What is a 'Hostel'?
Updated: May 1, 2018
The Best, Cheap Accommodation for young, solo travelers!
Broke? Spent all your money on food? Had no plans on where you will be staying? Love to meet new people and socialize? Stay at a hostel!
On first thought i know you're thinking, "Hell No, like the movie where people got killed" or "Hell No, i'm not in college anymore". All very valid points. However, hostels are great money saving places to stay when on vacation and a budget. The concept is simple, a dormitory style place to sleep and house your belongings for cheap, while meeting new people and experiencing the city and/or culture you are currently in. While hostel culture is based on solo travel, mutual respect and social interaction, of course you still have your thieves and shabby looking establishments. Cheapest is not always the bestest. As a budget traveler with an open mind, you would probably be intrigued by the lowest price. However, in hostel nation, don't go for the lowest of the lowest. You could end up in dirty rooms, uncomfortable beds and useless showers. Pay that extra few dollars since you're already saving so many. Your body will thank you! Always pack light, bring flip flops to shower and bring a lock. Like many other accommodations, read the reviews!
The cheapest options don't offer a private room or bathroom but you do get a private bed. If you really dislike sharing and being around too many random people creeps you out, you can book rooms with less beds. For example, instead of a 12 person room, you can book a 4 person room, same sex, with shared bathroom. This way, you only share with your roommates. Coed options are also available for those of you who don't care about the gender or get easily irritated with the same sex living habits. I personally book same sex rooms only because I don't like pants. I'm just being honest! I'm pretty sure it would be slightly awkward walking around in my new Vickie's in a coed room. Open Season for all the uninvited advances!
I have stayed in quite a few hostels to date. My first experience was solo, in South Beach, Miami years ago, Memorial Day Weekend. I figured for my comfort and the sanity of my parents, I would first try this shared accommodation style in the states, close to home. This is usually a very expensive time to visit Miami and the main reason why i decided on a hostel. It was approximately $45 per day, on popular Collins Ave and 14th St. I booked a 6 bed, female only room, with a street view. The room was clean, memory foam mattresses, en suite bathroom, en suite kitchen, lockers, safe deposit boxes, private balcony and free wifi. There were 3 ladies already in the room, all from different parts of the world. The front desk staff was knowledgeable and helpful and the front lobby of the hostel had a full service bar. Unfortunately, there was no pool (there are several that offer pools) They also offered free breakfast (a make or break for me when searching for accommodations). The location was central, in the heart of the world-famous Art Deco District, i could walk everywhere, and i did. Think comfort, security, cleanliness, onsite restaurant/bar and easy access to a wide variety of fun tours and social activities, not to mention all the other crazyness South Beach has to offer. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and increased the number of people in my contact list, just from those i met in the hostel.
There is a genuine demand for cheap travel. Hostels have improved their design, style, features and services, over the last few years. They have gone from the 'no-frills, backpacker' bunk-bed style dorms to upgraded, some lavishly designed, more modern spaces that appeal to the standard budget traveler. I haven't tried any international hostel accommodations, but thanks to reviews, they seem to be just as good and better, then those I've stayed at in the US. Travelling solo on a budget any time soon? Take the leap, book a hostel, meet some new people, you won't regret it.
What do you think about sharing when travelling? Ladies, do you prefer female only or coed sleeping arrangements? Guys, how do you feel about having less options when searching for hostel beds, as ladies usually have more same sex rooms available? Tell us about your experiences below. We'd love to hear your point of view.