Why You Should Consider Hostels For Your Next Trip
Whether you’re traveling for pleasure, an entrepreneur making global connections, or a digital vagabond, there’s one thing that’s always part of your planning. That’s the costs of lodging. It’s for that reason that hostels continue to be popular. But are there female friendly hostels? Are they safe and clean facilities? If you’ve never stayed at a hostel, it might be time to take a look. And there are reasons to consider including hostels in your travel plans beyond the money factor.
Here’s a brief look at how to find female friendly hostels, some examples, and some unexpected benefits of traveling via hostel.
If you haven’t used a hostel in your travels before, you need to know they are quite different from hotels, bed and breakfast facilities, and most of what you’ll find in the AirBnB market. In short, a hostel is basically a shared dorm room. You’ll be sharing a room (not a bed) with others. Rooms typically have between two and twelve sleeping spaces (think twin bed or cot). Bathroom facilities are shared as well.
Rooms can be mixed gender or single-sex, and you’re able to choose according to your preference. Some hostels are exclusively for males or females, others have a variety of dorm rooms from which to choose. No matter where you’re traveling, there’s likely to be an option to your liking. So if you’re looking for a place in Paris, Bangkok, or Seoul, you won’t have difficulty finding one. Just as with traditional hotel booking, you’ll probably want to consider a booking site that offers reviews and lots of options.
As with all types of lodging, there’s a range of quality, and price, available. On average, you’re going to spend 50 to 75% less than you’d spend for an equivalent quality room in any other type of lodging option.
If you happen to have visions of dingy, shabby, bug-infested quarters, DON’T. While you might be able to find that if you look hard enough, the norm today for hostels is clean, comfortable, cheery, and what no other lodging option can offer: social and community connections.
Hostels: The Social Factor
In virtually every form of travel accommodations, the structure and intention is to separate guests. Obviously, that also makes it less likely you’ll have much if any interaction with other guests. If you’re saying “great, that’s just the way I like it!” hostels might not be for you. But you’ll be missing opportunities you probably haven’t even imagined. For those who use hostels frequently or exclusively, the hostel lifestyle is the biggest draw. How much so? This excerpt from an actual travelers journal should give a clear idea:
1:08 PM I happily see fresh backpacks on top of all 5 of the remaining beds in my dorm room, meaning new guests have arrived.
1:11 PM After putting my daypack down I run to the rooftop bar of the hostel and see a half dozen backpackers enjoying some Efes beers. The usual introductions proceeded and we all have more drinks and talk travel.
2:02 PM Now 7 backpackers and I from 5 different countries who were strangers just an hour ago are now friends. We decide to take a walk to the Galata Bridge fish market for lunch.
I’m guessing you’ll never see that in the travel journal of someone staying at the Hilton or Marriott.
Beyond that, there’s another level of community. Frequently, hostels not only create a communal atmosphere, they also are involved in supporting and growing the local social scene. From fun activities to volunteer involvement, it’s just another element of that hostel lifestyle. Obviously, each hostel is different, but virtually all of them encourage and create opportunities for social interaction.
Before You Go . . .
If you’re intrigued enough to want to at least try a hostel, you’re probably now dangerous. To yourself, if not others. So before you charge off to that exotic location in Southeast Asia or elsewhere, here are a few tips to make it better.
- Choose your room wisely. While you cannot choose your dorm mates, unless you bring them with you, you can choose larger or smaller dorms and whether it’s mixed gender or not. Initially, same gender and smaller is better.
- Nix that upper bunk. It might look all cutesy up there, but it’s warmer, more difficult to charge your electronics securely (see below), and not at all fun trying to climb into after a night out partying.
- Bring linens. They don’t usually provide towels, soap, or shampoo. And even a sheet for the bed isn’t a sure thing, so you should bring one.
- Take care of valuables. While the average hostel crowd is pretty trustworthy, so is the average city dweller. But there’s always the exception and you don’t want to become his victim.
- Bring earplugs designed for sleeping. You’re going to be in a room with other human beings. They may make strange noises in the night. If you’re the one making the strange noises, bring four sets and hand them out.
- Be social! A hostel is a social experience, so engage and enjoy!