Hostels are a great accommodation option for travellers of all ages. But there are plenty of myths around about hostels. Let me bust some hostel myths and why you should consider staying in a hostel.
As a regular hostel user I’ve met fellow travellers from all walks of life, and all life stages.
From families with young children, and teenagers, to backpackers, middle-aged couples and retirees. Hostels provide a space that meet many people’s accommodation requirements - warm, centrally located, budget friendly.
In December 2020 our family went for a few days to the YHA hostel in Wellington which inspired this post! There are NO AFFILIATES in this post. Just sharing the love!
Oriental Parade beach, Wellington, NZ.
Hostels are a great place to meet people.
Hostels are much more sociable than other accommodation options, and are the best place to meet fellow travelers. I’ve met fellow hikers, joined walking tours organised by the staff, and chatted away to other people making their dinners or breakfasts.
Hostels are generally frequented by sociable people. As a solo traveller I really enjoy the friendly social interaction a hostel offers.
Save money by staying in hostels.
Spend money on moments and memories rather than overpriced accommodation.
Accommodation for me, has always been ‘just a bed’. I’m hardly there and it just seemed a waste of money to splash out on expensive lodgings when I was only there to sleep.
When I was in Italy I really wanted to stay near Amalfi and the Cinque Terre - both notoriously expensive areas to stay in. Staying in hostels meant I could afford to stay in both these areas for five nights.
Missing out wasn't an option for me - I had to make the budget work. It was sooo worth it!
Explore the expensive regions while saving money on accommodation.
#1 hostel myth - Hostels are shabby and unclean.
Just because hostels are cheaper doesn't mean you are slumming it! Seriously, if it was slummy - you would not catch me there!
Young people, who hostels are generally the target audience for, have high standards and expectations. They’re not into slumming it in any way, shape or form!
Hostels have responded by creating funky living areas, with vibrant colours, trendy décor and hip spaces. The rooms and shared spaces are spotless.
Check out reviews of the hostels and see what people say.
The serene view from the Biassa hostel in the Cinque Terre.
#2 hostel myth - Hostels aren’t secure.
As a solo female traveller I always look up reviews of my accommodation and check what other solo female travellers have written. With background checks done, I’ve always found hostels just as safe and secure as any other accommodation provider.
In most hostels each room has a locker (you provide the lock) where there is plenty of room for a bag, or a selection of expensive belongings you don’t want stolen. Remember to carry your own padlock so you can lock the locker.
In our recent stay, each locker had two 3-point plugs for charging at least two devises. The great thing with this option is that you securely lock your charging devices away while sleeping.
"In the old days" lockers weren't really a thing - but they absolutely are now.
Our Chicago hostel was in the heart of downtown!
#3 hostel myth – I have to share a bathroom.
You can share a bathroom if you wish, but there are also rooms available with ensuite facilitiess. It just depends on what you want to pay.
Personally, I’m quite happy sharing a bathroom. There are usually plenty available and rarely are there queues.
Communal showers and toilets are clean and hygienic, and always have hair dryers available – meaning I don’t need to pack one.
The Wellington YHA even had hair straighteners!
I always travel with a pair of flip-flops for wearing in showers - and I use these no matter what kind of accommodation I'm staying in.
Spotless communal bathrooms - with hair straighteners!!
#4 hostel myth – I have to use crowded kitchen facilities.
Very rarely are hostel kitchens very crowded. But I love the chatter in communal cooking kitchens. It’s a great place to meet others.
Most hostels provide all the cooking equipment you’ll ever need. Cleanliness is absolutely crucial in comunal kitchens and the hostels I’ve stayed at have maintained very high standards. They certainly don’t want a bad review on Trip Advisor or Google.
Kitchens have spaces for non-refrigerated goods, freezers and fridges and often have 'Free to a good home' goods that others have left behind.
A quiet kitchen at 8am! Mind you, this is in the middle of a pandemic.
# 5 hostel myth - I have to sleep in a room full of strangers.
I totally get this. But you don't need to sleep in a room with others. Sometimes I've paid for a double room so I can have my own space. But I've also stayed in female only dorms.
I generally opt for the 4-bedded room (which in my experience has only had one other person staying).
A double room all to myself is often cheaper than other accommodation options in the area.
#6 hostel myth - Hostels are noisy!
With reviews, the chances of finding a noisy hostel are much reduced these days. As you read reviews, it will become abundantly clear as to whether it is a party hostel or has a loud, bass-pumping bar next door that goes to 4am!
Travelers have no qualms in bagging hostels that don't manage noise control well. So make sure you read them well.
Read reviews from older travellers or families as they'll tell you the suitability of hostels for certain age groups. And be sure to leave reviews yourself to let others know of the pros and cons of different accommodation.
A quiet zone in the Wellington YHA.
#7 hostel myth - I have to bring my own bedding.
This is not necessarily true. Websites will stipulate whether linen and towels are provided or if you can hire them for your stay. All the hostels I've stayed in have sheets, blankets and pillows provided.
When I was in the Cinque Terre, I hired a towel for the 4 nights I stayed. At 1 Euro it didn't exactly break the bank. But that's the only time I haven't seen a towel provided.
Hostels are often located in the best part of the city - Wellington waterfront views!
Do you have a barrier up about staying in hostels?
Hostels have changed over the years. They are super cool, trendy, hip places to stay with a clientele to match!
The HI International hostel, my daughter and I stayed in in Chicago was central, friendly, informative, warm, clean, safe - we met the coolest senior school group there who did a talk for us on the different neighbourhoods in Chicago where they all came from. Would you get that in a hotel?
When I've travelled in Europe and America I used HostelWorld to find suitable places. But you'll often find hostels listed on TripAdvisor, Booking.com etc.
So, next time you're looking for accommodation, and a hostel pops up...instead of scrolling past it - take a look. I think you'll be surprised at what a great option they are. Don't miss out on a wonderful experience because you heard and believed the terrible myths about hostels.
Happy holiday planning.