THE TRUTH BEHIND STAYING IN HOSTELS
Hostels:he discount hotels of the world for all travelers. First thing that comes to mind when a parent or a first-time traveler hears the word ‘hostel’ is a disgusting run down building where rats frequently dwell and the stairwell has that clique image of the dark hallway with the flickering lights, or at least that’s what every ridiculous horror movie wants you to think. Images like this one…
The truth is, most hostels are amazing and the perfect place to stay when traveling. Clean, cheap, and friendly hostels have taken the world by storm—even outnumbering hotels in most major cities.
Granted, not all hostels are a beautiful paradise and some are not in the best shape, but neither are all hotels. Which scenario would you rather have: You walk into your $300 a night hotel to find it disgusting and run down, or show up at your $15 a night hostel to find it at the very least livable for the couple nights? And many times you show up to a hostel that you paid $15 for expecting the worst to find out it’s possibly one of the nicest places to stay (this will occur multiple times throughout your trip).
Many have young staff—some are locals and others turn out to be fellow travelers that ran out of money and found a job at that hostel. They can help guide you anywhere you need throughout the city and point out some of their favorite places to visit and go out. Unlike a hotel that tells you the same boring restaurants and places to visit, asking a hostel staffer and they’ll provide you with their own unique take on the places to go.
(Generator Hostel: Dublin, Ireland)
The place to meet other travelers?
Hostels are the perfect place to meet young, like-minded travelers that are looking for a good time. Hostels are like going to adult summer camp. Everyone is there to meet new people, see something new, and party every chance they have. And the best part? If you don’t like your roommates or the people you’ve met in the hostel, just wait until the next day when a new group will show up.
(Downtown Hostel Copenhagen)
Most hostels have a bar for guests and they always have a happy hour to attend, which is the best place to start the night. This brings people together and guarantees you an opportunity to meet people from around the world. So no matter the weather outside, you’ll always have a place to party! Grab a drink, throw down some liquid courage and start a conversation with someone! You will never have another opportunity to meet such amazing people who all have a different story to tell.
Hostels offer anything from private rooms to dorm-style 16 person coed (obviously this is the cheapest option). The more in a room, the better your chances are of meeting some really cool people. But, just as much chance of having loud, snoring, obnoxious roommates.
Some quick tips and facts about the rooms:
1. Every bed has a pillow, blanket, and some sort of chest to store belongings
2. The storage does not come with a lock, buy a lock!
3. Sometimes towels are provided or can be rented from the check-in area.
4. Bathrooms might be within the room or a community bathroom for guys and girls on the same floor
5. Bring shower sandals, shampoo/soap, ear plugs, and that eye cover thing that I always see people wearing on planes
The beds vary everywhere from bunk beds stacked on top of each other to my personal favorite: your own little bed cubby in the wall with a curtain (they are awesome and so much privacy!).
(Maverick hostel, Budapest)
I know everyone is obsessed with the new AirBnB craze where they say “don’t just visit a city, live in a city” which is all fine and dandy but for the most part you are literally renting an apartment that happens to be in a local neighborhood. This seems like a a great idea, but you miss out on the sense of community a hostel provides. A hostel provides the chance to meet a myriad of people from all different backgrounds and places of origin, a place to grab a beer at happy hour, or a place where people are picked up to go on the local pub crawl.
Do hostels provide any special amenities?
Besides the 24/7open bar and the opportunity to meet people from around the world, hostels provides everything a hotel does and more. Hostels are equipped with all the information you can ask for about museums, transportation, tours, and more. They offer discounts on pub crawls, local attractions, and many are pick-up spots for walking tours and more. Many offer fun activities that are relaxing and allow you to meet people, like yoga class, wine tasting, and contests to win drinks.
Whether you’re a partier, smoker, or someone looking for a relaxing place,the abundance of hostels means there is one for everyone.
Why would you choose a hotel over a hostel?
Looking for a fluffed up pillow with a mint on it? You want the luxury of room service and a bell boy? You have your whole life to have that when you travel and when you have a family or a significant other you will be dishing out money to pay for the best for you and your family. So why not travel light, cheap, and stay at hostels with the millions of other like-minded travelers? Back to dorm-style living, staying in bunk beds, and community bathrooms.
My top hostel choices:
Generator Hostel: Dublin, Ireland: This hostel is attached to the old Jameson Factory. The rooms are big, the beds are comfy, and the bathroom facilities are top-notch. On the first floor, a massive bar with plenty of seating, great location to the always busy bar scene, as well as a quick walk to the Guinness Factory.
Florence Plus: Florence, Italy: This is its own little hotel—every room has there own private bathroom. Big, outdoor lounge area with a bar and a pool serves foods and has a happy hour. 10 minute walk to the city center.
Flying Pig hostel: Amsterdam, Netherlands: There are 2 flying pig hostels in Amsterdam and both serve their own purpose: one for extreme partiers and the other for a more relaxing vibe. Equipped with a fully-functioning round-the-clock bar this hostel is for the pothead at heart with their very own smoke room where you can bring whatever marijuana back and hang out with the other guests.
Maverick Hostel: Budapest, Hungary: I probably love this one because it was the first hostel I ever stayed at, but this was such a clean hostel, I don’t care. A large kitchen area to make food and relax was open to everyone, beds were little cubbies inside the wall with your own little private curtain, and it was in the heart of the city with all the best bars and restaurants. Bonus: It costs about $10 a night.