So you’ve already decided you want to travel on a budget. Maybe it’s more like ‘need’ than ‘want’, but hey… Whatever the case may be, by now you know you’ve looked at hundreds of hotels and Airbnb listings, but all you can afford is the dodgy 1 star hotel an hour outside the city. You think ‘there must be another way,’ as your mind starts to wander into hostel territory. I know what you’re thinking – ‘A hostel?! NO WAY! I’m sure millions of girls have been HARRASSED in hostels.’ You quickly slam your laptop shut and give the kiss of death to London 2016.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t all that dramatic. Let’s face it though, when it comes to hostels we tend to cringe a little. However most of our perceptions come from stereotypes and second hand stories. So I wanted to write a bit about hostels and our assumptions vs the reality. Let’s begin!

10 awesome hostels around the world - U Hostels Madrid Spain
U-Hostel, Madrid

Assumption: People are going to steal my stuff while I sleep.

Reality

Nearly every single hostel has lockers for you to store your valuables. Can you fit a whole suitcase in there? Most likely not. But it’s always a smart idea to take any valuables (think laptop, camera, jewelry, passport, etc.) out of your suitcase and store it in these lockers. Anytime your stuff is left out in the open it becomes more susceptible to theft, which includes even the nicest of hotels. Double check the hostel’s website to make sure they have lockers, and you won’t have any issue! Or you can just sleep with one eye open…

Assumption: Hostels are dirty.

Reality

You’re always going to come across some hostels that aren’t as clean as others, as well as some travelers that are really in to ‘roughing’ it. Be smart and use resources like Trip Advisor or Hostel World to check reviews. A lot of times people will rate hotels on cleanliness, and you can get a pretty good idea of which ones are top notch. Keep in mind that with more people per room, consequently you’ll have a less sanitary space. So if you’re worried about this, you can book a hostel with fewer beds for a larger price. But not to worry, the larger price is usually still a steal!

lisbon poets hostel 1
Poets Hostel, Lisbon

Assumption: People who stay in hostels are dirty.

Reality

As for those travelers who like to skip on their daily hygiene, if it bothers you you can always ask the staff to be placed in a different room or on a different bed. To be honest, most people are just looking for a cheap place to stay at the end of the day. You will most likely only find yourself back at your hostel to sleep, and that’s it. The sterotype that travelers who use hostels are dirty is a bit outdone. Most people using hostels are every day people like you and I, just looking to save a bit of cash. So don’t let this prevent you from staying in a hostel. This is one of the biggest stereotypes that is just false.

Assumption: Hostels aren’t safe.

Reality

On the contrary, most hostels are up to date and contain multiple security checks including key card access. Again, this is information that people will often include in their reviews, so make sure you pay attention to the security features your hostel has. Most hostels have great security as no one ever wants to see someone get hurt, and safety is a top contender for good reviews. Use your smarts and make sure you’re careful of the information you give out to strangers (I usually don’t give any at all), and you’ll be just fine.

Hostel social area
Slo Living Hostel, Lyon

 

Assumption: There are no amenities at a hostel.

Reality

Hostels are really upping their game in the last few years. A lot of hostels I’ve been to or seen have common areas where you can play board games or read books, all of which are provided. You can often find hostels with bars too. This makes things super easy and convenient if you want to have a drink or eat a meal after long days of sightseeing, or you want to chill and listen to some live music. Also check for snack bars or coffee shops on the premise, as a lot of hostels are now implementing their own ‘restaurants’. Make sure you also check for an option to have morning breakfast included in your stay.

Assumption: All hostels are co-ed.

Reality

Not all hostels are co-ed, and I don’t just mean the rooms. I mean the actual hostel itself. I’ve seen a few remarkable hostels that are for girls only! Meaning: NO BOYS ALLOWED. A very cool concept if you ask me since I know a lot of girls feel uncomfortable rooming with men (no offense fellas). If you can’t find an all-girl hostel near you, then you can always select an all-girl dorm or a private room. Most hostels have these options now because it brings in more business. It will cost you a few more dollars, but you really can’t put a price on feeling comfortable.

10 awesome Hostels around the World - Featured Image Superbude Hamburg Germany
Superbude, Hamburg

 

Assumption: Hostels are cheap looking and in bad condition.

Reality

Yes, some hostels will be the bare minimum hostels with cheap (if any) decor and the flimsiest of the flimsiest bedding. If you’re super concerned with the condition of the hostel or comfort, you might try opting for a boutique hostel. Yes they exist and yes they are nicer than your typical hostel. Where there’s a market for it, it will exist! Boutique hostels are always more pricey, but they are also always more modern with better features. Think more room, better bedding, nice decor, and usually a cafe or bar and a private terrace. Here are 10 of our favourite boutique hostels around the world.

There you have it – hostelling is not bad at all! Hopefully this gives you a better sense of what hostels are like in 2016. Have you ever stayed in a hostel? Or are you planning to now? Leave a comment below!


This is a guest post by Emily Czech.

IMG_4333 Emily is a part time blogger living in Phoenix, Arizona who enjoys sharing travel tips and fresh style finds. When she’s not in front of her computer she’s out exploring the newest coffee shops and writing reviews. She started her own blog Coat + Coffee in hopes of bringing together her travel life with her love of style and coffee. Her life in three words? Lattes, Lipstick, and Layovers.

Follow her on Twitter @Brixest and Instagram @coatandcoffee.