Why Staying in a Hostel is Awesome.

by | Oct 15, 2012 | Travel Tips | 14 comments

 “Aren’t you afraid someone is going to steal all of your stuff?”
“What if you get murdered in your sleep?”
“People there are just so… dirty.”
“You’ll end up with bed bugs!”
“Haven’t you seen that movie?!”

I have heard it all, every negative remark regarding hostels.  People think that hostels are dirty, smelly, unsanitary and unsafe. Stained bed sheets, bed bugs, filthy bathrooms; the list goes on. Thankfully, they never stopped me from trying it out myself.

When I was planning my first trip, hotels didn’t even cross my mind. For one, I would never have been able to afford traveling around Europe if I had stayed in hotels and I knew that, even before I left Canada. My first experience in a hostel was a great introduction. Eighteen years old, fresh off the plane in Dublin, Ireland, alone. The only thing I knew was where I was staying: Barnacles, a hostel located in Temple Bar. Arriving there was like a fresh of breath air in the midst of my inner nervousness.

From that first hostel on, I’ve had pretty good luck. It’s true that there are some hostels that fit with the negative judgements. I’ve stayed in hostels with some nasty looking bedsheets, with bed bugs quickly infecting one bed to another, and some that weren’t in the safest location. However, the majority of hostels that I have been to have held nothing but wonderful experiences. A traveler I met in Chiang Mai once said that it didn’t matter how much money he might have, he would always prefer hostels over hotels due to the friends he made there. Hostels are a hub of socialization, making it especially ideal for the solo traveler looking to make new friends.  Along with creating new friendships, things also become a bit cheaper when you’re able to split costs on meals, taxis, nights out, etc. The only reason it might be more expensive is because you’re having such a great time!

Unlike a hotel, where your day of adventure is finished when you walk through the doors into your private room, a hostel offers continuous excitement even after your day of exploring a new destination has finished. Hostel staff offer a multitude of activities geared towards your age group and your preferences and you often have the choice of a dorm or private room to suit your privacy needs. As a fairly introverted person I do enjoy the occasional night in a hotel or bed and breakfast on my travels, but not often. For me, the benefits of staying in a hostel far outweigh the need for some space.

Some of my greatest adventures have begun in hostels, with friends that only twenty minutes before had been strangers.

I would recommend hostels to all of my friends, especially if you’re looking for a place to socialize with like-minded people.Staying in hostels has taught me a lot about life and about myself. It makes you realize your limits, forces you out of your comfort zone and into excitement. Hostels have taught me to slow down, to appreciate things, how to break doors down(even if that was an accident), the importance of eye masks, and how to get along with just about every type of person there is. So, even if you are a lover of hotels, I still say try a hostel at least once! It might be fun, you might hate it and realize why you do love hotels, or it might change the way you think about things in general.

Do you prefer hostels or hotels? What has been your best (or worst) hostel experience?

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