Hostels are cheap alternatives for backpackers or travelers
like me. They have diverse environments: from very quiet to partiers
, interesting decorations and can be either very dirty or clean. In general, rooms and bathrooms are shared
, but there are also some that offer rooms and private bathrooms. Here I have summarized a bit the pros and cons of the hostels that I have discovered throughout my travels.
They are usually much cheaper than hotels, which allows you to travel and extend the budget
as much as possible. I think this is the biggest advantage because they can be found very well located
in each city.
2. Good place to socialize:
Because there are so many shared areas such as the room, kitchen, living room, among others, it’s very common to make friends with strangers.
The nicest thing is that you can see people of all nationalities telling stories, tastes and plans
and sometimes lonely travelers come together to arrive at a destination together.
3. Good recommendations
: The hostels have good and cheap recommendations
from the staff at reception. They have brochures, free maps and they can even guide you according to your interests in similar activities.
4. You can cook:
Having a shared kitchen area is a great advantage because it allows you to save on food.
It’s not the same to eat in restaurants every day than to shop and have even a space in the refrigerator to store your food. Likewise, many travelers have plenty of food and end up giving them away so that other people can take advantage of them.
5. Wide variety of options:
You will find a wide variety of hostels in each city, with different locations, features and environments so you can choose what suits you best.
Having options will always be an advantage for those who travel, especially if you do it in the long term since you don’t always have the same mood.
1. Horror stories:
The reception was elegant but clean and the manager spoke good English. He accompanied us in the elevator to the rooms that were close: one for men and one for women. There was a faint smell of sweat
but I omitted it (first warning?). The beds looked decent, there was no one else staying when I arrived and the bed I chose had a dirty sock
on the stairs (bad sign?). The bathroom was inside the room which relieved me a little. Should I continue?
During the night, Luis sent me a message telling me that some Chinese people were lying on the floor of their room with a gas stove lit, bottles of coca cola, picnicking while the wooden floors
were in danger. Two nights later a ghost visited me
(I swear by my mom who is in heaven): I got up at 3:00 a.m. to use the bathroom and there was a girl with no suitcases sitting on one of the beds in the back with a dress. She didn’t speak to me, I thought she was a new roomate and went to bed again. The next morning, there was no one in the room and I asked the manager in reception for the girl and he told me that there were no more registered travelers and nobody had entered the hostel since the only way to get to the rooms was through the reception. I saw his face while speaking, he was scared and since I had to stay 5 more days, I decided to ignore the situation and slept with the light on the rest of the nights.
I can tell you horror experiences
I've had: people throwing up at 1:00 am in a hellish heat, flooding the room with unwanted smells, snores exceeding legally allowed decibels haha, farts, stinky feet, hanging panties and even detached doors. I think this is luck and to avoid problems, read the reviews. Sometimes it’s better to pay a little more for a hostel that has a higher review than the cheapest, although this stories are fun memories.
2. Little privacy:
Because many hostels offer only shared rooms, there is not much privacy during the stay. It doesn’t bother me normally since I like to be out all day and only get to sleep late. I must admit that when I felt the need to be alone, I look for an option that offers me a private room.
3. Less comfort:
Don’t expect luxury beds. Many of the rooms have bunk beds which makes sleeping more uncomfortable.
The mattresses aren’t ergonomic, the sheets aren’t silk and probably there is no TV or free bottles of soap and shampoo.
4. Less specialized service:
Don’t expect an attention like in a 5 stars hotel
despite the fact that on many occasions, the service is very good as well.
5. Fewer luxuries like gyms, swimming pools:
So far I have not stayed in a hostel that has swimming pools, gyms, spas or some luxury of that type. Normally travelers who use hostels know that keeping any of those things entails a higher cost.
Personally, I don’t need it: there are many ways to exercise and enjoy the day.
For me it has always been easy to understand how to choose a hostel,
it has never bothered me not being surrounded by luxuries, sharing rooms, bathrooms and common areas. I’m always prepared for any inconvenience and I understand that it’s part of the experience. I also know that hostels are not for all types of travelers
and it’s not a bad thing that someone wants to spend what they consider appropriate in a lodging. Choose what is most comfortable for you
, suits the budget and enjoy the trip.
If you don’t know the best strategy to choose a hostel, follow my GUIDE TO CHOOSE A HOSTEL!