Hostels: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Updated: Apr 5, 2022
Like most people, I do not have an unlimited amount of money. I've rarely felt I could do a destination decently in less than a month. Anything less feels like a "sample" to direct my choices on a future trip. Anytime I can save on a major expense, such as lodgings, I can extend my stay. Hostels are generally about 1/3 the cost of a 4-star hotel. I am happy to give up hotel glitz and glamour for that kind of savings. However, I can only give up so much.
Some travellers look forward to getting away to relax and explore in a place where they are more pampered than at home. I'm not looking for that. My travel goals conflict with that kind of experience. I may no longer be content to sleep on the bare ground under a tarp, but I don't need a king-sized pillow-top mattress. I want a private room, preferably with a private bathroom but the lack of a private loo isn't a deal-breaker. I appreciate pleasing decor but I don't spend enough time in my room awake to make it a priority. My room must be clean and quiet, and the place must have good reviews. Hostels offer all that. Most have private rooms with ensuite bathrooms nowadays. Those of you willing to sleep in a dorm-style room can save even more.
I obviously value how hostels stretch my budget but I have discovered there are other benefits that I value just as much; so much so that even as my budget increased and I could choose differently, I continued to choose hostels. Some of those benefits continued to stretch my budget but the most valued benefit is the social interactions that are guaranteed in a hostel. Almost all hostels have shared kitchen and lounge facilities, many also have coin laundry. It is common for hostels to keep a board of daily activities from game nights to walking tours. Many have lovely patio areas. Hostels attract casual travellers and there tends to be a fair amount of chit-chat in the common areas.
An easy site for searching is hostelworld.com