To hostel, on the other hand, is more than just cadging a place to sleep. This is your trip, after all, and part of the thrill and fun of travel is the willingness to be open to things new. When you're going to stay somewhere, especially in a hostel, then you might as well go all-out and go full-blown hosteling. The difference?
Attitude. Hosteling has an attitude of openness attached to it, to new and different people and experiences. It's a willingness to share and take interest, to do your own thing but to see what happens out of nowhere too.
This is the main reason we think you should hostel, and why we enjoy it and why we hostel when we're on the road. But here are some more reasons, see which ones fit you and your trip:
- Location. Hostel owners know travellers are pushed for transport and try to position their hostels in handy spots, close to downtown and public transport.
- Affordability. Hostels in Europe offer competitive rates. Sleeping in a dorm will save you the most if you can sacrifice a little privacy. Obviously security is a bit of an issue but personally, we've never had problems (besides, you'll often see that people who've been there a while have their stuff strewn everywhere). Rates vary from hostel to hostel and season to season, but in general you will save money over a hotel.
- All ages. By the way, hostels aren't just for young people. Many middle-aged people, senior citizens and families enjoy staying in hostels, which often offer family and senior discounts, as well as a range of room options, from singles to "family rooms" to multi-bed dorm-style rooms.
- Interaction with others. Hostels offer the opportunity to meet and interact with travellers from around the world. Shared cooking facilities and common areas often lead to friendships – sometimes for an evening, sometimes a lifetime – and are great for helping to break the ice and arrange day trips with fellow travelers. Travelers also are often the best resource for up to date information, and asking others travelers' advice is easy in a hostel environment.
- Relaxed atmosphere. Independent hostels have a generally relaxed atmosphere, some serving food and even booze (in many you can bring your own). Usually there is no curfew. Basically, as long as people are considerate of others, there is an understanding that people will be allowed to enjoy themselves. However, some hostels do have some strict rules, from alcohol to curfew to when you can even be in your room, so try to find out beforehand whether or not a hostel is run like a barracks.
Ready to give it a go? Our listings will help you find hostels where you're going. Need some more convincing? Here are a few more reasons why hosteling rocks and at least is worth a go:
- Save money: hostels are cheaper than pretty much any other type of accommodation.
- Meet all the friends you never knew you had.
- Old or young, doesn't matter, all ages are welcome.
- Learn about other people, and yourself.
- Try something new. Or just do it again, because the first time 'round was so amazing.
- Challenge yourself.
- Chance to hang both with locals and other independent travelers.
- Have cool stories to tell your friends back home.
- Wind up at a new pub with new friends.
- So you can tell your mates you did it.
- Prove to yourself that you can do it – because you can, you know.
- See how varied and different the world really is – and yet how similar all of us people in it really are.
- Make new memories to smile and laugh about, even years later, down new and other roads.
- For the fun of it.
Really, any reason is a good reason. Most people have their own, a unique reason why they hostel. What's yours? There's only one way to find out...