When I mention the word “hostel” to my friends, nearly everyone associates it with the horror movie. Really now?! Why would I even sleep there if I knew it was that dangerous? or that scary? Have you tried it? Probably not. However, I can understand why a lot of people would cringe at the idea of spending the night in the same room with complete strangers. I know this because I was just like you. I had second thoughts and I was scared for my life.
Well, my sister introduced me to it. Of course I didn’t like the idea. I am on vacation so I need to stay at a hotel, comfortably change clothes, and not worry about my actions or my stuff. I believe my sister is what you people call “posh” so I think I didn’t have the right to disagree. We stayed at this hostel in Singapore and the rest, as they say, is…history. Over the span of 4 years, I slept in about 20 hostels. I am not trying to convert you to be a hostel-lover. I am just sharing with you the reasons why I like it and why you should consider it once in your life!
1. Hostels are safe
I am a living testament that can tell you that hostels are safe. I am still alive writing this blog, right? Never have I ever been robbed or killed, “you don’t say?!” There are risks everywhere, even at your own bedroom. Shit happens. If you are too afraid, then the scope of what you can know and experience is limited. You’ll never know unless you try. The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t only apply to people. I think you can also apply it to experiences or places. With that said, don’t judge a hostel (or anything for that matter), until you have actually tried it.
2. Hostels are clean
Unlike the popular opinion, the hostels I’ve stayed in are clean, even cleaner than some hotels I know. A good hostel has cleaners who scrub the bathroom floor, mop the kitchen, and clean the bedrooms daily. Beds are comfy and the toilets are squeaky clean. I stayed at a hostel in London where the cleaners are Filipino, so I am sure that the place would be spotless. 😉 However, for the lazy ass guys out there, some hostels may require you to remove the pillow cases, bed sheets, and covers before checking out. This could easily put you off, but it’s just minor work. Done in a minute, no biggie. If you really don’t want to lift a finger, just make sure the hostel doesn’t require you to do the extra work.
3. Hostels are worth it
Hostels are way cheaper than hotels. The average price ranges from $10 to around $40 a night depending on the amenities and location. You can argue that renting a room can be cheaper. Yes, you are correct, but for me, hostels offer way more than your average rental home. I am not saying hotels and homes are bad. I’m just widening your options. Explore and find out!
You don’t fancy having someone else in your room? Hostels offer private single rooms, you know. It also offers twin bed (separated beds) and double bed (similar to a queen-sized bed) rooms but where’s the fun in that? Try out the dorms with 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 16 beds or even more. Different hostels offer different kind of accommodation, but bunk beds are usually used to maximize the space.
You can opt to stay at dorms exclusively for ladies/men or mixed-type dorms where the opposite sex can share a room. There are private and public shower rooms and toilets. Some hostels even have lockers for added security for your personal things. For hotel and room access, the key varies from the traditional one to access codes and card passes. Some if not most includes breakfast, WIFI, lobby for video games/watching movies, bar, restaurant, own kitchen and much more. Go out of your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe, your comfort zone will widen.
4. Hostel staff are very helpful
Don’t know what to do? Don’t know where to go? Just ask the hostel staff and they can point you to the right direction. They usually give free maps. They can plan out your itinerary throughout the duration of your stay if you have none. Tons of activities and hot spots can be recommended to you – city tours, events, best restaurants, nearest grocery store, nearest train station, and nearest whatever. They are very helpful and it’s their pleasure to assist you.
5. You have the chance to have a gorgeous/cool roommate
You know what it feels like to have a roommate from all over the world. I’ve shared a room with a European, Asian, Canadian, North and South American. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’d end up booking the same hostel room with the prettiest faces you have ever seen.
6. You have the chance to meet amazing people
Don’t want to wander alone? Hostels are the best place to find someone with planned activities you can join. Be confident, introduce yourself, and ask around. Number one rule is don’t be shy.
Want to relax after a long day out? Hang out at the lobby, watch a movie, play a video game, or drink beers with fellow travelers. You can never relive that day. Sharing this moment with strangers is a unique and fulfilling experience.
Most often than not, you will be rubbing elbows with a backpacker, a person who travels for a long period of time with just a backpack. I knew people who traveled for 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, etc. They will become an instant inspiration. It will open up possibilities that maybe someday you can do long-term travel too. You will learn a lot from them from travel tips to itineraries. I, for one, learned that a guy can travel around Asia for 6 months with a budget of $6,000, inclusive of beer allowances. ha!
You will come across with a lot of people coming from different walks of life, from young-bloods to mommies. I met a 40-something lady who hikes mountains for days, a teenager doing her gap year from high school, a guy who works for Couchsurfing, and a lot more. Your horizon will expand as you get to know more people and share each other’s crazy life stories.
The most precious thing you can take with you from travels are shared memories. Some of the people I met in hostels are still my friends who I can talk to and chat with ’till now.
In the end, just like traveling, staying at a hostel can give you either a good or a bad experience depending on what happened and what you really like. One negative thing I can think of is that some hostels can get pretty loud especially if it’s near a party place, these hostels will offer earplugs though, to mitigate the noise. As for my experience, the positive things greatly outweigh the negatives that’s why I still choose a hostel over a hotel. I have given you reasons but it’s all up to you. I believe it’s worth the try if you haven’t.
Do it on your next travel. You’ll never know, you might like hostels too. Use hostelworld.com for reserving your room. Get the top-rated place for the best experience!
Listed below are the following hostels I recommend:
(Just change the check-in and check-out dates, and take note that some hostels have age limits)
Too bad I forgot my first hostel..
Prague, Czech Republic
London, England, UK
Brighton, England, UK