I’m on several Facebook travel groups and this question comes up time and time again – Should I stay in a hostel ? I also get “OMG, HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOVIE HOSTEL!? I would never stay in a hostel.” I have not and will not watch the movie, fyi.
Well, ladies and gents.. read the following questions and search deep within your soul to discover if you are hostel material.
Do you like to save money on lodging and have access to a kitchen to prepare your own meals ?
Hostels are great for those trying stretch their bucks. Lodging is cheap, usually $20 to $50 per night per person (cheaper in some countries, but this is the average in places that I have been). You can also buy your own groceries and prep your own meals in a shared kitchen. This adds up to some hefty travel dollar savings.
*Label your food so that you don’t freak out over someone eating your sandwich. Leave behind anything you didn’t use or don’t want and write “eat me” on it for others to enjoy your spoils.
Do you enjoy meeting other travelers from all over the world with which you can share stories and pal around with ?
I’m a social woman. I love to talk, meet people, trade travel stories, give suggestions on where to go/what to see/what to do. I sometimes travel solo, so having a pool of like minded folks that I can have coffee with, jump on a tour with, share a glass of vino with or perhaps join the next leg of their trip… these things appeal to me.
Not everyone is a Social Sally, so if that’s not your thing, no worries. You can be the mysterious silent type and still have an enjoyable stay in a hostel. It’s what you make it, but the option is there to meet and connect with fellow travelers. You don’t get that opportunity as much in a hotel. Hotel guests are more apt to stay to themselves and only offer quick pleasantries.
*Some of the coolest people I have met and the best travel memories I have made are from hanging with strangers I met in a hostel.
Did you live in a dorm at any point in your life and did you manage to be ok with those living conditions ?
If you’ve lived in a dorm, you can handle and even enjoy a hostel. If you don’t mind wearing flip flops to the shower, hearing someone else come and go, being roomies with people that you don’t know, possibly hearing late night chatter or partying next door, and perhaps occasionally hearing someone doing the horizontal polka in the bed below you… then you, my friend can hostel it.
*I have not had to deal with any one getting their freak on while I was attempting to slumber, but it happens every once in a while. You can’t fight
lust love, right?
Are you ok with showering in a stall next to a person of the opposite sex (generally bathrooms are shared and many are co-ed) ?
Maybe this sounds weird to you, but really er’body is just trying to get clean . Boobs, butt, balls? No big deal. You may see some lady bits or twig and berries, but it’s nothing, really. Americans are more freaked out by nudity that any other country I have been to. Just wash your bits and mind your business. They aren’t checking you out. Those hot, steamy stories you hear of someone throwing down in the bathroom are few and far between and some are plain tall tales.
Are you ok with brushing your teeth next to someone that could be nude or scantily clad?
See above and just tend to your oral healthcare while minding your own business.
Are you a germophobe ?
Eh, I mean, I have never been to a disgusting hostel before, but it’s communal, so it’s not the Ritz, ya know? Definitely wear flip flops to the bathroom. Know that you will most likely share a bathroom (but some offer private baths for an up charge). Your kitchen cleanliness may trump that of others. So, just relax and realize that you are saving money and meeting cool people and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Are you a light sleeper ?
Guests come and go at different hours. Some party late, some come in drunk, some rise early, some sleep later than you, some have to pee in the wee hours of the night… not everyone will go to sleep and wake up when you do. You should be considerate of others if you are the one coming and going while others are sleeping. You should pack earplugs and a face mask if you are a light sleeper.
*I have only had to yell SHUT UP to my fellow hostelers once, a large group of Italians and Brits came in around 3 am once and they were laughing like school girls and stumbling about. My loud and firm “SHHHHH I am sleeping!” did the trick and I got an apology in the morning.
Are you down with IKEA and bunk beds (because that is what 95.3% of hostels are rocking in the decor and bed departments) ?
IKEA is the official sponsor of hostels everywhere all over the universe. Really it’s just because it’s cheap, packed to travel easily, and can be bought in bulk. Bunk beds maximize space, so if you are a bottom and not a top, you may run into issues, because beds are first come first serve and you might be climbing the ladder. Towels are generally tiny and pillows are more like pin cushions in hostels. So if you’re picky, maybe bring your own towel or one of those small but super absorbent travel towels and a pillow of your own (inflatable, obviously).
*I recommend staying in a hostel at least once for the experience. You should actually experience a hostel before deciding you are not down to hostel. You can always check to see if they have single and double rooms for rent. Many hostels do. They are cheaper than a hotel room and offer more privacy.