If you are planning your next trip, there is no denying a hostel will usually offer the cheapest accommodation, but there definitely seems to be a concern about staying in such a place (especially when you’re a fully fledged adult used to the comforts of a standard hotel room!)
Hostels represent a great option for anyone seeking a cheap overnight stay, especially if it’s just for one night. They are usually used by backpackers, but they are ideal in other circumstances too. For example, if you are doing a charity challenge, such as a nationwide bike ride. If you look at some of the best challenges, for instance, if you search how far from Lands End to John O Groats, you will see that you definitely need to stop along the way, and a hostel could be ideal.
So, let’s put some of the common myths to bed.
You are going to be forced to share with strangers of the opposite sex
A lot of people are put off from staying in a hostel because they fear they are going to be shoved in a room with a bunch of strangers. However, you actually have control over what type of room you stay in and who with, as most hostels provide a number of different options for you to choose from. There are mixed dorms for those who are happy to share with others and want to get to know new people. However, there are also same-sex dorms for those who would feel more comfortable staying in an all-female or all-male room. Finally, there are hostels that offer private rooms, so you can stay in the group you come with and experience complete privacy. I personally have stayed in both and the private room was no different to a regular hotel room (it was actually slightly bigger for a lot less money!)
You get a bed and nothing more
People often assume that you are only going to get a bed and nothing more when you stay in a hostel. Yet, as is the case with hotels and other accommodation options, all hostels are different. There are some hostels that do indeed only provide the bare basics, but there are also those that have numerous facilities available as well. From Wi-Fi to games rooms, you would be surprised by the number of facilities that you can make the most of when you are staying in a hostel. When I stayed in hostels in Greece I had access to lots of facilities like free breakfast, a pool (!) and a really cheap on site cafe, plus lots of people to meet and get to know in the communal areas!
Everyone that stays in a hostel is a traveller
This is definitely not the case! Of course, hostels are popular amongst those that are backpacking from city to city, but you get all types of people staying in a hostel. There are those that are travelling on business as well as people who are going away with their friends and simply want cheaper accommodation. That is one of the great things about staying in a hostel – you will get to meet plenty of fun, diverse and interesting people, which can really enhance your stay. On my travels I met families, business people and even Nuns all taking advantage of cheaper, well located accommodation!
Hostels aren’t clean
Last but not least, perhaps the most ridiculous rumour of them all is that hostels aren’t clean. There may be one or two hostels that give the industry a bad name. But, doesn’t this apply for hotels and B&Bs too? If you book a stay in a hostel, you certainly shouldn’t expect to be somewhere dirty and unclean. Just because you are getting a cheap room does not mean you should expect the worse of everything. I can only go on my own experiences but every hostel I stayed in was super clean and well maintained, they are often reviewed more harshly than hotels and backpackers tend to talk so it’s not in the interest of a hostel owner to not keep in clean and well maintained!
I hope this post has helped you have an idea of what to expect when staying in a hostel. You won’t experience a dirty room with no facilities and lots of strangers crammed together, in fact every hostel I stayed in was super clean, well maintained and felt really safe, I would even say I stayed in some hotels that were pretty grim in comparison and were a lot more money!