Many of us who have traveled are no strangers to staying in a hostel. If you’re just entering the world of budget backpacking, you might be unsure of whether or not to stay in a hostel because of horror stories you’ve heard.
Odds are, they’re just stories!
Truth is, staying in a hostel can be one of the best parts of budget travel. Many of the negative stories about staying in a hostel are because of a single bad experience. They are a great way to meet fellow travelers and save money.
Here are some common misconceptions about staying in a hostel!
Only for Young People
This one especially isn’t true and you’d be surprised at how many older people as well as families stay in hostels! This can really be an awesome thing too. Older travelers have so many amazing insights and great advice to give younger people.
For Partiers and Backpackers
Not necessarily! The thing about traveling is that it is exhausting. Many people staying at a hostel really just want to get a good night’s sleep. There are some hostels with a reputation for attracting partiers, but by doing your research, it’s pretty easy to tell which hostels draw those crowds.
Hostels are consistently clean and really well maintained. Their business is dependent on good reviews and good customer service. It’s in their best interest to provide clean accommodation.
You might encounter a messy roommate in a hostel and it totally happens in a larger dorm. But, rest assured, your bed sheets will be clean, the floor will be cleaned, and the bathroom will be cleaned everyday by the staff.
Packed With People
It’s true that you’ll be sharing a room with people. That’s the idea. But, you won’t be squished in like sardines! Everyone gets their own bed and the beds are pretty well spaced apart in all hostels.
You’ll likely be assigned a bed in a bunk bed and you might get a stranger sleeping on the bed above or below you. Some hostels even offer private accommodation if you need a break from a dorm style setting but still need budget prices.
So you’ve seen or heard of a horror movie based on someone staying at a hostel. The great thing about movies is that they are just that- movies!
Hostels are actually really safe. They are staffed 24 hours and most have security cameras installed. If you are ever uncomfortable or don’t feel safe, then tell the staff and ask for a room change!
Unfortunately, theft happens no matter where you are traveling or staying. The thing with hostels is that you’re staying with other travelers and backpackers who totally understand what it’s like to be on the road!
For peace of mind, hostels have lockers available in the room, so pack a lock and store your stuff when you are away and sleeping.
Sharing a Room with the Opposite Sex
This is usually more important for the girls. Not just because boys can be smelly and snore at times (let’s be honest some girls do too!), but it can be daunting as a female to share a room with guys they don’t know.
But, I’ve stayed in plenty of co-ed dorms and had great experiences. Co-ed dorms will typically have ensuite bathrooms for privacy or the hostel will still have female and male bathrooms and showers in a separate area.
Regardless of whether you stay in a same sex dorm or co-ed dorm, most travelers are genuinely polite and respectful of your space and privacy.
Loud People + Little Sleep
Ear plugs are a simple solution that will make your travels SO much more pleasant! Whether you’re on a noisy plane with a baby crying, trying to nap on a train, or falling asleep in a hostel, just pop those ear plugs in and enter a world of silent bliss!
Listening to music from your earphones while falling asleep is also a great way of dozing off into la la land. Most of the time, you’ll be so tired from your travels that you’ll have no problem falling asleep.
Sharing bathrooms is never easy, especially if there are limited showers. Realistically, the bathrooms get cleaned every day by the hostel staff so cleanliness is normally not an issue. Always pack a pair of flip flops to wear into the shower just to be safe.
Hostels are usually good about providing enough facilities for the number of guests they can accommodate, but it’s also good to plan your showers at times when they’ll be less busy.
Cheap Hotels vs. Cheap Hostels
Hostels are, more often than not, the least expensive accommodation option around the world. But that’s not the only reason you should consider staying in one. Compared to hostels, there is little to no social element to a hotel.
Staying in a cheap hostel can lead to meeting some lifelong friends and travel buddies from around the world. Hostels are a great way to meet like minded travelers and have some friends to explore with wherever you go.
Hostels come in every shape, style and size. There really is no “one-fits-all” hostel. In fact, there are even luxury hostels around the world that deliver some seriously luxe accommodation at low prices.