There was a time when the perception – often for good reason – about hostels is that they were dirty, just-for-college-aged-broke-backpackers and not good places to stay for “ordinary” travelers.
But that’s not the case anymore. Hostels are now an affordable option to expensive hotels and Airbnbs and VRBO short-term rentals. How affordable? Rooms in big cities and beach/resort towns, which can cost $200/night or more in a hotel or shared rental (plus the latter usually involves hefty cleaning fees), are usually around $30.
That’s for a shared room so you may bunk up with strangers – think college dorm, which can be fun but maybe not all that secure with valuables such as a laptop in the room – and doubles and private rooms are generally $50-100. Another plus is that they are almost always located in the main part of a city or beach town, meaning you can walk to restaurants, bars and the main attractions of the destination.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I much prefer to spend my hard-earned PubClub.com money on being out and having fun than on a room and a bed. I’m hardly in there anyway, so why pay twice as much for something I’ll only use for less than half the time? As long as its safe and clean – and the hostels I have stayed have been – then I’m all in for them. Today’s hostels are a step up in terms of cleanliness and safety from their decades-ago predecessors.
Now I know adults (those a few years out of college anyway) may feel hesitant to stay in a hostel just because of their reputation as being only for young backpackers. They feel they won’t fit in, as if the people staying there will be saying “what’s that old person doing here” kind of things – but get over it.
There is nothing wrong or embarrassing about staying in a hostel. In fact, solo travelers and business travelers should consider them instead of hotels. How many nights have you spent sitting alone at dinner away from home wishing your friends were with you? Too many to count, I would guess. Heck, I’ve been there myself.
Hotels are social places. Hang out in the lobby and you’ll talk with other travelers. Or they will talk to you. They won’t look down at you because you are a few years older than them – at a hostel, everyone is equal.
Hostels also have group events. Many organize nightly dinners and excursions like a trip to a nearby lake or whatever.
All you have to do is stay in a hostel once and you will see and experience it for yourself. Maybe you will like it and maybe you will quickly retreat back to hotels and shared rentals.
But I’m telling you, they are a great way to save money and meet other travelers when traveling.