Staying in hostels is one of the things I enjoy the most about traveling. Finding like-minded travelers, cheap accommodation, loads of fun, and new friends from all over the world in one convenient place provides one hell of an advantage to any traveler.
Whenever I have conversations about traveling, it always surprises me to find there’s plenty of people who’ve never had the hostel experience. This is oftentimes a result of the myths and misconceptions about how hostel life really is. Sometimes, people are just afraid of trying new things.
I can only speak for myself and affirm that my life changed when I first stayed in a hostel. Before, I’d only been staying in cheap hotels where I would often end up alone and staring at the ceiling. It was by opening myself to the hostel experience that I was suddenly exposed to different cultures and ways of traveling. I enjoyed the experience so much it heavily influenced my decision to become a full-time traveler!
So, if you’re still on the fence about booking that hostel, here’s a couple of reasons you should take a chance and book your next stay:
It’s super easy to meet new people and make friends
People tend to be more open-minded while they’re traveling. Being on the road makes it necessary to depend on others and be flexible. Some of these friendships are only temporary and last as long as your travels while others become lifelong friendships.
People who travel to hostels all have the same necessities and are usually traveling under similar circumstances, which makes it super easy to make friends even if you’re more on the introverted end of the spectrum. People in hostels tend to travel solo or in pairs, which makes grouping up easy and desirable.
Hostels usually also have common areas such as bars, kitchens or common rooms where people gather when not in their dorm rooms. Just sitting here will likely net you a new friend or find people with whom to explore the surrounding sites.
Be open. Be social. Be friendly. You never know who you’re going to meet.
You’re exposed to cultures from all over the world
Since hostels serve as hubs from where travelers of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes realize their travels, you will constantly meet people from all over the world. It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a motley group of people from very different countries, which adds to all the fun!
Experiencing the places you travel through the lens of other cultures can be a travel experience in itself. Everything from cooking dinner or going out becomes a travel experience and an opportunity to learn about how other people live.
Meeting people from all over the world is also a great way to expand your travel network. Who knows? You might end up visiting one another in the future!
Just staying at a hostel can be a travel experience in itself
Many hostels are usually themed around where they’re located. City hostels will be very different from Beach hostels. European hostels will be very different from Central American hostels. The decoration, the smells, the way things are done, the amenities can help tune newly-arrived travelers to the spirit of the places they visit.
Just being inside the hostel can be a very cool travel experience, since many of them organize events for the entertainment of their guests. Examples of such events could be dancing lessons in Central America, tours of nearby attractions, party groups in large cities (or even the parties themselves within the hostel), or yoga lessons in Southeast Asia.
They help you save a ton of money
Overall, hostels tend to be the least expensive form of paid accommodation for backpackers. In some regions such as Central America and Southeast Asia, hostels can go for as low as four or five bucks per night.
There is, however, a wide spectrum of hostel choices available, ranging from the luxury to the downright barebones, allowing you to choose according to your own travel budget and priorities. Do you have a very limited budget? You can find something for the price. Want to experience hostel life without sacrificing your comforts? Certain hostels have resort-quality accommodations.
Many hostels offer amenities such as bicycles for rent, a communal kitchen, laundry, book exchanges, donated gear left behind by others, and other travel necessities that can end up saving you money in the long run. Grouping with other travelers you meet in hostels also helps you to save money on shared expenses and activities.
They are very useful for finding out travel information
If a hostel isn’t owned and operated by locals, it usually does employ them, which provides you with access to intimate knowledge of the places you’re traveling through from first-hand sources. Hostel staff have likely heard all about what things to do or not to do from other travelers that stayed before you, which can help you maximize your travels.
When you first arrive at a hostel it’s likely you’ll find people with very different itineraries, personalities, and tastes. Everyone travels differently and experiences their journey from their own unique perspective, which makes your fellow travelers great sources of information on where to go, what to do, what the best sites are, and other useful tidbits of information to help you make the most of your travels.
Additionally, tour operators and local tourism government agencies usually coordinate with hostels to disseminate information on new attractions, businesses, and tour operators that have just opened, as well as other useful travel information.
Make use of the resources you have at hand to craft and plan your own, unique travel experience. Just a little effort can go a long way.
Hostels attract a different crowd
Hostels tend to attract a certain breed of traveler. Backpackers, nomads, long-term travelers, hippies, students, artists, and interesting people in general look for cheap accommodation where they can find like-minded people.
Although you can certainly find total tourists in hostels, people overall tend to have an alternative, more open sort of mindset. Exposing yourself to other ways of thinking and traveling has the potential for deep transformation and change, something that’s a part of the travel experience.
Travel with an open mind, you never know how others might influence you in positive ways.
Thinking about giving hostels a go? Have you had any good experiences? Be sure to share them in the comments section below!