something new, you'll be rewarded with communal vibes, affordable prices, great locations and tons of freebies.
Now, before you start booking, make sure you've ticked everything off the list in our Packing Guide – designed with backpackers in mind.
Read: Volunteer and Travel with Worldpackers, including top hostel volunteer opportunities.
Remember to tell your friends why hostel life is better than real life! And mention that the only reason why hostel life is bad is that you had to leave.
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