Pros and Cons of Hostel Living
Updated: Jul 15
Is hostel life for you? ⋮
In my 2 years of traveling, I've stayed at my fair share of hostels- some good, some not so good. Through these experiences, I've been able to compile some pros and cons of hostel living so you can figure out if hostel life is right for you!
Most hostels host free daily or weekly events. This is a great way to make friends and have a good time on a budget! Common events include karaoke night, trivia night, wet t-shirt competitions, movie nights, & local tours!
Catering to backpackers and budget-friendly travelers, hostels are known for being cheap! This is one of the biggest appeals. I find that most hostels average around $20 USD per night but this depends on location! For example, hostels in Hawaii can run around $40-$50/night in some areas.
Rather than planning your whole trip around one area, backpacker friendly destinations with plentiful hostels (such as Australia and Europe) allow you the freedom to hop from place to place weekly or even daily! You also have the freedom to stay for as little or as long as you want depending on the hostel. Some hostels require a minimum stay and have a maximum stay rule as well, but plenty of hostels allow you complete freedom in this area! Often times, backpackers will find an area they like, get a job, and live at a hostel for a couple months while they save up.
There's no better place to meet likeminded people than in a place that's specifically designed for people like you. People with a passion for travel, a curiosity for life, and a thirst for adventure! And don't worry, ALL sorts of people travel and stay at hostels. No matter what your personality type, you're likely to hit it off with someone.
This is one of my favorite hostel perks! Nearly every hostel I've ever stayed at offers free breakfast to guests and one hostel I stayed at, Aquarius Backpackers in Byron Bay, offered free dinner! The free breakfasts can vary from hostel to hostel and you'll notice some are far better than others! You can typically expect toast with jam, cereal, or fruit, but you'll occasionally find a hostel with a pancake breakfast! My favorite hostel breakfast so far was served at Europa Hostel in Melbourne, Australia. They served cereal, pancakes, orange juice, toast, and nutella!
Having a full kitchen at your disposal is a definite perk when traveling! It gives you the freedom to prepare your own meals and save loads of money. It's also one of my favorite hangout spots at a hostel believe it or not. If you head to the kitchen at dinner time, you're likely to find it packed with backpackers of all different cultures & backgrounds cooking meals together, talking, and having a great time!
This is also one of the biggest selling points of a hostel for me. A nice, clean kitchen with a large variety kitchen-ware makes my experience so much more enjoyable!
Work For Accommodation
The last pro of hostel living that I wanted to mention was the opportunity to work for accommodation! Many times hostels allow guests to work a certain number of hours every week in exchange for rent-free stay! This is a great way to save money during your travels and extend your stay in a budget-friendly manor.
Hostels are loud. Not every hostel is a party hostel but in general, hostel's don't have a reputation for being quiet. They're essentially college dorm-rooms for travelers... except no one needs to be up early for their 8am seminar. Party central!
Often times, hostels will host event nights that run late, you'll have room mates that want to party in the room or come stumbling in drunk at 3 am. You'll have people slamming doors and walking loudly down the hallway. If you're looking for a good night's rest, check the reviews before booking the hostel and see what kind of vibe you're getting yourself into.
An inevitable part of hostel life; a pro and a con. Living with other people isn't always easy, but it's all part of the experience. If you're a girl who isn't comfortable sharing a room with a guy, inquire about a women's-only dorm when booking your hostel! Most hostels offer these. And if you simply can't stand your room mates, you can always ask to switch rooms! But don't let this freak you out, most of my room-mate encounters have been pleasant and a decent amount of them have actually turned into good friends!
As hard as you try to fight for a bottom bunk, you will eventually have have to climb up to sleep on the top bunk. It's not ideal, but again, its part of the experience! Hostels are meant for socializing and budget-friendly traveling, not luxury living!
Personal space and privacy are are not synonymous with hostel life. You'll likely have to share bathrooms and shower spaces and you'll have to be ok with other people seeing you sleep. Pro tip! If you want some personal space, try to score a bottom bunk. You can use one of the extra sheets they give you on your bed and hang it up as a sort of "curtain"! Don't feel weird about this. Everyone does it. Especially couples!
Happy travels guys! Share some of your favorite hostel experiences below!
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