I was talking to a coworker recently, and I realized there are people who haven’t stayed in hostels before and/or don’t know what they were. Therefore, I thought I would write a little post about. The first time I stayed in hostels was when I went to Spain in 2005. I researched as much as I could online about them and decided that I could save A LOT of money versus staying in hotels! I booked almost all of the hostels I would stay in before I left on my one-month adventure in Barcelona. What I found did not disappoint. Although many people had asked me why I would want to stay in a hostel (the horror movie, Hostel had unfortunately just been released), I found so many more reasons to love staying in hostels and ever since, even on domestic trips, have stayed in plenty. Here are the following reasons I highly recommend staying in them:
- They’re CHEAP! – not only are you going to spend so much less than you would staying in hotels, but I found, you really don’t miss out too much on the amenities. There is almost always a communal kitchen so you can save even more money by cooking some of your meals versus going out for every meal.
- You meet TONS of people! – I have met so many people in hostels – many whom I still keep in contact with and have traveled with since. I was invited by a fellow hostel mate to go to an Orishas concert (for free!) in Barcelona and met up with people in Peru whom I’d met at our hostel in Chile and still keep in contact with them. People are very generous, will give you advice about traveling, you’ll have people to go out with, travel with, eat meals with and generally have great conversation with.
- You almost always have access to free internet, whether it be on computers or wireless
- They’re safe – yes, there could be some shady people staying there, but if you are smart about keeping an eye on your stuff, (don’t bring invaluable items)!, then most likely, you won’t have anything taken from you. I never have in almost 10 years of staying in hostels. I think most of the other travelers just want to have a good time
- Some people are turned off by the lack of privacy – but many hostels do offer private rooms. Some hostels I have stayed in are almost exactly like hotel rooms for a fraction of the price! Anyhow, why travel somewhere to hole up in a room?
- One meal is sometimes included (usually breakfast) which will help you save even more money on food expenses!
- The hostel staff is usually very knowledgeable about best places to check out (often off the beaten bath) as well as places to stay away from and places which are dangerous. They also can recommend activities and events that are going on nearby – I found out through the hostel about a small flamenco show near the hostel I was staying at in Valencia where I was one of the few foreigners – such great experience that I most likely would not have
- The adventure! – I have had so many cool and/or funny experiences in hostels that I never would have had if I stayed in a sterile hotel. I travel for the destination, not the bed I stay in. There’s only been one hostel that I did have a good experience in out of all the ones I have stayed in! Part of the adventure in budget travelling is where you stay and who you meet and hostels generally enhance that experience.