What is A Backpackers Hostel? A Beginner’s Guide to Hostels
A backpackers hostel is attracting much attention recently as they offer low-cost accommodations for travelers around the world. However, unlike the more traditional hotels that offer private rooms, most hostels have dormitory-style accommodations. This makes it much cheaper not only for the aforementioned hotels but also for motels, Airbnbs, and other types of tourist accommodations.
In this beginners’ guide to backpackers hostels, you’ll discover why more and more people consider them the best accommodation option when traveling. You’ll also know about what to expect in many hostels’ rooms. So, here is everything you need to know about hostels before you start backpacking:
What is A Hostel?
A hostel is a business that aims to provide cheap accommodation to travelers and locals alike. It’s as simple as that. Also, the lower price point that hostels can charge their guests is because of one thing – dorms.
Dorms are exactly like what you imagine. They are similar to those found in most college residences, but they’re able to cater to backpackers. They can cram 16 people in a single room, so you can save on your lodging and spend more on food and other travel expenses on your trip.
But as with everything in life, not all hostels are made equal. Hostels can offer lodgings that are dramatically different in size, quality, and vibe. No two hostels are made and each one of them occupies its niche that caters to a specific market of travelers.
So, your experience of “hostel life” will vary greatly depending on where you choose to stay in your next destination.
Different Types of Hostels
This is a very broad topic and it could be a subject of a future article, but since this is a guide to everything and anything about hostels, here’s a brief overview:
Party Hostels (i.e. most hostels that have bars and a great party vibe)
These are some of the most popular options for backpackers. Some of the best hostels in this category attract every traveler who wants to stay in a place where the social atmosphere is exciting and filled with energy. Guests who stay here typically show up, get extremely wild, then leave (whenever they get over their hangovers).
So, expect many party hostels in this category to be big, loud, and filled to the brim with party-related activities. Although some of the more premium options offer sound-proof rooms to ensure that you’ll get a good night’s sleep. Still, this is the best option for backpackers who want to party and make new friends.
Chill Hostels (i.e. the ones that offer private rooms)
This is not their official name, but it’s a great way to differentiate them from party hostels. Compared to the first option, they are much more laid-back, they have exclusive room options, and their lodgings are quieter and more comfortable.
These hostels are geared for more long-term travelers than those who want to stay for a few days. They’re also found in more places like the beach and country, and they often have a great location since they’re close to the city’s main street, road, or train station.
So, it’s a great idea to stay here if you are going on a trip to most destinations in Europe like Paris, France, and even Slovakia where public transport is the best way to explore. Those looking to have a vacation in Asia will also benefit from choosing to stay in this type of hostel since they’re often 2 to 3 times cheaper as opposed to hotels. Just make sure to make your reservations ahead of time since most of them
These hostels also have enough space for a comfy bed, fun activities, great film nights, accommodating staff, fast Wi-Fi, and a chance to meet a new friend. But there’s still a great chance that you’ll be unlucky enough to stay in a room with roommates that are a bit noisy. So, beware if you can’t fall asleep to sounds made by other people. These types of hostels could be called “hostels” in general, or youth hostels too.
Nature-focused Hostels (i.e. the many hostels that defy categorization)
These hostels range from budget to boutique options and they come in all forms and sizes. They’re also one of the most preferred forms of accommodation for most backpackers exploring destinations around the world.
Some hostels are catered to everyone, while some are for female guests only. There are also an increasing number of hostels that cater to digital nomads, surfers, and a whole lot of other niches.
A few hostels are owned by established chains that have branches all around the globe, so if you find one of their hostels to be good, it’s easy to choose them for your next trip. However, most backpackers’ hostels are independently owned. You’ll just need to be more discerning in your search for the perfect hostel for your next backpacking trip with your friends.
Staying in a hostel is perfect for backpacking because they’re often found in a great location to explore your destination. But most of them also offer free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, a safe deposit box, money exchange, early check-in, a kitchen where you can cook your favorite meals, and a lot more. They also often have common areas where you can share stories about your adventures with other guests.
Your choice of a hostel can also have an on-site bar, pool, private dorms, beach access, and outdoor seating and hammocks – the options vary from one hostel to another.
They also organize fun activities like film night, a food crawl, pub crawl, and walking tours. These are a good way to get to know other guests and know more about your destination.
Although thousands of hostels offer different amenities and perks, there’s only one thing that makes them great – their social atmosphere!
What are some of the best locations for hostels?
We are growing our list of reviewed hostels quickly, so we can help you find the best hostels for an amazing trip. At the moment we have reviewed hostels in Paris, London, Amsterdam and Berlin. Soon to follow are New York and Barcelona.
Is Staying in a Hostel Safe?
Most people have a negative view of hostels, and even you may have heard of it before. Some travelers may have told you that these places are where young tourists get brutally murdered by ax-wielding monsters or encounter the Mafia.
But contrary to popular belief, the true hostel experience is a lot less exciting – which is probably a good thing. They are truly one of the safest types of accommodation as they have secure luggage storage and lockers and they have 24-hour security too.
Hostels are also very safe for backpackers due to their highly social nature, and most people are comfortable staying in them because they can only feel a positive atmosphere. It’s also easier to meet new friends and travel buddies when you choose to stay in one.
So, since you’re surrounded by like-minded people, you always have someone who’s looking after you.
Can I Stay in any Hostel?
Anyone can stay in a hostel, or at least in the majority of hostels. Some hostels, particularly in most of the top hostels in Europe, have age restrictions (only those 40 and under can stay in a hostel). However, anyone can stay in a hostel.
Just because almost anyone can stay in hostels doesn’t mean that you’ll find people of age in one. Most of the people who choose to stay in them on their trips are usually under the age of 35. This might be explained by Millennials, Gen Y, and Z’s preference for social interactions when traveling solo or with their friends.
Unlike hotels where the social atmosphere is a bit more formal, hostels can enable you to be more exposed to different people and cultures. So, it’s perfect for young people, open-minded jet-setters.