Today’s guest post is from Sean Mahon, Deputy Editor at the iGap Travel Guide, the ultimate resource for all your gap travel needs. Hostel recommendations within the piece come from HostelBookers. Pictured: Wombats City Hostel, Vienna.
Hostels come in many different shapes and sizes. Some you are going to absolutely love and won’t believe the value for money you are getting… others, you might be desperate to leave. But rest assured, each hostel has its pros and cons and one thing’s for sure – without hostels, the backpacker trip wouldn’t be possible!
Here are ten hostels you’re definitely going to come across at some point on your trip…
1. The “this is better than my house”
Immaculate and spacious, this might be a tad more expensive but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a bit of luxury and experience the life of a “flash-packer”. Is that a hint of air freshener you can smell? What luxuries!
Pictured: Living Lounge Hostel, Lisbon. Creative, modern decor, fab staff and a central location make this hostel one of the most popular on our books. Rated 98% by our guests, dorms start at EUR 16pppn | Book it
2. The “seen a few better days”
Cold showers are more refreshing anyway, aren’t they? And who minds a bit of shabby furniture or chipped paint – you weren’t expecting Buckingham Palace, and it’s the experiences you have that really matter. There’s a line, though. It’s time to check out and lodge a complaint when ‘lived-in’ turns into plain old ‘dodgy’: bedbugs, a broken lock on your door or completely filthy bathrooms/kitchens are all main offenders.
Photo via Kashif Mardani
3. The army base
Rules, rules, rules. The curfew is at an obscenely early time, if you are having some pre-drinks before you head out, well I hope you know some silent drinking games! Oh and if you lose your keys, prepare to extend your overdraft to pay for a replacement set! We (grudgingly) get it, though – if you look at both extremes, maybe loads of rules are better than total hostel anarchy…
Photo via Inspiring Travellers
4. The “ingenious use of space”
Not an inch of space wasted here. Yes, the three tiered bunk bed is a thing and you’re about to discover it the hard way. If you suffer from vertigo, well that’s just tough. Warning, while ascending to the top of your thrunk bed, you may want to pause for breath as you acclimatise to the high altitude conditions. The plus point for the sardine tin is the communal spirit you will feel with fellow travellers; you will get to meet a lot of people!
Pictured: Peace & Love Hostel, Paris. Boasting the cheapest beer and cocktails in Paris in its ground floor pub, this is a super-social hostel that, yep, also does a fine line in three-tier bunk beds (in some dorms). Rated 67% by guests, dorms are from EUR 20pppn | Book it
5. The fun house
Staying here is a blur; hazy days follow blurry nights after this hostel puts on nightly pub crawls. You are inevitably going to be drunk 80% of your stay. Stopping here is a blast but it will hit your wallet hard, but think of all the memories made that you can only recall once you are tagged in some embarrassing Facebook pics!
Pictured: Reggae Mansion, Kuala Lumpur. There are parties every night at this luxury hostel’s rooftop bar in the shadow of the KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers. Users rate it 93%, dorms start at EUR 10pppn | Book it
6. The “they’ve thought of everything”
The owners and staff have gone above and beyond here, if you have absolutely no idea where to begin with the city, then they will point you in the right direction with tips, maps and some great local advice. They even have a laundry service which is easy to use. AND FREE BREAKFAST.
Pictured: Plus Florence, Florence. They really have though of everything here – how often do you stay in a hostel with a pool, sauna and roof-top bar? Users rate it 85%, and dorms start at EUR 22pppn | Book it
7. The bargain
Sometimes it is so cheap to stay somewhere that you almost feel guilty you aren’t paying more. How are they making money, there must be a catch? There’s not, sometimes a bargain is to be had if you look hard enough!
Pictured: Greg & Tom Hostel, Krakow. Free beer and vodka-tasting followed by adifferent fun event every night, plus free breakfast and dinner?! Greg and Tom’s super-social hostel really spoils you. Users rate it 95%, and dorms start at EUR 12pppn | Book it
8. The “safer than the White House”
No need to worry about your things getting nicked, so safe you’ll feel you can just leave your passport on your pillow. (Don’t do that though, that would be stupid).
9. The sexy one
Easy to get confused with the fun house, this hostel for some reason has a good ratio of boys to girls and it inevitably leads to some beds going spare as everyone pairs off.
Pictured: Rising Cock Hostel, Lagos, Portugal. Ok, the name pretty much forced me to put this one in for this category – not that I think they’d dispute it! Note: if you book here, it doesn’t actually, automatically mean you’ll get some. Duh. But you can try. Users rate it 88%, and dorms start at EUR 15pppn | Book it
10. The amazing owner & staff
Every now and then, you stay in a hostel where everything just clicks. The facilities are great, the people staying there are cool and this is usually facilitated by an amazing owner. A completely charming and charismatic character, you might even find yourself sharing a few drinks with them one night. Before you go, rest assured, you will get a photo with them and reminiscence about that amazing owner long after your stay!
How many of these have you stayed in? Tell us in the comments…