Hostels: Everything You Need To Know!

If you’re thinking about travelling, then you’ve probably considered staying in hostels before. If so, then this post will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about staying in hostels!

What is a Hostel?

What is a Hostel? That depends on who you ask! According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a hostel is “a place where people, especially young people, can stay cheaply for short periods when they are travelling, with shared rooms and sometimes some private rooms

However, according to me (a very valuable source of information of course!), a hostel is one of the best, cheapest ways to travel and meet new people for anyone!

cheerful diverse couple in hostel

What Types of Hostels Are There?

Believe it or not, there are lots of types of hostels out there in the world! The main types are:

  • Party.
  • Relaxed.
  • Nature.

Party Hostels are basically where you can expect lots of alcohol, noise and attract lots of people, often younger! They’re very fun if you’re into that sort of thing and want to meet others who like it too. It’s basically like clubbing and a place to sleep all in one! I definitely do not recommend them if you have an early flight to catch in the morning though!

Relaxed Hostels offer a more chill vibe. These are more suited for travellers who want a cosy atmosphere and are often quieter. These attract people of all ages and are more generally marketed towards travellers who will be staying for a longer time.

Nature Hostels are a bit harder to describe, but once you see one – you’ll understand! They’re basically a bit hippy-ish and are often situated in nature, such as jungles or forests. They attract people of all ages who are often a bit more chilled out and want to relax.

Are Hostels Safe?

Are Hostels safe? Generally yes, however, it is really important that you always take precautions when it comes to your valuables as you never truly know who someone is. It’s really important to always read reviews of the hostel you will stay at beforehand as if many people have had something stolen there, then they will probably say. Additionally, always try and stay in hostels that have lockers for you to put your valuables in!

two women with travelling backpacks checking in on reception desk in a hostels

What Should I Pack for a Hostel?

I’ve made you an amazing packing list that will cover everything you should bring to a hostel – trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t! To read more, just click here!

Here are some of the basics:

  • A Padlock
  • Breath Spray
  • Flip Flops
  • Wet Wipes
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Facial Cloth
  • Ear Plugs
  • Eye Mask

Tips For Staying in a Hostel?

So, has this helped you ease your mind about staying at a hostel so far? I hope so! Here are some tips for staying in a hostel:

  • Try and be friendly to everyone in your dorm! If you see them, say hello and maybe ask a question to help open up the conversation further.
  • Don’t turn the light on if you arrive late at night! This is a great way to wake everyone up and annoy them, so if you want to be on peoples good sides then uses a torch!
  • If you want to call someone, go outside or in the common room. This usually applies at night but it’s so awkward to be in another room with a stranger where you cant help but eaves drop on their conversation, even if you’re trying to do something else like read a book.
  • Try and use a silent alarm if you’re getting up early. If you have a smart watch, there should be the option for silent mode which will basically vibrate to wake you up, and no one else!

Who Can Stay in Hostels?

Who can stay in hostels? Almost anyone can! Usually, there is a minimum check-in age of 18 years old, but that depends on the place and there is sometimes a maximum age too! There are also women-only hostels but they will usually advertise themselves as ‘women-only’ so hopefully, you won’t make that mistake! I have seen children in hostels before, but they’ve always stayed in private rooms with adults and it was in a relaxed type of hostel.

two women with backpacks coming up to reception desk

How Much Do Hostels Cost?

How much hostels cost depends on the hostel. Generally, a bed in a dorm with more bed (such as 12+) usually costs the least. Sometimes female-only dorms cost more, which in my opinion is a bit bad – because why? Private rooms in hostels always cost the most but often cost less than a room at a hotel. As always, usually, it costs a bit more to get a refundable room, but it can be worth it if your plans are likely to change. Here is a table of how much each bed should cost on average:

12 Beds£5-£7 per night
6 Beds£8-£9 per night
Female-only 6 Beds£9-£10 per night
Female-only 12 Beds£8-£9 per night
Private Dorm£30 per night

What Websites are Best for Hostels?

If I’m completely honest, whenever I go somewhere, I always search “cheap hotels” through google to get a big map of all the locations and prices per night. This often comes up with lots of hostels and shows the cheapest website to book through. However, if you can’t be bothered to do that or if you’re on your phone, for instance, here are some great websites/ apps for booking hostels:

  • Hostelworld – A go-too when wanting to view only hostels! It’s very easy to use, you can see reviews, and it makes it easy to select the type of dorm you want to stay in.
  • Booking.com – Very simple to use, and millions to choose from easily at the click of a button. You can even see photos that other travellers have uploaded!
  • Hostelz – This is a price comparison site and not an actual booking platform, but it is very handy in allowing you to see the cheapest price from all.

Pros and Cons of Staying in a Hostel:

What are the benefits of staying in a hostel? The answer is there are loads! The main benefits are:

  • It’s cheap! If you’re travelling solo, you’re going to save so much money by staying in hostels instead of hotels – and you probably won’t even spend that much time in the hostel anyway!
  • You meet other travellers! Hostels are a great way to meet other like-minded travellers, and you can even plan to do things with them – usually, everyone in hostels is there to meet others, so don’t be shy!
  • You get to feel a part of a community. Everyone there is travelling in the same place as you and the hostel might have activities on only for people staying there, so you all get to gain a deeper understanding about the culture with other travellers.
  • Many hostels offer discounts on activities. This is great as it makes everything even cheaper! Some generally discounted activities are walking tours and excursions.

What are the disadvantages of staying in a hostel? Unfortunately, with all the advantages, there can be some quite annoying disadvantages of staying in a hostel:

  • They can be dirty. This depends on the hostel, of course, so read the reviews before, but some hostels have bedbugs (luckily, this is very rare, and I haven’t encountered this yet!), and the bathrooms are common places for other people to make dirty – so just be aware. It also means you’re more likely to catch a cold or something through a hostel due to the number of people that come!
  • Noise is quite common. If you’re a light sleeper, be sure to remember to take some earplugs with you or else you’ll probably be woken up a lot in the night.
  • Privacy can be a big issue. I’m naturally more of an introvert, so I love to relax and recharge in my own space, but hostels make this a bit harder. If you like to have you’re own space to wind down in, then hostels may not be for you for the long term – I’d suggest doing a hostel sometimes and then also a hotel for a few days if you want to save money!
  • Safety. Most hostels are quite safe as there are other people around often; however, sometimes you do get the odd strange person, so just be aware! Also, as always, keep your valuables with you at all times – even when you go to the bathroom!

Have you ever stayed in a hostel before? What made it a good experience for you? Was it what you expected? My first ever hostel was Hostel Jamaika in Vilnius, Lithuania – click to read all about it! If you want to read some more great posts, check these out:

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