10 reasons why you should stay in a hostel
For those of us who travel on a budget we try our best to save money where we can. One of the biggest expenses when planning your trip is where you’re going to stay. Hotels are good and so is house sharing, but one of the old classics for cheap accommodation is hostels. Most Americans have heard of hostels before, it’s a part of the “Graduate and backpack through Europe” mythos of our culture, but as I’ve gotten older the perception of hostels seems to have changed a bit (Those Eli Roth Hostel movies didn’t help either).
I’ve had a lot of experience staying in both hotels and hostels and you can find great things in both, but for now, let me convince you as to why you should stay in a hostel.
(Don’t worry, you’ll get a “why you should stay in a hotel” post too)
10 reasons why you should stay in a hostel
1. The Price
The most obvious appeal to staying in a hostel is the price. If you’re not one to get hung up on luxuries and conveniences, you can extend your trip with the money you save.
2. The Location
Most hostels are centrally located, meaning that they are close by to all the things you need. This isn’t always the case, but imagine being able to walk to attractions, bars, and restaurants.
3. Saving Money
Everyone staying or working at a hostel usually has the same goal: to explore and not waste money doing it. As a result, the place itself becomes a hub for travelers looking to stretch their money. Want to do a free city walking tour? chances are your hostel has it already arranged. Want to split the cost of a tour or rental? you can usually find someone because of #4
4. Built to be sociable
One thing that I’ve always appreciated about hostels is that they are spaces for social interaction. The hostel common room is a spot where you’ll find people lounging, eating, or socializing. Because rooms don’t have amenities like TV’s (usually) or even a desk, people tend to congregate in the common room. I’ve met some of the most amazing people while writing in my journal or sharing a table.
5. You don’t have to eat out
Trying new restaurants is a passion of mine, but not everyone wants to spend money eating out all the time. Most of these places have a community refrigerator/kitchen/hot plate where you can save some coin cooking; and with the central location, you can usually find a grocery store nearby.
Passionate about food? Check out my Sandwich blog!
6. You never get the same thing twice
Variety is the spice of life right? Hostels are very rarely built the same way, so you get accommodation that reflects the personality of the area and people who run it. I had a friend who worked at a hostel in Colombia and she made them a “wheel of fortune” for cocktails.
7. You don’t get a lot, but you get enough
Part of the reason why you save money is that you’re being provided only the basics. That means you may not have the privacy or amenities that a hotel provides. You will have a bed, a bathroom, and a place to store your stuff though; and let’s face it, if you’re exploring the world, that’s all you really need (plus a towel).
8. Multi-Cultural understanding
This could probably be combined with #4, but one of the coolest things about socializing with people staying at a hostel is that they are from all around the world. Sure, there are people from around the world staying at a hotel too, but when are you ever going to meet them? The hostel common room facilitates conversation and conversation can lead to amazing things; Especially when you are all there for a common reason.
Things can happen no matter where you are but I’ve always felt like hostels get a bad rap. Of all the hostels that I’ve stayed at the past 10 years, there have been little to no issues. A lot of these places also lock their doors after a certain time and go through their own security process. Worried about your luggage? make sure you when you book your accommodation that the rooms have lockers (and you bring a lock).
10. It’s on you
Yeah, it’s a cop out, but the truth of the matter is that you will find reasons why you should stay or go. Everyone’s tolerance for things are different, so being introspective as to what you can take and can’t is on you. For many of us, the hostel is just a place to rest and leave our luggage while we explore, but if you’re looking for comforts beyond the basics, then a hotel may be better. I think it’s important for anyone to give it a try because it’s a great experience
The years that I have traveled have yielded some life changing experiences, a lot of which wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t meet some amazing people in a hostel common room. Whether you’re looking to save a little bit of money or just trying to find friends to explore with, I feel the hostel is one of the best facilitators or life changing experiences. That’s not to say that you won’t have them in other ways, but if I could have you walk away with one thing from this post, it would be that some amazing things can happen with a couple bucks and a friendly “hello.”