People always want to know, where in the world [literally] we sleep every night. The idea of staying in a hostel can seem unsafe, dirty, or uncomfortable. While the dirty part might not be wrong [hey, we won’t lie], the rest of it couldn’t be further from the truth. That my friends, is why we bring to you the 7 major truths about hostels: to encourage everyone who is considering a hostel to book that bed. Say yes. Have fun and be part of this awesome side of travel culture.
Hostels are a great place to meet other people. They are designed with the traveler in mind. Whether that’s a comfy couch for catching up, or a kitchen to make dinner, they want you to hang out and get cozy. Did I mention that some of the best ones come equipped with poolside hammocks? Yeah, definitely not a bad place to say hello and make friends.
2. Local interaction
Most of the time, hostels are either owned by locals or at least employ a few. These people are stoked to share their stories with guests and generally up for conversation. Try playing cards together, or asking for tips about what to do in the area. If you’re lucky enough, maybe you’ll be invited to family dinner!
3. The insider scoop
There is no better place to find insider tips for how to spend your time than in a hostel. Travelers in your hostel are part of the wolf pack. You might just meet someone who spends an hour drawing you a map of how to get to the hidden cold springs outside of town, or where to go to get the best homemade Pad Thai in town. And let me tell you, that advice is most likely not in your guidebook!
4. Cheap, cheap
Outside of camping, hostels are the most budget friendly form of accommodation. Just like hotels, hostels usually have a range of rooms to offer. Just know that if you want a private room you’ll be spending the most, and going for the cheapest will most likely buy you a bed in a mixed dorm [male and female] with a shared bathroom. Booking online is usually more expensive, and don’t forget to bargain.
5. Safety first
Let’s not forget that hostels exist to make money. This means they don’t want bad reviews online and want guests to share positive experiences, inherently making the hostel a safer place. With steep competition, hostels tend to go the extra mile to make sure nothing happens to their guests. This could mean enforcing curfews, or even building a fence with locked gate around the premises. Whatever it is, just know that your hostel wants you to be happy and safe.
6. Opportunities to work
Imagine this. You wake up on the last day of your trip and decide to skip your return flight home. Crazy, but this actually happens. Travelers often turn to hostels to make money doing housework, cleaning, or whatever else or as an exchange for accommodation. If you find yourself in a town you just can’t pull yourself away from, find a hostel you like, and make friends with the staff. What better way to get to know a local culture than to actually take some time to live and work there.
7. A little dirt never hurt anyone
Ok, here it is, the elephant in the room. Some hostels really can be downright dirty. We’ve all heard the stories of bed bugs and dirty sheets. But you know, in some backwards sort of way, this is part of the experience of being away from home. In the never-ending pursuit of an authentic experience, living in hostels brings us out of our comfort zone in a way that can connect us more to our surroundings. Maybe living without hot water in a crowded room can provide perspective into the luxuries we take for granted at home. That’s the the value of looking past the grime.
And there you have it. 7 damn good reasons to skip the hotel and head for the hostel.
Wanderlove on Instagram