While in the hotel nobody would bother you at all, in a hostel expect that as soon as you step inside someone can immediately engage you in a chat or ask you a question or maybe try to help you. And that someone may not be only from the staff but a guest too.
So, if you are looking for privacy and want to be left alone then a hostel is definitely not a place for you. Hostels are extremely social types of accommodation with a community style of living that provide accommodation at low-cost to backpackers and travelers from all over the world. They are moreover a meeting point of people that want to travel, meet with other travelers, talk, share their stories and experiences.
Many people choose to stay in hostels because of the fun and relaxing atmosphere, friendliness of the guests and finally the price that can be as cheap as 15 US dollars for bed per night or even lower depending on the country. When you book a bed though at most of the hostels you’ll get free breakfast too.
What to expect when you book a bed in a hostel?
Although you can book a private room too, in most of the cases you book and pay for a bed in a dorm room. The bigger the room the cheaper the bed. Usually, these are bunk beds and can be double as well, which is a great solution for couples. Expect your bed that you paid for, to be in a room with other 3, 10, 20 or even more other travelers. With people coming and leaving all the time, it can get loud too. When you book at a hostel you’ll be spending the night with other people, that you’ve just met in that same room.
There are many very nice hostels around the world offering clean and comfortable accommodations for a great price. They have social areas, comfortable common spaces with couches such as a lounge area or outdoor terrace, even game rooms with football, or pool table for free where travelers can spend some time together. Hostels will also provide cable TV, computer rooms, free internet, and WiFi. A fully equipped kitchen for those that want to cook and a laundry would be available.
One shared bathroom will be available, which usually are toilets and showers at every level, but not in the rooms. There are exceptions though, in some rare cases when you can have a bathroom even in the dorm room. Be sure to bring your own toiletries and towels though. Some of the hostels may not provide them and will ask for an additional fee if you want to rent a towel.
You can find hostels at an amazing, central and safe location, within a walking distance to the main attractions with a very friendly atmosphere that will even offer free walking tours in the morning or free cooking classes.
Who can stay in hostels?
In general, you have to be at least 18 years old if you want to accommodate in a hostel without your parents. People that travel a lot, like backpackers usually will accommodate in hostels. They can be great for group vacations, for 4 or more traveling together that can book a dorm room for themselves and some of the hostels are family friendly too. Families traveling with kids won’t be allowed to stay in a shared big dorm room but instead can book a private room or one dorm if they are family of 3 or up. Hostels can be an awesome choice for students and youth travelers that want to party day and night, have fun and meet new people. Finally, solo travelers would never stay solo or alone in one of these hostels. They are a great spot for meeting people. Of course, rooms in the hostels can be mixed, where men and women can stay together or be female/male-only dorm rooms. If that’s what is important to you, today you can choose female-only not just a dorm room but a whole hostel.
How to behave?
While in a hotel you’ll get your privacy in your own room in hostel things tend to be a bit different. There are some attitudes that can be annoying and disrespectful to others when sharing a dorm room and staying at a hostel. Here are the basic, usual things to keep in mind when living in a communal space like a hostel and sharing the rooms, for sleeping, eating and socializing.
- The general rule is that we should be considerate to each other.
- Keep your stuff on your bed and avoid occupying more space of the room.
- Turning the light on in the dorm room at night when everyone is asleep it would be only acceptable in emergencies or must-do situations.
- Avoid making any noise when going into your bags at night or in the morning hours and
- it’s a good idea to mark your food in the fridge.
- Make sure when you use the kitchen to wash the dishes and leave it clean when done.
- Since hostels have many other social rooms for mingling and chatting a good roommate would live the dorm room and the bed for resting or for catching up a few spare minutes from chatting or socializing.
What makes a hostel differ from a hotel?
Not every hostel is cheap. Although they can’t be as luxurious as a 5-star hotel can, some 5 stars hostel can be so inventive, safe, offering you a quite unique experience and stay. They can be eco-friendly with a special awareness of the environment or boutique when located in old historic buildings with some story behind. The main difference from the hotels is in the atmosphere you’ll get into a hostel. Every hostel speaks for itself and there aren’t two of a kind. They tend to organize a lot of fun activities to engage the guest. But the interesting part is that you can take part in these events even if you’re not a guest in that hostel. That can be a great way to meet people even if you’re not staying there or if you want to check it out before you decide. The staff is more flexible and have a laid-back attitude, but always here to help.
The convenient part is that the people that work in the hostels are often tourists or travelers, just like you, that probably happened to work there in of an exchange for an accommodation and food, or locals. Either way, they are very open and easy going available to give you their suggestions and tips for where to go or what to do in the neighborhoods or to show you the easiest way to move around and in the city. Hostels often organize tours and the staff of the hostel can give you valuable advice about surrounding areas to cut on your worries.
The high point of any hostel is the social time spent with new but like-minded people most often from other parts of the world that happen to be there for the same reason as you are. Guests of the hostels feel more relaxed and flexible toward each other and won’t mind sharing the bathrooms or rooms where they sleep with other guests. In such an environment it’s quite easy to make friends.
Some hostels won’t offer 24-hour reception and others may have a curfew. So if you don’t return to the hostel in the specific time you may be left outside. Considering that you’ll be sleeping with people that you don’t know anything about, the safety may be the issue to many travelers. Hostels tend to be as safe as possible, but the thing is that if there isn’t a locker or a safe in the reception for your documents or valuables if any, your belongings are your own responsibility and if something is missing no one can guarantee you that you’ll be compensated for your loss. Best advice would be to keep an eye on your things and buy yourself a backpack with a locker instead.
How to choose a hostel?
When searching for a hostel you should take a closer look up into the reviews and see if that hostel will meet your needs, budget, and answer to what you are looking for, since there are hostels for every type of traveler whether is a backpacker, solo, groups, a couple, or families. See what hostels stress out on their sites, what kind of dorm or social rooms they have, what kind of experiences the previous guests had and what they have said about the hostel.
Hostels have different types of guests of various age groups. And the other thing that can tailor your decision is the location. In youth hostels, younger people would probably look for a lot of nightlife and these would be a bit louder. On the other hand, there are other hostels as well, where mature travelers stay, that can be located in remote areas or closer to nature. For women only, many hostels have opened their doors, giving solo female travelers comfortable and safety budget-oriented accommodation in these only for females hostels. If you do a little bit of research with no doubt you’ll find a nice hostel wherever you go. If you want to be in a company while traveling a hostel certainly is an option for you. And there are so many to choose from for any taste or budget.
Worth mentioning, just in case you are new to the traveling world: don’t do the obvious mistake and avoid booking too many days in advance. Hostels usually will have a spare bed and you don’t have to worry much about securing your bed in front. You may not like the atmosphere or something might bother you. While in another hostel you may experience the time of your life. Leave a room to change the hostel if something isn’t right.
Get social, travel and explore more at https://www.hostelworld.com. Here is where you can search for the best hostels worldwide.