There are a few common misconceptions about hostels–they’re dirty, grungy, cheap and prime places for psycho serial killers who kidnap and torture their victims. While TV and horror films perpetuate this image, the reality is a bit different.
What if I told you that there are hostels that look like this?
Trotamundos Hostel in Seville, Spain
Full Moon Hostel in Budapest
Yes, you were wrong to think that hostels are dark, creepy basement dorm rooms where only broke and desperate travelers dare sleep. You might also be surprised to know that hostels are not only amazing places to stay, but can also enhance your travel experience.
Here are 5 reasons why hostels are better than hotels
1. You’ll meet people to connect with
If you’re the type of person who would leave behind the familiar to explore a new destination–whether it be for a vacation or long-term travel–you likely possess a certain mindset that only fellow travelers could understand. You’re brave. You’re different. You value experiences.
Hostels are full of people just like you. Not only will you meet people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities, you will also find common ground in your interests.
Sure, meeting new people can be scary and intimidating, but hostels are set up for social engagement, from the organized group activities, to designated common areas and welcoming staff.
Who knows, you could meet your next travel buddy over a game of beer pong, or spark a new romance with your salsa lesson dance partner.
2. The rooms are a fraction of the cost of hotels
These days, you don’t need to sacrifice luxury for your budget, and that certainly goes for hostels. Some of the nicest hostels cost less than a even a cheap motel.
It may sound too good to be true, but with all of the booking sites that provide detailed descriptions and customer reviews, you can find out what you’re getting yourself into before you book.
Hostels also have a range of accommodation options, from multi-bed dorms to ensuite private rooms. No matter what kind of room you prefer, you will be able to find it. And if you’re not too picky, you can find beds for a little as $6 per night!
3. Your travel experience will be much better
Travel should be an eye-opening experience. What’s the point of exploring a foreign place if you aren’t learning something new?
The hostel atmosphere provides an accelerated introduction into the place you’re visiting, which is ideal if you only have limited time. You’ll meet locals who work at the hostels and travelers who have already explored the area.
You’ll gain insights and advice that will save you so much time because you’ll have less to figure out on your own and more time to explore the place you came to visit.
4. You never have to be alone (but you could be if you wanted to)
Between social hours and educational events, hostels provide the perfect atmosphere for community. You will never find yourself bored or alone, unless you want to escape to a quiet corner somewhere, which is fine too.
The second you walk into a hostel, you are greeted by locals and foreigners alike. Travelers tend to be on the friendlier side–especially in hostels–so you don’t have to worry about forced interactions. People will want to meet you and, beyond that, make travel plans with you.
A hostel is a breeding ground for new friendships and adventure partners, whether you’d prefer to form a small group or just find a buddy.
If you really want to have a great time, a party hostel is a great option. You may not get much sleep, but the fun is on another level.
There is so much to learn from fellow travelers. The people you will meet in hostels are–spoiler alert–travelers themselves and know a lot about the places you’ve been and the places you want to go. First-hand experience always trumps a travel guide.
Plus, there are things that you can’t find in guide books and experiences that you may not know exist until you talk to someone who has already been there. No matter where you’re going, you’re bound to find someone in your hostel who can provide you with some very specific travel advice.
Not only that, but the staff at hostels know so much about the area. They could easily be city guides, but instead work the front desk in your hostel. Once you arrive, you will be bombarded with information, maps, recommendations and reviews–it’s like having a travel agent, but free!