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What Is A Hostel Like


by Aleda Hamby



Welcome to the world of hostels! If you’re a traveler on a budget, or you simply crave a more social and communal travel experience, then staying in a hostel might be just what you’re looking for. Hostels are not only a cost-effective accommodation option, but they also provide a unique opportunity to connect with fellow travelers from around the globe.


Unlike traditional hotels, hostels offer more than just a place to sleep. They are designed with the budget-conscious traveler in mind, providing a range of amenities and communal spaces. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking adventure or a group of friends exploring a new city, hostels can cater to your needs and create unforgettable memories.


One of the main advantages of staying in a hostel is the sense of community that it fosters. From the moment you step through the doors, you’ll be welcomed into a vibrant and inclusive environment. You’ll have the chance to meet people from different backgrounds, share travel stories, and even find travel companions for your next adventure.


Hostels come in various shapes and sizes, offering a range of accommodation types to suit different preferences and budgets. From dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds to private rooms with en-suite bathrooms, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a budget-conscious backpacker or prefer a bit more privacy, hostels can accommodate your needs.


Moreover, hostels often boast a range of amenities and services to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Many hostels have communal kitchens where you can prepare your own meals, saving you money on eating out. Some even offer laundry facilities, luggage storage, and free Wi-Fi access. These amenities enhance the overall convenience and value of staying in a hostel.


Not only do hostels provide a practical and affordable accommodation option, but they also offer a unique social atmosphere that can enhance your travel experience. The common areas, such as lounges, bars, or outdoor spaces, encourage interaction among guests. Whether it’s a game night, a pub crawl, or a hostel-organized tour, there’s always something happening to foster connections and friendships.


In summary, choosing to stay in a hostel opens doors to a world of affordability, community, and adventure. It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, experience new cultures, and create lifelong memories. So, if you’re ready to embark on a travel journey that goes beyond the traditional hotel experience, then pack your bags and get ready to explore the world of hostels!



Hostels offer a range of amenities to ensure that your stay is comfortable and convenient. While the specific amenities may vary from hostel to hostel, here are some common features you can expect to find:

  1. Free Wi-Fi: In this digital age, staying connected is essential. Most hostels provide complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout their premises, allowing you to browse the internet, stay in touch with loved ones, or plan your next adventure.
  2. Communal Kitchen: One of the major advantages of staying in a hostel is the presence of a communal kitchen. These fully equipped kitchens are available for guests to use and are perfect for preparing your own meals. Not only does this help save money on dining out, but it also allows you to cook meals according to your preferences and dietary restrictions.
  3. Lounge Areas: Hostels often have designated lounge areas where guests can relax and socialize. These spaces are ideal for unwinding after a day of exploring, engaging in conversations with fellow travelers, or even catching up on some reading. Some lounges may also have entertainment options such as TV, board games, or pool tables.
  4. Laundry Facilities: Many hostels provide laundry facilities or access to laundry services. This is particularly convenient for long-term travelers who need to refresh their clothing during their stay. Instead of relying on expensive hotel laundry services or searching for local laundromats, you can conveniently do your laundry in the hostel.
  5. Luggage Storage: Hostels understand that travelers may arrive before check-in time or have plans after check-out. To accommodate these situations, most hostels offer luggage storage facilities where you can securely store your belongings. This allows you to explore the city or enjoy your last day without the hassle of carrying your bags around.
  6. 24-Hour Reception: Hostels typically have a 24-hour reception desk or staff available to assist you with any queries or requests. This ensures that someone is always available to address your needs, whether it’s providing recommendations for local attractions, arranging transportation, or resolving any issues that may arise during your stay.
  7. Lockers: To ensure the security of your belongings, hostels often provide lockers in dormitory rooms or common areas. These lockers allow you to store your valuables and personal items safely. It is recommended to bring your own padlock or inquire if the hostel offers them for rent or purchase.

These amenities enhance the overall convenience and value of staying in a hostel. They cater to the needs and preferences of budget-conscious travelers, providing them with essential services that positively contribute to their travel experience.


Accommodation Types

Hostels offer a variety of accommodation types to cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you prefer a social environment or value your privacy, there’s an option for you. Here are some common types of accommodations you can find in hostels:

  1. Dormitory Rooms: Dormitory rooms are the most common and budget-friendly option in hostels. These rooms typically feature bunk beds, with multiple guests sharing the same space. Dormitories can accommodate anywhere from 4 to 16+ people, depending on the size of the room. They provide a communal living experience, allowing you to meet and interact with fellow travelers.
  2. Private Rooms: If you prefer more privacy, many hostels offer private rooms. These rooms are similar to hotel rooms but are typically smaller in size. They are furnished with a comfortable bed and may include a private or shared bathroom. Private rooms are ideal for couples, families, or individuals who desire a quieter and more secluded space.
  3. Female-Only Rooms: Some hostels have female-only dormitory rooms or private rooms. These rooms are designed to provide a safe and comfortable environment for female travelers who prefer to stay among fellow female guests.
  4. Mixed-Gender Rooms: The majority of dormitory rooms are mixed-gender, where both male and female guests share the same space. This can be a great opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds and forge new friendships during your travels.
  5. Family Rooms: For families or small groups traveling together, hostels may offer family rooms that can accommodate multiple guests. These rooms often have private bathrooms and provide the convenience of staying together while enjoying the budget-friendly nature of hostels.

It’s important to note that the size, layout, and amenities of the rooms may vary from hostel to hostel. Some hostels may include features such as ensuite bathrooms, individual reading lights, power outlets, or even curtains for added privacy in dormitory rooms.


When booking a hostel, you can usually choose the type of accommodation that suits your preferences. Additionally, some hostels offer the option to upgrade your stay by selecting a higher-tier room with more amenities or additional privacy.


Ultimately, the choice of accommodation type depends on your personal preferences, budget, and the level of social interaction or privacy you seek during your travels. Hostels provide a range of options to ensure that every traveler can find a suitable and affordable place to rest and recharge.


Common Areas

One of the unique features of hostels is the presence of vibrant and communal common areas. These spaces are designed to encourage interaction, foster a sense of community, and create memorable experiences. Here are some common areas you can typically find in hostels:

  1. Lounge: The lounge is the heart of many hostels, where guests can gather, relax, and socialize. It often features comfortable seating, a cozy atmosphere, and may include amenities like a TV, board games, or a bookshelf. The lounge is a great place to meet other travelers, share stories, and exchange travel tips.
  2. Bar/Café: Many hostels have an on-site bar or café where guests can grab a drink or enjoy a meal. These spaces often serve as a hub of social activity, providing an opportunity to mingle with fellow travelers over a refreshing beverage or a delicious meal.
  3. Outdoor Terrace or Patio: Some hostels offer outdoor spaces such as terraces or patios, providing a relaxing environment to enjoy the outdoors. These areas may be equipped with seating, hammocks, or even BBQ facilities, creating a perfect setting for socializing, sunbathing, or simply enjoying a breath of fresh air.
  4. Roof Deck: In certain hostels, you may find a rooftop deck that offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. This elevated space often provides seating options and can be an ideal spot to relax, soak up the sun, or enjoy the sunset while connecting with fellow travelers.
  5. Common Kitchen/Dining Area: As mentioned earlier, many hostels provide communal kitchens where guests can prepare their meals. These kitchens often have dining areas, allowing you to enjoy your meal alongside other travelers. This setup creates a convivial atmosphere where you can engage in conversations, share culinary experiences, and even cook together.

The common areas in hostels serve as catalysts for socializing and creating a sense of belonging. They offer the perfect opportunity to meet people from different cultures, forge new friendships, and exchange valuable travel advice. The communal nature of these spaces encourages a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone is invited to participate.


Hostel staff may also organize events and activities in the common areas, such as game nights, movie screenings, or guided city tours. These activities are designed to facilitate interaction among guests and enhance the overall experience of staying in a hostel.


When choosing a hostel, it’s worth considering the common areas it offers and how they align with your preferences. Whether you’re seeking a lively social atmosphere or a more tranquil setting, hostels have a variety of common areas to suit different moods and preferences.


Social Atmosphere

One of the most remarkable aspects of staying in a hostel is the vibrant social atmosphere it offers. Unlike staying in a traditional hotel, hostels provide a unique environment that encourages socialization, interaction, and the forging of connections with fellow travelers from around the world.


Hostels are specifically designed to foster a sense of community, creating opportunities for guests to meet and engage with one another. Here are some key elements that contribute to the social atmosphere in hostels:

  1. Shared Spaces: Hostels typically have shared spaces such as lounges, common kitchens, or outdoor areas where guests can mingle and interact. These spaces are designed to facilitate socialization, enabling travelers to come together, share experiences, and learn from one another.
  2. Shared Activities: Many hostels organize social events and activities to encourage interaction among guests. These can include pub crawls, city tours, cooking classes, or game nights. Participating in these activities provides an opportunity to bond with fellow travelers and create lasting memories.
  3. International Mix: One of the exciting aspects of staying in a hostel is the diverse range of guests from all corners of the globe. The international mix of travelers offers a unique opportunity to learn about different cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Sharing stories, experiences, and travel tips with people from different backgrounds can be enlightening and enriching.
  4. Traveler-Friendly Environment: Hostels are known for their warm and welcoming atmosphere. The staff often go the extra mile to create a friendly environment where guests feel comfortable and included. Whether you’re a solo traveler or part of a group, the social atmosphere in hostels ensures that you never feel alone during your journey.

The social aspect of staying in a hostel allows for serendipitous connections and spontaneous adventures. You might meet a fellow traveler who shares your passions, find a travel buddy for your next destination, or simply enjoy engaging conversations with like-minded individuals.


If you’re seeking a more intimate experience or value your privacy, some hostels offer private rooms that allow you to have your own space while still enjoying the social aspects of the common areas. This provides you with the flexibility to socialize when you want, but also have a private retreat when needed.


Ultimately, the social atmosphere in hostels creates a unique and enriching travel experience. It offers the opportunity to build connections, broaden your horizons, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure or traveling with friends, the social atmosphere in hostels adds an extra layer of excitement and camaraderie to your journey.


Shared Facilities

Shared facilities are a key feature of hostels, providing guests with essential amenities and resources that contribute to a comfortable and enjoyable stay. These facilities, which are typically communal in nature, create an inclusive atmosphere where travelers can connect and make the most of their hostel experience. Here are some common shared facilities you can find in hostels:

  1. Bathrooms and Showers: Most hostels have shared bathroom facilities, which may be located in the hallway or on each floor. These bathrooms usually include multiple stalls, showers, and sinks. While the degree of privacy may vary, they are designed to accommodate the needs of multiple guests simultaneously.
  2. Kitchens: Many hostels provide shared kitchens for guests to prepare their meals. These kitchens are equipped with cooking appliances, utensils, and sometimes even basic pantry items. Having access to a communal kitchen not only saves money on dining out but also fosters social interaction as guests can cook together and exchange culinary experiences.
  3. Common Areas: As mentioned in previous sections, hostels offer various common areas such as lounges, outdoor spaces, or roof decks. These shared areas serve as social hubs for guests to relax, mingle, and connect with other travelers. They provide opportunities for engaging conversations, sharing travel stories, and forming new friendships.
  4. Laundry Facilities: Many hostels have on-site laundry facilities or access to laundry services. This allows guests to conveniently wash and dry their clothes during their stay, eliminating the need to search for off-site laundromats. Having access to shared laundry facilities is especially beneficial for long-term travelers.
  5. Lockers: To ensure the safety and security of their belongings, hostels often provide lockers in dormitory rooms or common areas. These lockers come in various sizes and can be used to store valuable items or personal belongings. Guests are usually advised to bring their own locks, though some hostels may offer them for rent or purchase.
  6. Internet and Charging Stations: In today’s digital age, staying connected is essential for many travelers. Hostels typically offer internet access, either through Wi-Fi or computer terminals, allowing guests to stay connected with loved ones, plan their travels, or work remotely. Additionally, charging stations are available for guests to recharge their electronic devices.

Shared facilities in hostels are designed to accommodate multiple guests and ensure a comfortable and convenient experience. While sharing facilities may involve some level of cooperation and understanding, it also provides the opportunity to interact with fellow travelers and create a sense of camaraderie.


It’s worth noting that the cleanliness and maintenance of shared facilities can vary from hostel to hostel. However, most hostels prioritize cleanliness and provide regular upkeep to ensure that guests have a pleasant and hygienic environment during their stay.


The presence of shared facilities in hostels not only adds to the affordability of accommodation but also enhances the overall social aspect of the experience. Utilizing these facilities allows guests to connect with others, share experiences, and make lasting memories during their journey.


Safety and Security

When staying in a hostel, safety and security are of utmost importance. Hostels understand the need for guests to feel secure during their stay and typically have measures in place to ensure a safe and comfortable environment. Here are some common safety and security features you can expect to find in hostels:

  1. Lockers: Most hostels provide lockers for guests in dormitory rooms or common areas. These lockers allow you to store valuable items such as passports, electronics, and cash securely. It is essential to bring your own lock or check if the hostel offers them for rent or purchase.
  2. 24-Hour Reception: Hostels usually have a 24-hour reception desk staffed by knowledgeable and friendly personnel. Having someone available round the clock ensures that there is always someone to assist you, answer questions, and address any concerns that may arise during your stay. Staff members can also provide valuable information about local safety tips and precautions.
  3. CCTV and Security Cameras: Many hostels have security cameras strategically placed in common areas or at entry and exit points. These cameras help monitor activity and deter potential security threats, providing an added layer of safety and peace of mind for guests.
  4. Access Control: Some hostels implement access control measures such as key cards or coded entry systems to ensure that only registered guests have access to the premises. This helps maintain the security and privacy of guests and prevents unauthorized individuals from entering the hostel.
  5. Safekeeping of Personal Belongings: Hostels often have designated areas, such as a reception desk or secure storage room, where guests can leave their valuables for safekeeping. This can be especially useful for items that are too large for lockers or for those who prefer not to carry valuable belongings with them at all times.
  6. Fire Safety Precautions: Hostels prioritize fire safety and have measures in place to prevent and respond to potential fire emergencies. These can include fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, emergency exit signage, and regular fire safety drills. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures and evacuation routes upon check-in.

While hostels make efforts to provide a safe and secure environment, it’s also essential for guests to take responsibility for their own safety. This can include taking simple precautions such as being mindful of personal belongings, locking dormitory doors when not present, and being aware of your surroundings, particularly in public areas.


Additionally, reading reviews and doing research before choosing a hostel can help gauge its reputation regarding safety and security. Online platforms and travel forums often provide insights and feedback from past guests to help you make informed decisions.


By prioritizing safety and security, hostels aim to provide guests with a worry-free and enjoyable stay. These measures help create a comfortable environment for travelers, allowing them to relax, socialize, and make the most of their hostel experience.



Privacy is a consideration for many travelers, and hostels recognize the importance of providing options that cater to different needs. While hostels are known for their communal atmosphere, they also offer privacy options for those seeking a more secluded experience. Here are some aspects to consider regarding privacy in hostels:

  1. Private Rooms: Many hostels offer private rooms with either shared or ensuite bathrooms. These rooms provide guests with their own space, allowing for a level of privacy similar to a traditional hotel room. Private rooms are ideal for couples, families, or individuals who prefer a more secluded environment during their stay.
  2. Curtains or Partitions: In dormitory-style rooms, some hostels provide curtains or partitions around each bed. These individual enclosures create a sense of privacy, separating each bed from the rest of the room. The curtains or partitions can be closed when desired, providing personal space within a shared setting.
  3. Quiet Zones: Some hostels designate specific areas as quiet zones, where noise and socializing are kept to a minimum. These quieter areas provide a more tranquil environment for guests who prioritize solitude and peaceful relaxation during their stay.
  4. Noise Reduction Measures: Hostels may implement noise reduction measures, such as soundproofing, to minimize disruptions between different areas and rooms. This helps ensure a more peaceful atmosphere, allowing guests to enjoy a good night’s sleep and maintain privacy within their sleeping area.
  5. Lockers and Secure Storage: Hostels provide lockers in dormitory rooms or common areas for guests to securely store their valuables and personal belongings. Using these lockers can provide peace of mind and ensure the privacy and security of your belongings.
  6. Respectful Roommates: While staying in a dormitory-style room, it is important to respect the privacy and boundaries of your roommates. Being considerate, keeping noise to a minimum, and following basic hostel etiquette contribute to creating a harmonious living space within the shared room.

It’s important to note that the level of privacy may vary depending on the hostel’s layout, room configurations, and the specific accommodation type chosen. Before booking, it’s advisable to check the hostel’s website or contact their staff directly to inquire about privacy options and any additional amenities available.


Ultimately, hostels strive to provide a balance between community and privacy. By offering a range of accommodations and privacy features, guests can choose the level of privacy that aligns with their individual comfort levels and preferences. Whether you seek social interactions or prefer quiet solitude, hostels can accommodate your needs and provide a memorable and comfortable stay.


Cost and Affordability

One of the advantages of staying in a hostel is the affordability it offers for accommodations. Hostels are renowned for providing budget-friendly options, making them an attractive choice for travelers looking to save money on their journey. Here are some key aspects to consider regarding cost and affordability in hostels:

  1. Lower Room Rates: Compared to hotels, hostels generally have significantly lower room rates. This is especially true for dormitory-style rooms where guests share a room with other travelers. By opting for a dormitory room, you can save a substantial amount of money on accommodation expenses.
  2. Flexible Pricing: Hostels often offer different room configurations and rates to suit various budget ranges. Depending on your preferences and needs, you can choose between private rooms, mixed-gender or female-only dormitories, or larger dormitories accommodating more guests. This flexibility allows you to find an option that aligns with your budgetary requirements.
  3. Included Amenities: Many hostels include amenities that can help you save further on your overall travel expenses. These amenities may include free Wi-Fi, communal kitchens for self-catering, and common areas where you can relax, socialize, and unwind without the need to spend extra money on entertainment outside of the hostel.
  4. Shared Costs: Staying in a hostel enables you to share costs with fellow travelers. When booking a private room together with friends or family, you can split the cost, making it significantly more affordable than booking separate hotel rooms. Additionally, some hostels provide discounted rates for group bookings, making it even more cost-effective.
  5. Access to Budget-Friendly Tips: Hostel staff are often knowledgeable about the local area and can provide insider tips on affordable dining options, transportation, and attractions. They can recommend local markets, street food, or hidden gems that offer a flavor of the destination at a fraction of the cost of touristy establishments.

It’s important to note that while hostels are generally known for being cost-effective, prices may vary depending on the location, season, and facilities offered by each individual hostel. It’s advisable to research and compare prices and reviews to ensure you find a hostel that meets your budget and quality expectations.


Choosing to stay in a hostel opens up opportunities to allocate your budget towards other aspects of your trip, such as sightseeing, activities, or local experiences. By staying in an affordable and budget-conscious accommodation, you can make the most of your travel funds and extend the duration of your journey.


Ultimately, hostels provide a cost-effective option for accommodation without compromising on comfort or the social aspect of travel. By taking advantage of the affordable rates and inclusive amenities, you can stretch your travel budget further and embark on memorable adventures without breaking the bank.


Location and Accessibility

The location and accessibility of a hostel play a crucial role in enhancing your overall travel experience. Hostels are often strategically situated in convenient and vibrant areas, making it easier for guests to explore the destination. Here are some key factors to consider regarding the location and accessibility of hostels:

  1. City Center Proximity: Many hostels are located in or near city centers, offering easy access to major attractions, shopping districts, restaurants, and nightlife. Staying in a centrally located hostel allows you to make the most of your time and explore the city without having to travel long distances.
  2. Transportation Accessibility: Hostels are often situated near public transportation hubs, such as bus or train stations, making it convenient for guests to navigate the city. Proximity to public transportation facilitates exploring nearby attractions, day trips, and even onward travel to other destinations.
  3. Proximity to Landmarks and Tourist Sites: Some hostels are located within walking distance of popular landmarks and tourist sites. This offers the advantage of minimizing travel time and transportation costs, allowing you to easily immerse yourself in the local culture and attractions.
  4. Local Amenities: The location of a hostel can determine the availability of local amenities such as supermarkets, pharmacies, cafes, and convenience stores. Staying in a hostel with close proximity to these amenities ensures convenience and allows you to easily access essentials, snacks, or any other items you may need during your stay.
  5. Safety and Neighborhood: It’s essential to assess the safety and overall vibe of the neighborhood in which the hostel is located. Reading reviews, researching the local area, and considering factors such as lighting, foot traffic, and security can help ensure that you choose a hostel in a safe and comfortable neighborhood.

When selecting a hostel, consider your preferences and priorities. If you prefer a lively atmosphere with easy access to nightlife and entertainment, a hostel located in a vibrant area might be ideal. On the other hand, if you value a quieter environment or seek proximity to specific attractions, a hostel located in a more peaceful and residential area may be suitable.


It’s important to note that hostels in popular or high-demand locations may have slightly higher prices compared to those in less central areas. Evaluating your budget and weighing the benefits of location and accessibility is essential in choosing the right hostel for your travel needs.


By selecting a hostel with a favorable location and good accessibility, you can optimize your time, maximize exploration opportunities, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the destination. The convenient location acts as a gateway to all the attractions and experiences your chosen city has to offer.


Pros and Cons

Like any accommodation option, staying in a hostel has its own set of advantages and considerations. Understanding the pros and cons can help you make an informed decision and determine if a hostel is the right choice for your travel needs. Here are some pros and cons of staying in a hostel:

  1. Affordability: Hostels are known for their budget-friendly rates, making them an attractive choice for travelers on a tight budget.
  2. Social Atmosphere: Hostels foster a sense of community, providing opportunities to meet and connect with fellow travelers from around the world.
  3. Shared Facilities: Common areas and shared facilities allow guests to access amenities such as kitchens, lounges, or laundry facilities, enhancing convenience and saving money on additional expenses.
  4. Location and Accessibility: Hostels are often strategically located in city centers or near public transportation hubs, providing convenient access to major attractions and amenities.
  5. Diverse Accommodation: From dormitories to private rooms, hostels offer a range of accommodation types to suit different travelers’ preferences and budgets.
  6. Traveler-Friendly Services: Hostel staff are typically experienced in catering to the needs of travelers, providing valuable information, recommendations, and assistance throughout your stay.
  1. Less Privacy: Staying in a dormitory-style room means sharing space with other travelers, which may limit privacy compared to staying in a private hotel room.
  2. Noisy Environment: The social atmosphere of hostels, while enjoyable for many, can occasionally lead to noise disruptions, especially in common areas or shared rooms.
  3. Shared Facilities: Depending on the hostel’s occupancy, accessing shared facilities such as bathrooms or kitchens may require some coordination and adaptability.
  4. Comfort Considerations: Hostel beds and furnishings may not match the luxury or comfort standards of higher-priced accommodations, so it’s important to manage expectations accordingly.
  5. Availability and Reservation Challenges: During peak travel seasons or in popular destinations, securing a spot in a hostel may require booking well in advance due to limited availability.
  6. Shared Responsibility: Being part of a communal environment means sharing responsibilities such as cleanliness, noise control, and respecting fellow guests’ space.

It is important to weigh these pros and cons against your personal preferences, travel style, and budget when considering a hostel. If you are comfortable with a more social and communal experience, and value affordability and opportunities to meet fellow travelers, then a hostel may be the perfect choice for you. However, if you prioritize privacy, quietness, and the comforts of a private space, you may want to consider other accommodation options.


Ultimately, hostels offer a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, make lifelong memories, and explore destinations on a budget. By understanding the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision that best suits your travel preferences and enhances your overall experience.