When planning a vacation and looking for economical accommodations, I highly recommend staying in a hostel. A hostel is great resource for a clean bed, a hot shower, plus a way to learn more about the area through staff and fellow travelers.
Recently, while in the U.K., I had the opportunity to stay at a few really great hostels. I was a little anxious about this at first, as I had never stayed in one before, but I was pleasantly surprised!
Local Charm and Comfort
Going in, I had a few misconceptions about my choice of lodgings, such as: they are dirty, not well maintained and have a very sterile environment. All of these proved to be false.
While I can’t account for all hostels, the ones I stayed in were very clean, well-cared for, and in fact were better than some hotels I’ve stayed in! All were very comfortable and homey with their own unique charm.
How Hostels Keep Your Belongings Safe
I was also under the impression that they would be unsafe, and my personal belongings would surely be stolen. Wrong.
Each traveler gets a locker for their valuables such as laptops, iPhones, etc.
TIP: Remember to bring a lock, they aren’t always provided.
There also seems to be an unwritten code among hostel guests, “You don’t touch what isn’t yours”. I never had a sense that I wasn’t safe or that I had to worry about any strange-looking people lurking about the hallways. (I’m sure I looked strange enough in my socks and sandals…a story for another time).I never had a sense that I wasn’t safe or that I had to worry about any strange looking people lurking about the hallways.Click To Tweet
Can You Find Privacy in a Hostel?
Lastly, I thought about privacy. I mean, come on, how private can these places possibly be? Well that depends on how much privacy you really need. There were quiet areas where you could go relax with a book or look over the pictures you had taken that day, and there were common areas, where everyone gathered and chatted with friends or made new friends.
Sleeping in a Hostel
The dorms or sleeping areas, were just that, sleeping areas. Nobody partied or stayed up chatting. When it was time for the lights to go out, they went out and people settled in and went to sleep. Now and then you would see the glow of someone’s phone, but once tucked into your bunk it was quiet and comfortable.
Speaking of quiet, if you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs. If you know you snore, be courteous and try nose strips that help alleviate snoring. In one place I stayed, a guest talked in his sleep and scared me half to death. It wasn’t just talking, it was shouting. Once I realized what was happening, I put my earbuds in, turned on some soothing music and slept like a baby.
What About the Bathrooms in a Hostel?
Shared bathrooms were another of my concerns. And by shared I mean boys and girls using the same one. I had to quickly get over my prudish American mentality and suck it up…I was indeed going to have to share a bathroom. Fortunately all had full, locking doors. No one can come barging in on you while doing your thing.
The showers were also shared but private. It was sort of like camping, but indoors. I did catch a glimpse of a young man walking down the hall in a pair of flip flops and tight jockey shorts, but it didn’t bother him, so why should it bother me? And honestly, why should it bother me? We’re all made the same, we’re all human beings.
Save Loads of Money When You Stay in a Hostel
All-in-all hostels aren’t for everyone. If you’re traveling with young kids, probably not for you. But if you’re by yourself or a small group, they are an economical way to travel to places that can be costly to visit.
The most expensive place I stayed was $23.00 per night! I mean come on…that’s crazy cheap.
Also, not every hostel I stayed in was as fabulous as the ones pictured here, but they were all clean, centrally located and run by very friendly and knowledgeable staff. All offered free coffee and tea. Some offered a continental breakfast for $1.50, and all offered full kitchens where you could cook your own meals.
So if you’re planning a trip abroad and having a hard time budgeting the big three – airfare, hotel and food – seriously consider a hostel.
Resources for Planning a Hostel Stay
However you decide to go…always know before you go…and just travel.
Guest contributor Denise Muecke has been in the travel industry for over 10 years. Her agency, Just Travel, is full service ~ from cruise to weekend getaways, focusing on the road less traveled. Click here to visit the Just Travel website and start planning your next adventure!
Denise is also the expert we turn to when we need to Ask an Agent!
What to Bring When You Stay in a Hostel
Breathe-right strips if you snore
Towel/Wash cloth (I recommend a large chamois, takes up less room in your luggage and dries quickly.)
Change/coins in local currency if the place you’re staying offers a laundry facility
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