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Learn what makes a hostel so special and why you should even consider to choose hostels over hotels. It is much more then a cheap place to stay!
“What? You're staying in a hostel? Is it because of the money?” I don't even know how many times I got this reaction only to hear “What? Realllly…?” a few minutes after I told about my hostel experiences.
During the last few years the hostel became the cool brother of the more conservative hotel. Meanwhile you can even find numerous cool design hostels offering a great service on top of all that. Time to think again!
1) affordable prices
Ok, first things first! Of course one of the main arguments is the price – hostels are way cheaper than hotels, often even more than 50%. In many european cities you can get a bed for only 8-10€ per night.
2) fancy privates
Get rid of the image of a shabby, smelly dorm! Sure thing: the cheapest option is a dorm with a shared bathroom but most hostels offer the possibility to accomodate you like in a hotel!
Check out the cozy privates with bathroom ensuite to have more privacy but still all the advantages of staying in a hostel (read on)!
3) the atmosphere will ensure an unforgettable experience
You'll meet a lot of fellow travelers here and the atmosphere is much more relaxed and open minded than in a hotel: cozy common areas, sometimes even an own bar makes it easy to get in touch with like minded people!
4) solo travelers find great company
You're not able to convince your friends to join you on your trip? No worries! In a hostel you will meet a lot of solo travelers…and chances are high you'll find yourself talking about your plans for the next day with fellow travelers on the very first evening of your time in the hostel.
5) the world comes together
While drinking your coffee in the morning you'll meet Pablo from Spain, Charlotte from France and Andrew from Canada. Time to use your spanisch or make some jokes in french – these people are even able to give you some great recommendations for traveling in their countries!
6) meet walking Lonely Planet's
“Nooo…the Eiffel Tower is faaaar to crowded. Yesterday I have been on the Arc de Triomphe: no waiting time and a fab view!”
Indeed! Here you come to meet a lot of experience peeps, some of them might be on the road for years and are able to give you great advices. Sometimes you even get to know places and trips you didn't know they exist.
7) hostel employees wear many hats
The same goes for the staff: often these guys are concierges, mums, guides, caretakers, cleaners and even chefs in one person!
The hostel office is always there for you to address your questions – mostly you get a little introduction at your arrival: a personal map of the town, recommended activities, good restaurants and useful security advices.
8) it saves you time in planning your trip
Beside getting good advices you can sometimes even book toors and activities at the hostel. In Porto the hostel offered a free walking tour through the city and here in Sofia you can even book tours in the whole country through them!
9) free Wifi
A lot of hotels still charge a fortune for Wifi. At hostels free Wifi is already part of the deal and often you can even find a Computer there to call your beloved ones via Skype.
10) breakfast included
Nowadays a lot of hostels are able to even compete against B&B's. Homemade pancakes, homemade bread, scrambled eggs or even a whole buffet – I've seen all of that in hostels! (have a look into the “additional services” section when booking)
11) cooking party
People often come together in the shared kitchen and so it happens that you team up and cook together, drinking some wine and finishing the day with funny stories.
12) experience funny moments
“I'm working in this hostel since a year or so…I could write a whole book about funny stuff that happened here during my time!”
As a melting pot for various characters and cultures the chances are high to go home with a funny story to tell your friends ;)
13) creative design
Some hostels are real pieces of art – often the owners put all their efforts in turning their house into a sight itself. For example Pablos Hostel in Bariloche: each room is dedicated to a famous musician and has a painting on the wall of their most popular album cover!
14) surprisingly comfortable and modern
Especially in big cities there are more and more modern Design hostels. Big corporate hostel chains like Generator, Meininger or Wombats are competing against each other – therefore you can find hostels with a sky bar, an art gallery or even a swimming pool there.
15) a great mixture of people
You'll meet a wide range of travelers: students, backpackers, tourists, business travelers, couples and sometimes even families.
So you could end up having a chat with a guy who tells you how he traveled through Africa with his truck back in the 80's while you share your nightlife experiences from Madrid.
16) get to know the local culture
Due to the fact that you easily become friends with the stuff and that their friends are hanging out often at the hostel chances are high to get in touch with the locals very easy and quick.
17) find friends for life
During some of my hostel stays I met people that I now count into my very inncer circle of friends. As I said: you meet people with same interests and opinions!
18) an inspiring place
I don't know about a lot of places that are as inspring as hostels – I got my best ideas for articles and videos when I was in a hostel, talking to inspiring people, listening to their stories and experiences.
19) great location
Nearly every hostel I stayed has been located in the center of the city or at least in one of the ubercool areas. This way you not only save time but money for transportation.
20) no chance to get homesick
Due to the atmosphere and the mood a hostel is able to become your home away from home easily – with all the people around you it even feels like a little family after a while!
21) additional services
Depending on the spot some hostels offer everything you need for your time like laundry and rental service for camping gear e.g. if you happen to be in a popular hiking area.
22) exciting events
Especially during the high season and on weekends you have the possibility to take part in events hosted by the hostel: like a typical argetinean Asado in Buenos Aires, a wild party in Rome or wine tasting in Porto.
23) unusual accommodation
Of course it's difficult to generalize as every hostel is individual. This article reflects my very own experiences from my travels and stays at great hostels all over the world
To make sure to choose the right hostel you should look at the location, the comments and recommendations of others – or you can simply head over to this list of my favorite hostels in Europe and South America!
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Which reason make you to choose Hostels over Hotels?
Got one more? Extend this list by writing a comment!
…and make sure to share this article to change the mind of your friends ;)
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