While people often turn to hostels for a cheaper alternative to overpriced and under-accommodating hotels, the hostel community can offer so much more than an efficient place to rest after a long day of travels. Typically marked with an oversized flag and a gathering of folks discussing adventures near the entrance, hostels are often located in bustling areas near the local attractions. Given that they cater to lone travelers looking for not only a bunk to rent, but a friendly connection to the city they’re visiting, They’re more than welcoming to all types of guests. However, to make sure you’re making the most of your stay, here are the guidelines to ensure your time in a ten bed-bunk room is as sweet as the local pie you’ll be digging into later.
Depending where you stay, you may need to book your bunk months ahead of time. There are typically two routes you can chose when doing so: public or private rooms. If you’re looking for the most efficient alternative, a 20 person area with bunks lined up edge to edge is your best bet. You’ll find dorm style bathrooms throughout the building. After all, a place to sleep is a place to sleep.
On the other hand, many hostels offer private rooms that often include a bathroom for your personal use. Although more expensive, I’ve found private rooms are best for when I’m traveling with family or a small group and we need our own space. As with any journey, your goal is to be spending as little time in a quarantined room and out in the environment you traveled so far to see, chose your space accordingly.
Based on my own experience, hostels have been some of the cleanest places I’ve stayed. There is a strong unspoken code that travelers all seem to follow: keep your shit in your own space and clean up when you’re done. Those passing through are well trained on being respectful of the environment they inhabit, even if it’s only for a night or two.
Although I’ve never felt in danger of theft in any hostel situation, there’s a difference between being trustworthy and being just straight up smart about where you keep your things.
Aim to spend any unused minutes in the common area. Even though this might be the only place you can get quality wifi, put down the Mac and socialize after choosing that perfect Instagram filter. An easy ice breaker is asking others where they’re from and what brought them here. This can be as simple or complex of a question as they make it.
Although hostels initially have the reputation of being the po’ folk’s option, they’ve grown into so much more than a place to sleep. Meeting new people, indulging in others’ experiences and learning the ways of the land to immerse yourself entirely are just some of the perks you get by opting out of a secluded five star hotel. You can’t buy human interaction, cultural involvement and unlikely friendships.
Initially, I was concerned about sharing a space with strangers. Now, after having spent time in more than ten hostels across Europe, I’ve come to learn that strangers are*cliche alert* just friends I haven’t met yet. Not only do they enrich my experience, but I believe that I just might be able to return the favor.
Have you ever stayed in a hostel? If not, does this persuade you to try one?