5 Perks of Staying in a Hostel

Josh and I enjoy a variety of accommodations when we travel.  However, we have realized that when we first decide to visit a destination we always tend to look up hostels first.  While it’s true that not all hostels are created equal, there are some pretty great ones out there.  So we thought we would just give a quick overview of why we enjoy staying in a hostel over many hotels.

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1. Easy on the Budget

We enjoy spending our money on experiences and activities, not where we sleep (most of the time anyway).  Besides, when we travel we are hardly in the room anyway.  So hostels are a great option to help travelers who want to save some cash – especially solo travelers.

Also many hostels have kitchens, and we enjoy having the option to purchase food at local markets and being able to cook it ourselves.  Not only does this save some cash, but it can also be kinda fun!  Some hostels even have free or inexpensive meals!  For example, on a recent stay in Seattle we had free breakfast, and at a hostel on Miami’s South Beach they had a burger BBQ each weekend!

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Liz cooking breakfast in the hostel before heading out for a full day on South Beach

2. Convenient Location & Transportation

When we travel, it’s important for us to be in the middle of the action.  We do not want to waste time if we don’t have to.  Many hostels are located in central areas, nearby popular attractions.  Some are even in historic buildings or districts where hotels can be very expensive.  So hostels are a great way to get the location, without the high price tag.  Lastly, hostels are typically near public transportation.  Making it extremely easy to get around.

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View of Edinburgh Castle from Our Hostel! – Castle Rock Hostel

3. Home Away From Home

The more we stay in hostels, the more we appreciate the homey atmosphere that many of them have.  Having a kitchen to make yourself some coffee or tea, curling up on a comfy sofa watching a movie or playing a board game, it’s a wonderful way to relax while traveling.  Sometimes hotels can just feel so lonely, stale, and impersonal; so hostels just offer a warmer atmosphere altogether.  Now, not all hostels are created equal – so do your research.  Some are extremely basic, while others are more homey and comfy.

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Inviting common living room at the Sweet Peas Hostel. Great place to drink your morning coffee and relax by the windows. Asheville NC

4. Social Atmosphere

While we’ve grown a bit out of the party hostels, we do enjoy the social atmosphere very much!  It’s great to meet other travelers from around the world and make new friends.  Lastly, many hostels put together activities – such as tours or happy hours.  So there is always something to do!

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This is a great common space to socialize and see what is going on in the area.

5. Informative Workers & Guests

Over the course of our travels, we have discovered that some of the best advice we’ve received has been from other travelers at hostels.  We’ve learned about hidden restaurant gems, as well as tourist rip offs or scams.  We have also noticed that workers at the hostels seem to be very helpful with maps and advice, without sending you to places just so they can get a kick back.

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Thank You Derrick at Miami Hostel for being so cool and hospitable. Made out stay great!

So those are our top reasons for staying in a hostel when we travel.  We may not choose a hostel every time we travel, but it is definitely the first type of accommodation that we research.  We do strongly recommend that you review multiple websites and hostel reviews because hostels vary widely in their amenities, service, and prices.  You get what you pay for, and some of our experiences have been better than others.  Customer reviews are valuable for this type of accommodation.

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Sometimes it all about location and practicality. Historic Dublin District – Barnacles Hostel Dublin

Not sure if a hostel is right for you?  Check out our most popular post:  What Are Hostels?  5 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Happy Travels!

How / Where to Book

In the past, hostels were not included in most mainstream hotel booking engines.  However, times are changing!  You can now find many hostels easily book them online.

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5 perks of hostels

 

21 thoughts on “5 Perks of Staying in a Hostel”

  1. Hi there! Started reading a little while ago and just wanted to drop a note to say how much I enjoy your blog! It’s really fun to travel vicariously through you all. Thanks!

  2. Well, obviously I wouldn’t have met you guys if not for staying in the same hostel in Toronto. That was my only hostel experience. I’m a little mixed on them. I think I’m OK with it for myself. I’m just not sure I can convince my wife to stay in a room with others. We’re so partial to historic inns and B&Bs now. We’re not fans of hotels unless it’s something I get on Priceline. Love the affordability of hostels and the fact that everyone there seems to be more of a traveler, if that makes sense.

    1. Hey – so true, you never know when you will meet someone new at the hostel on your way to go get a beer! 🙂

      We definitely have times when we don’t feel up to sharing a room, in those cases we will look for private rooms. We actually just stayed at a hostel in Fort Lauderdale, FL last week and it was an entire apartment… and we had it all to ourselves for $50 bucks a night total! Not bad. It had a pool too, but we didn’t have time to use it. We were exhausted, and a bit sunburned from a day at the beach (will we ever learn to put on enough sunblock!).

      Cheers!
      – Liz & Josh

    1. Awesome – thanks so much Jessica!!! We appreciate it and will keep it going 🙂

      I love the Grand Tetons, haven’t been there in years though. I didn’t realize there was a hostel in the area, so that is great news! We are planning a trip to Yellowstone and the surrounding area next summer, so we will definitely need to check it out.

      Happy Travels!

      Liz

  3. I used to work for International Youth Hostels. After 9/11 we set up a programme with UNESCO and Peace One Day Youth Hostels for Peace and International Understanding and awarded plaques to YHs in Assisi, Blue Mountains (Aus), Bizerte (Tunisia), Dachau, Enniskillen, Hiroshima, Jerusalem, New York, Verdun, where in 2003 we ran a 12 month peace volunteer programme. Youth Hostels build peace and never has our world needed peace so much. http://www.peaceoneday.org do something on 21 September for peace!

  4. Awesome article guys! Convinced me that hostels are the way to go. Quick question: Im a first time traveller, planning to go to rio de Janeiro next year for the world cup. Have you been there and do you know of any good hostels you recommend staying at?

    1. Hi there Velekiri – thanks for the comment!

      Unfortunately, we have not yet made it to Brazil so we are not very familiar with the area and we haven’t stayed at any hostels down there. We would recommend reviewing some of the online websites for hostel booking that we recommended above (hostelworld.com, hostelbookers.com, hostels.com, etc.) and check out the reviews and recommendations by others who have already stayed in the area. Those websites usually have lots of information and ratings from other travelers who have stayed there.

      Cheers!
      – Liz & Josh

  5. Great post! I’ve stayed in a couple of hostels so far, but was a bit weirded out about sharing a room with several other strangers. There are a lot of benefits though. When my parents, sister and I stayed in a hostel in Chile, we met some pretty nice people.

    1. Thanks Jonathan! Yes, you can meet some wonderful people in hostels – the social aspect is a great perk! But many hostels do have the option of private rooms, so if privacy is a concern, there is that option out there. Not all hostels offer private rooms, but many of them do! Sometimes (especially toward the end of a trip) we don’t feel like sharing either, so we’ll pay a bit more to book a private. Still much cheaper than a hotel!

      Happy travels!
      – Liz & Josh

  6. I think that number 3 and number 4 are two of the best, but number 5 has its perks also. I am a hosteler for life 🙂

    Glad to connect with y’all! Look forward to following your journey.

    1. Thanks Andy – we really enjoy them as well. Lots of perks that some people don’t realize, and not all hostels are created equal…that’s for sure! Happy travels!

      – Liz & Josh

  7. I totally agree with you guys. When people think about hostels they all picture a dirty place with no lights and lots of bugs, but that doesn’t mean hostel at all. I’ve stayed in lovely places, and as you guys wrote, the best thing is their location, kitchen availability and a friendly and easygoing atmosphere. As you can see, I love them! 🙂 Happy travels

  8. Have to agree with all the reasons you’ve listed for staying in hostels. I’ve been a big fan of hostel life, and been lucky to stay in some pretty great ones, although I am finding that I’m starting to enjoy my own space a bit more as time goes. Still I’d always recommend hostels whenever asked.

    1. Thanks Carl! We agree that as we’ve gotten older we tend to lean more toward private rooms, if they have them for a reasonable price — especially at the end of a long trip when we may be pretty exhausted. But still, other times we decide it’s worth saving the money to share – like during our recent trip to Miami’s South Beach. We saved a lot by sharing, but we were hardly in the room anyway so we were ok with it.

      Happy travels!
      – Liz & Josh

  9. Hi Liz & Josh,

    Great post! I personally love hostels.
    I would add that in a hostel, you find actually everything you need as a traveler, starting with laundry (not per item, so cheap), information, Internet, and as you mentioned kitchen (unfortunately not in Asia where I am currently, and that is a real lack, I would once in a while so much love to go to the market and cook something for myself; moreover, kitchens are always very sociable places where you meet fellow travelers).
    Where I slightly disagree is when you write: you get what you paid for. In my experience, the more expensive hostels are not always the better ones (don’t go for too cheap, of course).
    All in all, I think hostels can improve immensely your travel experience.
    Once again, great post, I agree with all that you wrote
    Cheers
    Gilles

    1. Thanks for the comment Gilles! I agree, it is wonderful to be able to go to the market and cook a little something, and kitchens really provide a social atmosphere. And you are correct that there are always exceptions when it comes to the saying “you get what you pay for,” but I’ve found it to be a good general rule. We have definitely had our share of good (and bad) surprises!

      Happy travels in Asia!

      – Liz

  10. Hi Liz, hi Josh,

    what a great post! I noticed at the end you recommend to check out a banner, but I could not find any. Do you recommend booking hostels directly through their website? This is what we do actually as Hostels save their commission, not paying booking platforms. Just wondering 🙂

    All the best,
    Matt

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