Why you should book a hostel instead of a hotel on your next vacation, you can find out here. Hostels are much more than simple youth hostels or cheap flophouses!
How often have I heard the sentence “What? You booked a hostel? Don’t you have any money?” and have received astonished looks after my experience reports. In recent years, the hostel has become the cool brother of the somewhat outdated hotel. Meanwhile, there are even regular boutique / design hostels and the service is also first class. Time for a change of heart!
1) Reasonable prices
Ok, first things first! Of course, a hostel is, above all, much cheaper than a hotel. Often a bed here costs far less than half as much. In major European cities, you can get accommodations for as little as 8-10€ per night.
2) Fancy single/double rooms
Put the image of the youth hostel out of your mind! While the cheapest beds are in shared rooms with shared bathrooms – you can often be accommodated in a hostel just like in a hotel.
3) The atmosphere makes your vacation unforgettable
In a hostel you will meet many like-minded people, the atmosphere is usually much more relaxed and open than in a hotel: cozy common rooms and sometimes even a hostel bar make it easy to talk to each other.
4) Solo travelers find fast connection
You don’t find anyone to accompany you on your next trip? No problem, in a hostel you will find many who are traveling solo and already on the first evening there is a big chance to find yourself in an illustrious circle of new friends with whom you are already making plans for the next day!
5) Multiculture in a small space
While having your morning coffee you meet Pablo from Spain, Charlotte from France and Andrew from Canada. You can bring out your Spanish from school or cheer up the group with a few French swear words and also get some good tips for your next trip to the home countries of your new friends.
6) You meet walking Lonely Planet’s.
“Nah…the Eiffel Tower is totally crowded – you’ll wait hours. I went to the Arc de Triomphe yesterday, fabulous view and no waiting at all!”
Indeed! You’ll meet many experienced travelers here, some have even been on the road non-stop for a few years and can give you many valuable recommendations. Often you will be pointed to excursions and places you didn’t know about before.
7) Hostel staff are good friends and guides at the same time.
Of course, this also applies to the hostel staff: They are receptionists, moms, guides, janitors, cleaners and often cooks in one person!
The check-in desk/office is always open for your questions – usually you get a small introduction session directly upon arrival: your personal city map, recommended activities, great restaurants and important safety information.
8) You save a lot of time when planning your stay
In addition to tips, you can also book entire excursions and tours at many hostels. In Porto, for example, the hostel itself offered a free city tour. In Sofia you can even organize excursions to all the highlights in Bulgaria through the hostel in Sofia!
9) Internet is free
WiFi still costs extra in many hotels and usually not too scarce. In hostels, free WiFi is now a matter of course and it is not uncommon to find your own Internet terminal with a printer – so you can print your return ticket on the spot or Skype with your loved ones at home.
10) Breakfast included
In contrast to the past, many hotels today can easily compete with bed & breakfasts. Homemade pancakes, homemade bread, fresh scrambled eggs or even a whole breakfast buffet. I have experienced all of this in hostels! (is usually indicated under “Additional services / equipment”).
11) Cooking together
The communal kitchen is quite often the central meeting point and often people get together, cook something delicious and end the evening with funny conversations and a few glasses of wine.
12) You take away funny anecdotes
“I’ve only been working at this hostel for a year but I could already write a whole book”.
Due to the fact that a hostel is a melting pot of different characters and cultures, the chance of going home with a lot of unusual stories in your luggage is quite high 😉
13) Creative interior
Some hostels are true works of art – often the owners have simply given free rein to their creativity and thus transformed their house into a sight of its own.
In Pablo’s hostel in Bariloche, for example, each room is dedicated to a particular rock band and has been decorated with its own mural of a famous record cover.
14) Surprisingly comfortable and modern
Especially in bigger cities there are more and more new and modern design hostels. The market is highly competitive and meanwhile there are big companies like Generator, Meininger or Wombats vying for the favor of individual tourists and backpackers – there you will find things like a skybar, an art gallery or even a small swimming pool.
15) Different characters come together
The image of the hitchhiking backpacker is also long outdated. In hostels you meet a colorful mixture of students, classic backpackers, classic tourists, business travelers, couples and sometimes even small families.
So it can happen that you sit with Hermann in the garden with a beer and he tells you about his Africa expedition with the truck, back in the 80s, while you tell him about the wild nightlife in Madrid.
16) An opportunity to get to know the local culture
Due to the fact that you usually make friends with the hostel staff quite quickly, it is not uncommon to do something with them after work: so you quickly come into contact with locals. Often their friends also use the hostel as a central meeting point.
17) Making friends for life
During some hostel stays I have met people who have become good friends and have visited me at home. As I said, in hostels you meet many people who have similar views and attitudes!
18) You get great ideas
There are hardly more inspiring places than hostels – this is where I came up with the best ideas for articles and videos. In conversations, through stories told by others or incisive experiences.
19) Good location
Almost all the hostels I’ve stayed in so far have been very centrally located: in the center or in a trendy part of town. So you save not only time but also money for the bus or cab.
20) Homesickness has hardly a chance here
Due to the friendly and relaxed interaction with each other, the hostel quickly becomes a small substitute family for you – whether you travel alone or with friends, you will rarely be bored here!
21) Many additional services
Depending on the location, most hostels offer a service that is tailored to your needs – in addition to a laundry service, you will find, for example, a rental service for camping/hiking equipment in an area where there is a lot of hiking.
In Buenos Aires, for example, the hostel had bicycles available that you could rent for little money.
22) Great events
Especially in high season and on weekends you have the possibility to participate in in-house events: a typical Argentine asado in Buenos Aires, a wild party in Rome or a wine tasting with delicious local specialties in Porto.
23) Exceptional accommodation
Sometimes hostels offer accommodation that is completely out of the ordinary: for example, how about a night in an airplane in Stockholm, in a floating house in Serbia or in a cave in Turkey?
Of course, it is difficult to make general statements because each hostel is individual, so this article reflects my experiences that I have made during my travels and stays in hostels.
It is important to choose a hostel carefully in advance: pay attention to location, comments of other guests and the ratings e.g. at Hostelbookers
What are your reasons for booking a hostel instead of a hotel? Can you think of anything else that is important to you? Add to this list by leaving a comment! And feel free to share this article to finally convert your friends too 😉