Hostels are the holy grail of budget traveling.
A lot of people that I talk to that have not traveled extensively seem to see hostels in a super negative light, and I am not sure why. Their idea of a hostel is a dark, dirty, dangerous place where girls are assaulted and all of your things are pillaged and stolen. Yes, that CAN happen, but how common is it?
With Hostelworld being the main website to book a bed through, all one must do to avoid such an experience is read the reviews. I personally prefer to stay in hostels that have at least a 7.0 rating. I can do with a small room that may be a little dirty as long as security and location are good. Anytime someone hears that hostels are my preferred accommodation while I am traveling, the conversation turns to me having to educate them on what they’re actually like, and why they are the best way to travel for young people.
The atmosphere is typically very social. You are staying in a room with anywhere from 3 to upwards of 10 strangers from all walks of life. It is simply common courtesy to be nice to your roommates and possibly engage in some small talk. Most hostels also feature a common room or some sort of hang out area which is, in my experience, the absolute BEST way to meet people.
Whether it is striking up a conversation with a stranger or jumping into an already existing one, its a great way to make friends and connections, including finding a travel buddy or someone to do things with during your day around the city!
They’re cheap AF!!! I literally do not care what anyone says, if the thing that is stopping you from traveling is the fact that you can’t afford a hotel but think that you are too good for a hostel, you don’t deserve to travel or have a passport. Suck it up buttercup, because you must not want it that bad if you refuse to spend less than $30USD per night on a shared accommodation. The first thing I ask people when they make a comment about wishing they could travel like I do is “Well, why don’t you just stay in a hostel?” and the look of absolute horror that crosses their face. Hostels rule and make traveling so easy and inexpensive.
Hostels are usually near all of the attractions. Finding a decently priced hotel or Airbnb in the center or major cities is nearly impossible. A lot of the time you will be forced to stay far outside the center or in very sketchy areas.
Often, hostels will give free walking tours of the city, along with organized tours that you can pay for. Some even offer deals on a number of things, including cafés/restaurants, pub crawls, day trips, bus tickets, etc. It is so important to try to reap all the benefits!
Speaking of reaping benefits, free breakfasts are a common thing. Sure, it might not be pancakes and waffles that you may find at hotels, but honestly, free tea/coffee, pastries, and toast fill you up well and kickstart your day like no other! I usually lose weight when I’m traveling for long periods of time, as I am walking everywhere and eating much smaller meals throughout the day. Take advantage!