I read a post recently where the blogger was knocking hostels and implying that they are only good for younger travelers, you know the twenty-something backpackers. That viewpoint slightly offended me considering that I’m thirty-something and prefer a rolly bag as opposed to a backpack. I mean, I didn’t have my first hostel experience until I was 31 and I loved it! I don’t stay in hostels on every trip I take but they are great for a number of reasons. Affordability being #1.
Here are 5 factors I personally consider when selecting a hostel.
I tend to look for hostels that are near the city center of whatever city I’m visiting. I want to be in close proximity to whatever attractions I have on my itinerary. If it’s a city with a metro then it would be great to find a hostel that’s close to the metro stop for obvious reasons.
Read the reviews!!! Reviews give great insight to the cleanliness, the staffs’ friendliness or lack thereof and sometimes they’ll even include tips to keep in mind when booking your stay. For example: bring a lock to secure your luggage! 😉
One of my favorite reasons for choosing hostels is the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers. Many hostels will offer FREE staff organized events like walking tours and game or movie nights. This is especially helpful if you’re a solo traveler and don’t want to be alone during your entire trip. While in India the hostel I stayed at planned a night out on the town and I got to experience party life in New Dehli. The hostel I booked in Dublin had a wine and cheese night that led to an interesting debate on global politics and other nerdy topics. Another freebie to look out for is free breakfast… if it’s not free it’ll be much cheaper than eating out.
4. Privacy/ Security
Safety First! Always! As you scroll through hostel options keep in mind that you want to feel safe wherever you are! You may want to make sure that luggage lockers are available to secure your belongings. If you don’t bring your own lock you’ll probably be able to buy one from the front desk. Also, sleeping privacy is something to consider. You’ll find options with and without curtains around the bed. If you feel some type of way about people seeing you sleep then maybe look for a hostel that has privacy curtains. It’s also helpful if you want to be on a device late at night without disturbing the others in the room.
Okay, seriously, unless you are a high time baller with a load of extra cash lying around the likelihood is that you are traveling on a budget. What better way to economize and stay within your budget than affordable accommodations. I didn’t look up the statistics or anything but I would think that after airfare, room-and-board could be the next highest travel expense.
My favorite hostel search engine is HostelWorld.com. There are a ton of filters to help you find exactly what you are looking for at the right price!
If hostel life isn’t for you then check out AirBnB… it’s popular for affordability with a homey feel.
Have you stayed in a hostel before? Stop by the comments and tell me about your experience… would love to connect.