You finally get your perfect itinerary together and hit the “total” button on your spreadsheet, only to find that the hotel you chose added thousands to your tight vacation budget.
Upon exploring other options, you see an ad for a hostel for just pennies on the dollar.
You immediately get excited, thinking you have found the Holy Grail of traveling, until scenes from a horror movie begin flashing across your mind’s eye.
Are hostels scary and dangerous? A place where you find that the strange guy who smells like pickles is watching you sleep?
Or, are hostels friendly and social environments where you can meet like-minded individuals who possess a love for traveling?
Well, although the strange-smelling, sleep-watchers do exist, you will be relieved to know that 99% of hostels are friendly and exciting.
Hostels are overnight accommodations that typically have bunk beds or a large room of beds where everyone stays together.
While hostels are more geared toward young travelers, there are no age limitations on who can stay in one.
You will generally see young adult backpackers who are traveling alone or a group of students on an educational excursion.
While you can book a hostel stay for your whole family, it can become quickly not as affordable since you are paying per bed, instead of per room.
While obsessing over airfare, many forget that the hotel is always the most expensive part of your stay away from home.
Let’s face it. Traveling is not cheap.
But hostels can save you a good amount of money and give you a fun—and safe—way to connect with other travelers.
So here we will tell you what makes or breaks a good hostel.
To begin, “Hostels have more to do with the people staying there than the physical place,” as Nomadic Matt puts it.
With that being said, you also don’t want a place where you have to look over your shoulder the whole time, or sleep on a slab with a rock as a pillow.