As much as we love hostels, sometimes we find it hard to convince a few of just how much they have changed. Suggest a hostel for a vacation away and you may still be met by cries of ‘Why would you want to stay in one of those?’, ‘Yuck!’ and ‘Won’t I have to share a bed with a bunch of crazy strangers?’. And with so many budget hotels popping up, what makes hostels different from other cheap accomodation?
So for all you hostel virgins out there, this week hostel convert Paul Dow explains why he always chooses hostels. If you need to persuade anyone of just how great hostels are, read on!
I often get asked what it’s like to stay in hostels whilst traveling, usually by those who have never stayed in one before. I also have many friends who as they get older prefer not to “rough it” so to speak.
Hostels have a lot of advantages to them that are often overlooked by people who just presume they are all a “no frills” experience. So I thought it was time to address this issue and answer the question of what are the benefits of staying in a hostel:
Value For Money
If you’re intending to travel the world and you’re on a budget then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stay in hotels every step of the way. Hostels offer the perfect alternative in terms of great value for money. They tend to keep the costs down to a minimum whilst offering many other benefits that you just can’t get from hotels.
Range Of Budgets
Hostels aren’t always just basic dorms, there are often a range of different options that cater for various different budgets. You don’t always have to share a dorm room, you can pay a little bit more for some privacy whilst retaining all the other benefits associated with staying in a hostel. For example –the Base St Kilda, a melbourne hostel offers private rooms.
When you’re backpacking you won’t always have a fixed plan of action and you may want to go with the flow. Perhaps you meet new friends and decide to make a detour somewhere. It’s unlikely that you’ve booked somewhere to stay. Thankfully hostels are pretty flexible and unless you’ve stumbled across a busy period, you can usually find a bed for the night with ease.
However, if you arriving in a place after a long journey or late at night it’s often a good idea to have booked in advance . This means you can arrive and roll straight into bed instead of having to trek around various different hostels trying to find one of a suitable standard and budget.
Knowledge and A More Personal Touch
Often people working in hostels are themselves backpackers and because of this they are usually a fountain of knowledge for anything and everything in the local area. Receptionists in a hotel may provide you with a map and a few pointers, but in a hostel these people really know what they are talking about and often go out of their way in order to help.
Trips and Tours
As well as having plenty of local knowledge, hostels usually have a wide range of trip and tours on offer. These can range from short day trips to more extensive trips depending on your taste. Obviously you can shop around for various tours but it’s always nice to have the ability to book something that is right on your doorstep.
Hostels Are Social
Probably the biggest advantage of staying in a hostel is that they are very social places. If you stay in a hotel it isn’t often that you’ll interact with that many people, but in a hostel it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Communal lounges and kitchens ensure you’ll be chatting away to fellow like-minded backpackers in no time at all. If you decided to do some solo travel then hostels are a great places to meet new friends and other travelers that are going it alone.
Paul Dow is an English, optimistic, late sleeper, green tea drinker, writer, web developer, soccer fan and editor of TravMonkey World Travel. He is currently residing in London after traveling solo for 22 months through Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South America.