Hostels are a fantastic option for accommodation no matter where you are traveling to. These low-cost alternatives to hotels are not only great for saving money, but also are invaluable at making friends while on the road.
Unfortunately, hostels have a very poor reputation among young Americans due to over-the-top popular culture portraying them as often roach-infested human slaughterhouses (please don’t EVER watch the 2005 thriller Hostel). The negative views often associated with hostels are completely unfounded and it would be extremely disappointing for you to pay any attention to them.
Often associated with “backpackers”, hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Some have extravagant swimming pools and often include a restaurant, cafe, and bar. No hotel in the world makes it so easy to make friends while traveling, and the relationships you make with new friends from all over the world while staying in a hostel will greatly enhance your travel experiences and memoirs.
The biggest differences between hostels and hotels include the following:
- Hostels tend to be budget-oriented; rates are considerably lower, and many hostels have programs to share books, DVDs and other items.
- For those who prefer an informal environment, hostels do not usually have the same level of formality as hotels.
- For those who prefer to socialize with their fellow guests, hostels usually have more common areas and opportunities to socialize. The dormitory aspect of hostels also increases the social factor.
- Hostels are generally self-catering.
There are various websites catering to finding the perfect hostel for your next trip. Here are some of our favorites:
The Hostel Group is an excellent resource for finding well-reviewed hostels in a variety of cities around the world. As stated on their website:
“The culture of a hostel is exciting because it contains a melting pot of travelers from all parts of the world. Unlike many hotel establishments, a guest at a hostel will feel like they are more involved with the property because of the interactions that will be had between other guests. The employees at hostels are generally travelers themselves who are experienced in the area that they work at. They genuinely want you to feel welcome in your new location and want to provide you with great recommendations.”