When you’re traveling for a long period of time, finding a fun, clean, safe place to stay is a must. If you’re on a budget, staying in hostels a great option, when looking for affordable accommodation. If you’ve never stayed in one before, you should consider the following:
Some city hotels are really expensive, especially if you’re a solo traveler. This is when your research pays off, drop your usual grade of hotel, say by one star and compare it with hostels in the area. You should be pleasantly surprised at the outcome and exactly how much you can get for your money.
Before you do anything, be real about what you are looking for in your accommodation. If you don’t mind living without creature comforts or sharing then tick the hostels‘ box.
If you’re one of those people who needs and loves, their own space. Who isn’t willing to compromise in terms of sharing your space, then book a private room in your hostel.
HOSTELS V HOTELS
So the major difference between hostels and hotels, aside from the fact, that they are a fraction of the cost of hotels, is that in hostels you share everything. From the dormitory-style bunk bed sleeping arrangements to sharing bathrooms and kitchens. You usually have the option between single or mixed gender rules.
Either way, it’s pretty rare that you will find yourself alone in a hostel. Community living is perfect if you’re a social person, who enjoys a happy, social vibe, where they are open to meeting new people from different backgrounds. The highpoint of most hostels is the communal space, where you can connect with fellow travelers.
Hostels are no longer just for young backpackers, gap year students and social travelers. The growth in so-called boutique hostels and hostels now incorporating more private rooms as well as the usual dormitory option, means if you’re a ‘grown’ traveler, you can still get your needs met for an affordable price. By doing your research you can find the perfect choice for you in terms of decor and noise levels.
The only thing you may have to compromise on which is the same for any hostel you go for is what I call ‘community noise”. From external and internal doors opened throughout the day and sometimes the night too, to that irritating person on the sofa who plays foreign tv shows through their phone, without headphones.
When your budget is tight, finding a great place to stay at a reasonable price is everything. Although hostels tend to lack some of the things you get in hotels, like a hairdryer or an iron, they answer a basic need for budget accommodation. Even if you are staying centrally, choosing to stay in a hostel can represent excellent value for money.
Why? Unlike hotels, you are basically paying for a bed, no hidden extras – towels and in Europe depending on which country you are visiting, the daily city tax, are small, which means those extras aren’t going to torpedo your travel budget.
EAT FOR LESS
Where possible try and get a meal (either breakfast or an evening meal) included in the price of your hostel. Eating together will allow you to connect with other travelers and it’s a nice introduction to the culinary side of the place you are visiting. If you have any food allergies, do your research on the hostel before you arrive, to find out whether they can cater to your needs and if they don’t do they have any alternative local alternatives.
YOU CAN NEGOTIATE
The majority of hostels are designed to accommodate backpackers or in and out travelers, who stay a few nights. If you know you are going to be staying at a hostel, for a week or more see if you can negotiate a reduced rate. A lot of hostel owners would rather have a paying visitor, than an empty bed.
VIVA LA DIFFERENCE
A lot of hotels are very similar in terms of their look and feel, no two hostels are the same. Hostels tend to have a more distinctive theme and unique decor. Due to their diverse price points, you have more options to explore. However, remember themed hostels, tend to be very popular, so make sure you book sooner rather than later, to avoid the disappointment of not being able to stay in them.
Hostels by nature of their layout always have a central community space. This space provides travelers with a wonderful way to meet other travelers to share stories, plan trips or play some music or games. If you’re not the most social person, this is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet people.
You can learn a lot from other travelers as they will know a lot about the places you’ve been and the places you want to go. First-hand experience is always better than any guide book. What you’ll get are little gems that aren’t in the guidebook and link directly to your particular travel experience. Also, don’t forget hostel staff are a wealth of local knowledge so use them.
There’s nothing worst than sharing with someone who drives you crazy with their weird habits/rituals. Before you lose it with them, consider this, turn things upside down first. Are you that perfect? What can you do to be more considerate of the people you are sharing with? Grown people talk to each other, so start by having a conversation with them.
They may genuinely be unaware of how much they are bugging you. Your approach is everything, so be respectful and pick your moment. If you still get no joy, you might want to speak to hostel staff or move rooms. Life is too short to have your trip ruined by someone you’re never going to see again.
ENJOY YOUR TRIP
Travel opens your eyes not just to new lands, but to new cultures and people. Being able to do that on a budget has never been more affordable thanks to hostels, couchsurfing and social media networks. Don’t delay make those travel plans today!