Why I Love Staying in Hostels

I’ve been traveling solo my whole adult life. And during that time, I’ve stayed in my fair share of hostels. Probably over a 100. All over Europe, Southeast Asia and North America.

Looking back on a decade of solo travel

Although I often alternate with Couchsurfing, I love staying in hostels. They’re affordable and really fun. Sure, there have been some very bad ones, but mostly a lot of very good ones. I’ve stayed in giant 20 person dorms and cozy private rooms. In boring hostels and crazy party hostels. In sparkling new and old run-down places.

Whether you’re new to traveling or a seasoned roadie, I recommend staying in hostels. Hostels are a cornerstone of the tourism industry and an important factor in making travel more affordable and accessible. Some people are intimidated by hostels, and they get an undeserved bad rep as a hotbed for bedbugs and drunk tourists. Here are the reasons why I love staying in hostels, and you probably will too:

Hostels are affordable

hostel laos southest asia budget travel backpacker

As a backpacker, I always look for ways to stretch my money. From eating street food to finding good deals on flights. One of the best ways to save money while you are traveling is by staying in budget accommodation like hostels. Instead of paying for a full room in a hotel, you’re paying for a bed in a shared room, which is usually a lot cheaper.

You can save even more money by cooking your own meals in the communal kitchen

Especially as a solo traveler, this makes a huge difference. Because you are paying per bed and not per room, you avoid the dreaded surcharge for singles. Single people often get the short end of the stick in the tourism industry, but not in hostels. Hostels are made specifically for you, the solo traveler.

Hostel Cat Ba island Vietnam Ha Long Bay

Prices vary a lot from hostel to hostel and I don’t recommend going straight for the cheapest. Always look carefully at what value you are getting for your money. It’s often worth paying a few dollars more per night for breakfast, a better location, and just a better overall hostel. Always, always read the reviews and pick a good hostel, not just a cheap one.

Here are a few more tips on picking the right hostel for you

Affordability comes at a cost and for hostels that cost was always comfort and privacy. But not anymore! Because most hostels now offer private rooms as well as dorms. If you’re traveling with a partner or friend, these private rooms are a great way to enjoy hostel life while still getting a good deal. And even as a solo traveler, these are usually cheaper than a hotel room.

Not sure about traveling solo? Let me convince you

Hostels are fun

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But travel isn’t all about money. Or at all, really. Travel is about meeting new people, having new experiences and learning about different cultures. And no place facilitates that like a hostel.

Hostels host travelers from all over the world, many of them young, solo backpackers. All people dying to make new friends and meet people to hang out with. Most hostels facilitate this by creating common rooms and organizing events, like bar crawls and game nights. These are usually a super fun and easy way to meet new people and explore the city.

That’s why staying in hostels is one of the best ways to meet people as a solo traveler!

I’ve met so many cool people and have made friends for life in hostels. I love traveling alone, but I don’t want to do everything by myself. It’s much more fun to go for a drink or dinner with other travelers. So I always look specifically for hostels with a social atmosphere, both in their description and the reviews. I usually use Hostelworld to find hostels and read reviews, but always try to book directly with the hostel. #supportlocalhostels #supportsmallbusiness

Aran Islands Inismore Ireland hostel kitchen

I’ve also worked in hostels through Workaway and really enjoyed that. It was so much fun to hang out with all the guests, show them around and make sure they had a great time. Hostel staff are often volunteers or young locals who love to travel and have fun. They usually have the best recommendations for places to eat and party or activities to do in the area.

Hostels are (not) for everyone

Controvento boutique hostel Trieste Italy

Many people think of hostels as dirty places where young backpackers go to get drunk. And sure, some of them are. But hostels have definitely evolved from their crummy young hostel roots. These days, your options extend from cheap party places to fancy boutique hostels. There’s a hostel for everyone!

Staying in a dorm for the first time? Here’s what you need to know

Flashpacker and boutique hostels are taking the world by storm. These upscale hostels are more like hotels and offer far more amenities than regular hostels. Creaky bunk beds are traded in for comfortable private rooms and cute dorms. Beer soaked common rooms turn into inviting lounges and outdoor swimming pools. These places manage to combine the (relative) affordability of a hostel with the comfort of a hotel. They often attract a slightly older crowd with a bit more money to spend, who still want to hang out and party.

hostel Gran Canaria rooftop bar

And hostels aren’t just for twenty-something backpackers, just like travel isn’t only for them. Some hostels have age restrictions, but most welcome travelers from all ages. I’ve met plenty of people in hostels who were well into their thirties, forties, fifties of even sixties! They all said they preferred hostels because of the fun and social atmosphere.

And as for couples? You can definitely stay in a hostel, even in a dorm. Especially, couples who travel long-term will enjoy the chance to hang out with other people. Just please don’t have sex in the dorm. It’s very rude. No sex in the dorms is just one of the basic rules of hostel dorm etiquette

Of course, some people will still prefer to stay in a hotel or apartment. Which is okay! It’s your trip, do what you want. But if you’re a young (solo) traveler, I recommend giving hostels a try, even if it’s just for the iconic travel experience.

So what about you? Do you stay in hostels when you travel? Why, or why not? I’d love to hear all about your hostel experiences in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Why I Love Staying in Hostels

  1. I agree. I met winderful people in hostels. One was an okd castle in Scotland. In norway, the hostel was so nice. You could smell the pine walks. The kichen facilities were very good. I can go on and on. I never met one drunk or loud party. Someone was robbing and rummaging one night. My wallet and pastport was inside my pillow case under my head. “Be prepared” was my motto.♥️

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