Staying In Hostels – The Reality Check
Whoever is going on a long term trip will end up staying at a hostel at one point during their travels.
Unless you have plenty of money to spend…
If you just started planning your backpacking trip, you might be unsure of whether or not to stay at a hostel because of some negative stories you have heard. Or, like me, you will ask yourself if you are too old to stay at a hostel.
Good news – most stories are not true!
In fact, staying in a hostel can be a great experience and enrich your trip. Many of the negative stories about staying in a hostel are because of some bad single experiences. Overall hostels are a great way to meet fellow travelers, make new friends and help you to travel longer, for less money.
It is also a great opportunity to exchange tips with other travelers.
Here are some common falsehoods about staying in a hostel!
They Are Dangerous
Most hostels are very safe. The people staying in hostels are just like you: travelers on a budget. Generally people are very respectful of your stuff and privacy.
However, it is always worth doing some research online about the hostel prior to booking.
Check their reviews and if they offer safes and locker (make sure to bring your own lock).
With that in mind and your own good judgment, safety should not be an issue.
Hostel = Packed Dormitories
Yes, hostels have dormitories that you will be sharing with other people. That’s the idea of hostels. That doesn’t mean though that you will be squished. Every traveler gets their own bed.
Personally I avoid dormitories (because I need my privacy and because of my light sleep).
Many hostels also have private accommodation either with private or shared bathroom. Those private rooms are usually still cheaper than a room in a budget hotel.
But it’s worth doing the price comparison.
They Are Dirty
Probably because they are a cheap option people assume that hostels will be dirty inside.
Yes, some hostels are dirty. But so are some hotels and other accommodation.
Bear in mind, that their business is dependent on good online reviews, just as any hotel.
It’s in their best interest to provide clean accommodation.
And again, some research beforehand and reading guest reviews will help you to avoid unclean and rundown hostels.
Hostels Are Only For Young People
It depends on the destination and kind of hostel, but overall this statement isn’t true.
You will be surprised at how many older people stay in hostels! It’s not only the younger generation that needs to manage a small budget.
A great thing about meeting the older travelers is that they often have amazing insights and great advice to give to younger people.
Having said that, I already consider myself as part of the “older generation”.
You Have To Queue For The Bathroom
Yes, that can and will happen. But the good news is that you will get used to it very quickly.
Hostels usually have enough shower and toilet facilities available to cater the amount of guests they can accommodate. However, it is always a good idea to plan your shower times for when it is less busy.
Same as for the rooms, the facilities get cleaned daily by the staff. In any case, always pack a pair of flip flops to wear in the shower.
It Is Noisy
Travelling is tiring and most people staying at a hostel really just want to get a good night’s sleep.
If you have a super light sleep, ear plugs might be the solution for you. Also, listening to some soothing music or audio books can help.
There are indeed “party hostels”, which I try to avoid. They are usually located in the center of a city and are easy to spot.
Again, research should help you to find or avoid these hostels depending on your preferences.