First and foremost, for those of you that do not already know, we should define what a hostel is and distinguish the major differences between hostels versus hotels.
In a nutshell, a hostel is a low-budget alternative accommodation to a hotel, with three important differences:
- In a hostel you are normally renting a bed, not a room. However, there are still options to also rent a single or double room.
- Hostels are more sociable than hotels.
- Hostels are based on a dormitory setting with shared bathrooms, communal areas of accommodation, and sometimes public kitchen spaces and laundry facilities.
In addition, rooms have the option of being mixed-sex or same-sex, they vary in how many beds are in a room, attract a younger crowd, and offer other services such as lockers to securely store your belongings and group activities to meet other travelers. When staying at a hostel, one should realize that it is not a hotel, expect to be self-catering and open to meeting other backpackers and world travelers!
Different Types of Hostels
Not only are hostels very different from hotels, but there are different subcategories of hostels that will offer radically different atmospheres and perks. It’s important to choose a hostel that will not only fit your budget, but will also fit your personality and what kind of experience you are hoping to take away from your stay. Let’s break it down:
1. The “Feel at Home” HostelThe feel at home hostel, or the comfort hostel, is known for its good vibes, cozy spaces, and a rather chill, eclectic scene compared to the more rambunctious crowds at party hostels (see below). These types of hostels are usually smaller, thus creating more intimate settings and often giving them some of the highest ratingssince there is a lower ratio of staff to hostel-goer.
Some typical characteristics of this type of hostel include cultural activities such as free tours of the city and local, live music, key words like relaxing atmosphere, friendly staff, less number of total rooms and beds in the hostel, and included bed settings with extra thick mattresses for added comfort. Check out the Alternative Creative Youth Home in Barcelona for an excellent example.
Perks: At Feel at Home Hostels you are more likely to make deeper connections with other travelers rather than mere drinking buddies. They are also very comfortable and mimic that feel-good atmosphere of being at home or in a bed and breakfast. They are still young and hip, but less obnoxious than party hostels since they don’t condone binge drinking.
Warnings: Since there are usually less beds, this means a smaller selection of people to meet. You are also expected to be quiet and respectful of the other guests, which can be difficult if you do want to have a night out. So make sure that this is the right hostel for you!
2. The Party HostelThis type of hostel is pretty self-explanatory. It’s for the night owls. It’s for the party animals, the restless, the wild, the dancers, and the heavy drinkers. If you are the type of person that would prefer to read a book rather than go out, then this type of hostel is not for you. If you are the type of person that requires a full 8 hours of sleep to function, then do not come here.
Most party hostels are easy to distinguish. They often have characteristics like no curfew or lockout, contain the keyword party somewhere in the description, and have organized group activities like pub crawls, beer pong tournaments, happy hour drink specials, participate in Gomio´s Traveler´s Night, and other types of social nights out. Make sure to pack your Advil when traveling to a party hostel, you are guaranteed to need it over the course of your stay.
Perks: Party hostels can be a lot of fun, they’re also a fast-track to meeting lots of people quickly, it’s easy to mingle with other travelers, and there’s always something exciting happening. Just take a look at the list of ¨epic parties¨ at the Varna X Hostel to get an idea of what kind of activities you might be interested in.
Warnings: Beware of terrible hangovers, lack of sleep, and embarrassing stories – it all comes with the territory!
3. The Luxury HostelIf you are looking for all of the luxuries of a hotel, but can’t quite swallow the cost, or if you’re looking for chic accommodation that still has the charm and character of the city instead of the corporatization of a chain-hotel, then a luxury hostel is the perfect alternative for you.
Luxury hostels, such as The Mosaic House in Prague, go all out to offer you a lavish vacation where you can feel spoiled and comfortable – but not guilty! Common characteristics include full air-condition, rooftop terraces, private rooms, stylish decoration, mini fridges, and added security. The rooms are also more spacious than other types of hostels.
Perks: It’s the low-budget accommodation that doesn’t feel low-budget, and affordable for those who don’t feel like ¨roughin´it.¨ Chic, cool, and classy.
Warnings: They are a bit more expensive then your average hostel, that’s money that could be spent on doing something extra around the city! But therefore it’s more unique and recommended for when you are travelling with your partner.
In the end, there’s a little bit of something out there for everybody. The choice is up to you! Gomio.com is here as a portal in order to give you the best – and a variety of – options, make your booking easier, and connect you with like-minded travelers.
Which type of hostel do you prefer to stay at? Tell us your opinion!