Hostels have such a bad reputation in America, it’s not even funny.
I don’t think it’s even based off any real information, just the movie!
Hostels are one of the cheapest accommodation options around the world! It’s especially best for solo travelers since you can meet so many other travelers too! I like to research hostels extensively before booking one online. I read many reviews, browse the internet and ensure that what’s being advertised isn’t false. This way I avoid any unwanted issues.
Hostels are dormitory accommodation available to anyone. Thus, you are to share a room with others. Some offer private rooms for a higher price too, if you really need it. Hostels also offer ladies-only rooms too! The style of the facilities depends on the hostel itself. Some hostels have rooms with a sink and mirror for brushing your teeth and getting ready. However, the showers will be shared and you’ll have to carry your toiletries to and from the showers. The showers could be quite private, and they could also not be; all depends on the style. Some showers are all by each other but you get your own individual room and can lock the door behind you. Others may simply have a curtain, or nothing at all. If there’s a curtain or nothing at all, then I’m sure the hostel separates the showers be gender. Otherwise if there are doors and locks, everyone shares them; at least in my experience thus far.
Aside from the facilities, in the room the hostel will provide a bed with sheets, pillow, blanket and a locker of some sort; so bring a lock! Some people don’t even use the lockers, its kind of a traveler thing where you trust that I won’t touch your stuff and you won’t touch mine. But if you are paranoid or simply not so trustworthy, you can use the locker! Some hostels are quite strict about curfews, security, other people who aren’t staying at the hostel, and noise late at night but you can read all about that through their description and reviews.
Hostels usually have a lounge of some sort, maybe even a cafe and/or a bar as well. Travelers can easily mingle inside the hostel anywhere they are! Some hostels even have kitchens so people can use them; they know that people are on a budget and can easily save by cooking their own meals! Most, if not all, hostels also organize events so check them out! Also, there’s usually free wifi so you can always stay connected or plan out your stay there! I remember using the hostel’s wifi to simply map out my day and take screenshots of directions and whatnot so I would not get lost; in addition to contacting anyone I was going to meet up with!
- A fabulous hostel with computers with internet, lounges, bar, kitchen, private showers, shared bathrooms, lockers in rooms, and you have to be buzzed-in in order to get into the hostel. I used hostelworld.com to book this place, it’s a great website to utilize for hostels!
- A popular hostel with a shop with necessities, a bakery, a cafeteria, a bar and lounge, shared showers with diminishing hot water if too many were using it at the same time, spotty wifi, cards and keys to get into the hostel and into rooms. I booked this hostel with Agoda, it looks like they made some major renovations unless those pictures are how it looked before I got there in 2012.
- This hostel was called a hostel but was more of a hotel with private rooms and private bathrooms/showers. They had a few computers with internet but no wifi throughout the hostel. I don’t remember any other typical hostel facilities like a lounge or whatnot. Nice staff but I don’t consider it an actual hostel. I also booked this with hostelworld.com; good thing to note in Vietnam is that many places have similar names so be careful!
As I say with most things, you don’t need to feel insecure, unsafe, or worry about many things if you’re well prepared! For me, I’ll research something until I feel comfortable about it; thus relieving any real concerns, so you should too!
Hopefully that relieves some tension about hostels! Here are some other useful articles on hostels:
- Art of Adventuring – Why US Hostels Need More Attention
- True Nomads – Why you should be hosteling, even if you can afford not to
- Huff Post – The coolest hostel stays around the world from booking.com
- Jenna Davis 32 – From there to here in a year
Please participate in the polls and let me know your thoughts in the comments!