Many travelers face the hostel vs. hotel debate when trying to make decisions for their next travel accommodation. But to me, and to many other backpackers, the answer is obvious. Here are my Top 10 Reasons why hostels will always win my heart and title as the best possible option in travel accommodation:
1. I Like to Meet New People
Yes, I enjoy visiting the wonders of the world and foreign sites as much as the next traveler, but I find that the places feel hollow without my conversations with strangers to fill the monuments with meaning. Travel wouldn’t be as extraordinary or transformative, and it certainly wouldn’t have as many wonderfully wacky stories and shenanigans without the social component. Making authentic connections with strangers makes up some of my most profound memories abroad, and it’s also the best way to experience another culture.
2. I’d Rather Stay in Common Areas than be Holed Up in my Room
Maybe when I’m sixty and grumpy I’ll enjoy the seclusion and quiet of a hotel room, but in the meantime I’d rather be out and about, being social in a hostel’s hang out areas, playing foosball or cards, listening to the spontaneous living room jam session or having a brew at the hostel bar rather than being holed up like a caveman in my room.
3. I like to Pay a Fair Price
When traveling, it is important to have a comfortable place to sleep when you’ve been bearing the brunt of wear-and-tear while on the road. At the same time, when I’m searching for good accommodation, I don’t think I should be suckered out of hundreds of extra dollars to pay for a room that I’m hardly spending time in. If I really want something luxurious, I can find a luxury design hostel that offers the same comforts, but at a better price. Plus being frugal on my accommodation budget gives me leeway to splurge on more memorable experiences, like taking a gondola ride through the waterways of Venice, or going bungee jumping in Interlaken, Switzerland.
4. I like to Party
I’m young, I like to have fun, and I’m relatively responsibility-free, so there’s no reason for me not to enjoy a good night of booze-cruising and hitting the late-night city scene. However, nobody wants to be the wall-flower or the loner, and it can sometimes feel too intimidating to go out by yourself. Lucky for me, hostels are filled with other young travelers that share my party interests. Getting together a pack for a pub crawl is as simple as cracking open a beer. A never ending Party in Bucharest: The X Hostel Bucharest
5. I like to Hear and Share Experiences from other Travelers
Backpackers are an interesting, somewhat crazy, and often unusual lot. Almost any avid globe-trotter could write a novel with all of the ridiculous anecdotes, interesting insights, passionate encounters and self-discoveries collected throughout their journeys. Swapping stories and tale-telling is as interesting as it is inspiring, and everyone has something unique to contribute that offers a different angle and deeper understanding of our shared, human consciousness.
6. Hostels Hold Special Events
Everything from foam parties, live music, and art exhibitions to free guided tours, pub crawls, or Gomio’s Traveler’s Night, hostels always have something going on. Not only are these easy opportunities to mingle with other backpackers if you’re shy, but they are often activities that reflect the unique, city culture as well.
7. Hostels Remind me of Home
Hostels – your home away from home. Not so much my childhood home, but hostels remind me of my university home. Hostels and university dorms are similar in the way that they are both communities of young adults, and everyone is in the same boat: we’ve left the cities we grew up in, and we don’t know anyone else here. Somehow, the fact that we are all strangers to each other makes us more open-minded, and increases the sense of community-feel and comfort knowing that we are not alone and we are not the only foreign one in the group.
Feel at home in your hostel with like-minded people – Terra Extremus Hostel Santiago de Chile
8. My Budget, and Taste Buds, Appreciate the Community Kitchens
Eating out for every meal gets expensive fast. But the cost of food is one of those annoying expenses that you can’t simply exclude from you travel budget. You can, however, lessen the blow by making use of a hostel’s community kitchen to store groceries and cook some meals for yourself. It’s great when you can support the local travel movement by buying farmer’s fresh fruit, produce, and local cuisine at the local markets. The other reason why I love community kitchens is you get to see how other hostel-travelers cook their own, local dishes. And sometimes, you get to try them out too!
9. I’m a Geek for Godashboard – Social Travel tools from GoMio
Booking a hostel through Gomio gives me the added benefit of Godashboard. It’s exciting to be able to see who else will be at the hostel before I leave, and it cuts down my bulk of “flashpacking.” I can just log in from anywhere and find local events, relevant travel information, and discover locals in a matter of minutes through Godashboard‘s one, convenient, location.
10. Hostel Travel is Integral to my Travel Experience
When I stay in a hotel room, I’m paying for temporary accommodation. But when I stay in a hostel, I’m participating in a long-lasting experience. Hotel rooms are empty and dormant of the character and life that I’ve grown to love in hostels. Hostels, in contrast to hotels, have a direct impact on my social travel experiences, and they always change my stay in surprising and powerful ways. They leave their unique imprint on my stories, connect me with interesting characters, and lead me to back-alley routes of the unexpected, the authentic, and the refreshingly strange. And in my opinion, that’s what travel accommodation should be:
- something more than accommodation,
- something that is embedded in your journey,
- and opens doorways that go further and deeper into new, social travel experiences.