Updated: May 20
It does not matter if you are traveling alone, as a couple or with friends, if within your travel plans you want to meet new people, take tours, party or save on your budget, hostels are the best lodging option for your trip.
Even though this type of accommodation does not have a reputation for being the most comfortable, luxurious and in short the most pleasant experience when traveling (Except for the striking prices in comparison of hotels), thankfully some years ago this conception has begun to change and every day more and more travelers choose this option that fits to all tastes. In this post I want to share five reasons why hostels are the best option for your next trips, even if you are a demanding and glamorous traveler:
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1. Is the best option for your travel budget
As I was saying before, hostels were known to be the cheapest option for accommodation and it still is (or at least in most cases). By offering shared accommodation and bathrooms, limited breakfast, and extra charge services such as towels and bed sheets for rent, many expenses that hotels and Beds & Breakfast have to bear are reduced and, as a result, offers cheaper rates for travelers, especially adventurers.
However, not all the savings are related to night rate. When staying in a hostel, you should not only take into account how much the bed or room you choose costs you, but also things like the following:
Believe it or not, unless you are going to wake up every day at noon (AKA party 24/7) this is something important when choosing a hostel or any type of accommodation because if breakfast is included you not only save time thinking every day where to eat your first and most important meal of the day (I know, I know, I am crazy in love for breakfasts) but also because that budget can be used for other things like desserts, drinks, transportation, etc.
Anecdote: At a hostel in NY, which had an amazing location (1 block away from the Empire State Building) and the rooms were decent and the description on the booking page said it included breakfast (mini-donuts and coffee or hot chocolate), what they didn't say was that the offer was limited so if you weren't one of the first to arrive at breakfast start time, you were left with nothing…good memories.
If is in your plans save as much as possible on your trip and you are going to be several days in the same place or you are traveling in group or you get new friends who are in the same budget mod, this is one of the most necessary services in a hostel, because as you must be imagining, "homemade" food is much cheaper than restaurant food and probably healthier than fast food every day.
Towels and / or bedding included?
This is a "must" when choosing a hostel because the rate may be incredible, but if you do not check the included services and you are not prepared, it can end up being much more expensive than you thought because they will charge you for towels and sheets for an additional cost… or you will have to sleep without bed sheets and dry your sexy body with the wind (definitely a no no).
Anecdote: Most hostels do not include towels and they charge you if you ask for one, but in the NY hostel I told you about, one day we arrived with my friends soaking wet for walked in the rain most of the day and it was such the sorrow we gave, that the boy at the reception gave us each a towel to dry and did not charge us <3 (I still have faith in humanity for this kind of things)
Free tours and activities?
This is one of my favorite parts of being in a hostel! All hostels (well, real hostels ... not the hotels that call themselves hostels for having shared rooms) do activities for their guests, some free, others with preferential prices, but while you stay in a hostel you will be able to enjoy from "Free walking tours", "pub crawls", cooking classes, yoga, games like "beer pong" or karaoke up to multi-day tours with travel agencies recommended by the hostel, making your trip not only cheaper, but also fun and easy, because trust me, it is not always simple to find good guides or recommendations on your own.
Restaurant or place where they sell food?
This is not sooo important but it still helps when it comes to saving money, because in general the restaurants of the hostels offer good food, quite international meals and good prices since they are aware that most of their clients look for cheap and tasty options at the time to make any expense.
2. Meet people from all over the world
I know it is obvious, but it is one of the best things when traveling and when staying in a hostel getting new friends is empowered infinitely. Whether you travel alone, with a partner or friends, the atmosphere that hostels create in common areas makes it much easier to meet people from all over the world. This is not only fun while you share time during the stay, also it is when you can create true friendships, find the love of your life or simply have someone to be your guide in their hometown.
Anecdote: After my trip to Peru, I tried to be tourist guide in Bogotá about three times and it was incredible to see my new friends again and show them my city and even my dog, as well as feeling like another tourist, because let's be honest, travelers know the city better than locals (at least speaking of tourist places).
In general, most of the hostels are located in strategic areas, either in the most popular neighborhoods for tourists, next to an emblematic attraction or with transport options to go anywhere, being one more reason to stay in a hostel. Despite this, do not trust yourself and always look at the comments about the location on Hostelworld, Booking or in the searcher that you like, as the description given by the hostel is not always the most accurate and can be in a dangerous area, far from everything or with difficult to access.
Anecdote: One of my first experiences in hostels was a “road trip” with some friends across some cities in the Northeast of the United States and something happened to us in Washington that is now funny but that day was quite an adventure. We had made a reservation in a hostel through Hostelworld but I don´t know what lapse we had and we did not even see the photos of the place (CRAZY! Never do it!). From the bus station we took the subway and followed the directions on google maps to get to our hostel, it seemed strange to us that we spent about an hour and a half on the subway and through the window we saw more and more suburbs but we still continued. When we got off at the station, we asked an employee of the subway for directions and the house was one block away and we thought, that is awesome! ... well, NO! As we were getting closer, there was a very creepy man in a store next door and I remember he stared at us because I commented to my friends about that guy. We got to the house and started to walk the entrance stairs and suddenly this same weird, fat, old, smelly man, with his eyes gone, approached us and greeted us, it turns out that he was one of the hostel's hosts, or should say unpleasant boardinghouse.
When we entered, we felt like we were in a house of the people who join “Hoarders” A&E reality, all messy, full of things and dirty. There joined another old but skinny old man who smelled of cigarettes and drinks, neither very nice who seemed to be the one in charge. When they showed us where our beds were, we passed by a room where a girl was studying but all messy and did not look happy and by another room where a grumpy and worse-smelling old man came out (like those who show up in horror movies)… all this made us run away, even without reservations or anything fixed, we preferred to sleep under a bridge or in a park than in that place. Luckily we got place at Hosteling International Hostel (a little more expensive than normal for being last minute and July 4th weekend) but everything was better than that "hostel". Moral of the story: always read the comments.
If you are a party soul like me, hostels are your thing. Even tough not every hostel has its own bar, they all organize “pub crawl” events or recommend you where to go and no matter how Monday it is, you are going to feel that it is Friday night every day. In these parties they usually make games, happy hours, free shots and challenges, all around the theme of the night. In addition to the tours organized by the hostel, this is one of the easiest ways to meet people and have a pleasant time.
It is also a very different kind of party of what you are used in your hometown or in a normal bar because although they play the top hits of the country, they also play the hits from other places around the world for the reason that hostels want to give joy to all their customers and what better way to do it than motivating them to dance and sing their favorite songs.
5. For all tastes
This is a point that is gaining more and more strength in the hostels world. As the demand of people who choose to stay in a hostel has grown, the offers options seek to please all tastes of travelers, so now, there are hostels that only have hammocks and others that offer the same comforts as a hotel but with the pluses of a hostel.
There are also hostels that are not famous for their prices, but for their location or activities to offer, as in the case of “Gamplings” or hostels on beaches or natural parks that provide their guests different experiences than those found in large cities like those that are in the middle of the sea and can only be reached by boat, or that you must climb a mountain to reach your room.
BONUS: Most of the time I use Hostel World to make my reservations because it offers not only more hostel options than other searchers, but also because it has more comments and opinions for travelers like you, so go ahead and give it a try!
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it! If you have anecdotes or more reasons why you choose to stay in a hostel, share them in the comments!