When most people hear the word “hostel” they think of the Eli Roth horror film. Unfortunately, if this is the image that people get when they are traveling, they may end up missing out on a really great opportunity to meet fellow travelers, save a lot of money, and have a lot of fun.
As someone who has backpacked through various different countries I can honestly say that if I had the choice to stay in either a hotel or a hostel at no cost, I would choose the hostel. Of course, like hotels, you will always find a hostel that is unsanitary or uncomfortable; however, majority of hostels are social hubs with a lot to offer.
Here are some reasons why hostels rock:
1) Hostels are budget friendly. There are hostels that are even under $20 a night! And cheap does not have to mean low quality. Many hostels are very clean and include amenities such as kitchens, lockers, common rooms with television and games, pool tables, bars, pools, cafes, etc…
2) Staying at a hostel gives you a chance to meet all different kinds of people from all over the world. People who stay at hostels are generally outgoing and social people, and because there you are sharing a room with people it is easy to strike up conversation. Not only that, but hostels often contain bars, cafes, and game rooms that allow for a lot of social interaction. Hostel events such as pub crawls, walking tours, and cook-outs also make for easy mingling.
3) Hostel staff are almost always extremely knowledgeable. When staying at a hostel you will almost always be given a map of the area, and staff at the hostel can show you what sites to see and give you tops on where to go. Not only that, but after-hours not only will hostel staff help you find the perfect place to party, they will often come with you!
4) You will learn a lot about different countries as well as get tips from other travelers. People who stay at hostels are usually avid travelers and can give you advice on where to go and when. Also, these type of travelers often know of interesting things to see that may not be a “tourist attraction” that you have heard about.
5) Hostels are safe. Many hostels have 24-hour reception, as well as swipe keys, alarm codes, or special buzzers needed to get into the building. Moreover, since you are sharing a room with strangers, lockers are almost always available to store your valuables. Moreover, if you are traveling alone it becomes very easy to find someone to leave the hostel with you so that you do not need to go out by yourself.
Overall, hostels are a fun, safe, and comfortable way to travel while saving money and making friends. Instead of picturing a hostel as dangerous seedy places, picture them as a friendly place to start a new adventure!