What to Expect Staying in a Hostel
As the summer holiday slowly starts to creep in many people found themselves booking flights, stays, and much more. If you are planning a trip anywhere else besides the United States you are probably starting to notice hostels everywhere. In this guide, you will learn what a hostel is, what to expect, and be able to decide if this is something for you.
I have stayed in over 50 hostels throughout Europe, Canada, and South America in the past 3 years. Everything you will see is from my personal experience and is not affiliated with any companies or sponsors.
What is a hostel?
A hostel is like a hotel however there are options for shared rooms with guests you are not traveling with. The shared rooms are areas were you and other guests will sleep. A typical hostel room has 3-12 different people staying in it. The rooms can have both males or females in them depending on which option you choose when booking. The beds are usually bunk beds and there are lockers close by to lock your things. The hostel will usually have shared spaces like bathrooms, kitchens, and possibly workspaces.
How do share spaces in hostels work?
When it comes to the bathroom some hostels have a bathroom directly off the room if you are sharing the hostel with less than 6 guests. The advantage of this is a more private bathroom experience as you do not have to walk down the hallway after your shower. However, what you will see in most hostels is a wall of 4 bathrooms with each offering a shower. The bathrooms are first come first serve and usually do require you do walk down the hallway. Though this experience does sound weird I have never had anything strange happen to me or found myself waiting to use a shower/bathroom.
As for the shared kitchen, this one huge advantage hotels don’t usually offer. There is one big shared common kitchen space for guests to warm up food or cook themselves meals. In the kitchens, you will find everything you need from plates to pots and pans all hostels ask is you clean up after your self. Having a kitchen you can use is ideal when you are traveling on a budget or staying somewhere for an extended period.
The last common space you will see in hostels are coworking spaces. These can quiet cafes and even in some co-living spaces a traditional office. Depending on the place you stay these are included or for a private office for the day can be an additional charge. The hostels that offer this are called co-livings. I recommend these to anyone who is working while traveling, as these co-livings attract many young professionals which is great if you are trying to network.
What is it like staying at hostel?
Many hostels have rules/ requirements for staying there like no children or no one over the age of 35. These things are important to notice as they can drastically affect the environment. For example, you are not going to want to pick a hostel with a club inside if you are wanting more of a quiet trip. Location is important to as hostels close to bars/clubs are going to have a different environment than something outside the city.
The biggest difference with hostels over hotels is the privacy. So if you are planning on talking on the phone at night or are easily bothered by people coming in late or waking up then this not for you. Hostels are not good for couples ether as can be awkward kissing with other people around. In addition to how the beds are set will affect your experience drastically.
My favorite type of beds are like the picture below with curtains these living situations can feel very private. Overall reading reviews and descriptions of hostels are key to knowing what type of environment you are getting yourself into.
Who do I recommend staying in a hostel?
I think hostels are perfect for solo travelers, people on a budget, and travelers wanting to stay close to all the attractions. Hostels are ideal for people looking to meet other people as you are sharing rooms with others it’s easy to start up a conversation and people tend to be very friendly. Another advantage of hostels is the community aspect many hostels offer free walking tours, bar crawls, and much more. Having these community events really can change the dynamic of your trip and create a once in a lifetime experience.
As for price hostels are the most affordable way to travel. In South America, I stayed in a hostel as little as 10 US a night. Hostels can cut stay costs by half or more than hotels. This is essential if you are on a budget and the more people in the room the less the price is. I have stayed in rooms of all sizes even as high as 18 people in one room. However, my recommendation is to book something with under 6. I just found it to be a more comfortable experience and quieter.
The last advantage is the ability to stay close to all the attractions. Hostels tend to be in the most lively areas which can save you money on transportation.
Below you will see the best resources for booking hostels and some of my favorite places to stay.
- HostelWorld– best resource for booking hostels for review and price
- Outsite Co– extremely nice coliving space with locations across the world
- Selina– very clean coliving space with surfing and yoga with locations everywhere (book on hostelworld for best rate)
- YHA– a series of hostel offering a membership for discounted rates
I hope this blog gives you a better idea of what to expect when staying at a hostel. I challenge you to go out there and try, you never know you might like it. For more travel hacks and tips, check my recent post on traveling to Europe for the first time.
“Adventure must start with running away from home.”William Bolitho