Hostels Vs. Hotels
If given the choice between staying in a hostel vs. a hotel, lets say, for a private room in a hostel and a standard double room in a hotel, if the price was exactly the same, I would choose the hostel every time. Honestly, in most cases, I would take a female dorm room at a hostel over a private hotel room as well.
Think I’m crazy? I don’t think I am. Here’s why;
The last time you went to a city, think of any travel situation that doesn’t include all-inclusive vacation (that’s another story altogether) where you stayed in a hotel… How many people did you meet there? How good was the advice from staff regarding activities, food and local culture while on a budget? What amenities were provided to you if you didn’t want to eat out?
Don’t get me wrong, there is something wonderful about having a big queen size bed to sleep in with a fluffy duvet, and a private bathroom with single serving soap and shampoo. But have you ever thought about what you may be missing?
Probably not. The hotel has everything you think you need. But for a certain type of traveller, ignorance is not bliss.
The experience of spending even a single night in a hostel could change your perspective completely if you are willing to venture outside your comfort zone just a little bit.
My first hostel experience was in Brisbane Australia. It was a one night stay at a beautiful place called Minto. Beyond that one hostel we spent the rest of the trip in a Wicked Camper Van. Yet the hostel experience still stuck in my brain as something much more personal than a typical stay in a hotel.
A few years later, I started my travels across New Zealand, and that is where my love for hostels grew.
What needs to be known is that hostels are nothing relatable to the movie “Hostel”. From my experience, they are not dangerous. The internet and social media can ruin a hostel within minutes if they don’t meet a very common standard of cleanliness and amenities. Hostellers are a community of like-minded travellers from all over the world looking to make the best of their travel experiences. They are most often, clean establishments that provide lodging for single travellers as well as couples, groups and families, all at a reasonable price. The catch: Depending on the price you are willing to pay, you may have to share your room/bathroom with fellow travellers. That’s the biggest and, in my opinion, only sacrifice.
Almost all hostels have a communal kitchen that is free to use as well as storage for any groceries you may pick up. When you stay in a Hotel, you are forced to eat out for every meal, unless they have free continental breakfast. When you stay in a hostel, you can cook your own breakfast, pack yourself a lunch for the day and then go to a nice restaurant for dinner.
The BEST part about hostels is the people you will meet. I’m not just talking about making friends, I’m also talking about meeting people with some of the best travel advice you cant get anywhere else.
Picture this: Your travel guide book says that a certain hike or tour is amazing and you are planning on doing it tomorrow. Over dinner in the communal kitchen, you speak with someone that did that activity today. They inform you that the hike is flooded out or not worth the money/time because of terrain or weather.
Or: (this actually happened to me) You are asking the hostel receptionist where to go for a good hike, and a random Australian guy asks if you want to join him on a hike he was planning to do that day.
The hostel community is very diverse. From the most extreme “hippies” to the “extreme adventurist” to the “quiet explorer”. We come from all over the world but we have a single goal in mind, and that is to make the best of our travels.