• Megan Kate

17 Reasons Why You Need To Try Hostels In 2021 | Travel Guide

If we're finally allowed to travel freely again in 2021 I feel like we need to do so with style. We should travel further afield, explore outside of main touristic areas and try new things. Speaking of trying out new things: if you've never stayed in a hostel before, 2021 is the year to change that.

I was going to say 'hostels have a bad rep to people outside of the travel community' but then I don't actually think that's true. There's nothing about hostels to give them a bad rep; it's not like people who don't stay in hostels don't do it because they've heard they're unclean, or unsafe, or unaffordable. Most people who don't stay in hostels simply don't know enough about them, have watched the film Hostel one too many times, or are under the misconception that they are the same as homeless hostels.

Well here I am to tell you that hostels are the best option for travel accommodation for many reasons, let's discuss just a few of them...

They're Super Social

Let's be honest: after a year of social distancing we're all craving that feeling of being surrounded by lots of people, and a hostel is the perfect place to satisfy that craving. They're unbelievably social places and you're guaranteed to make some new friends. Most hostels have some form of common room, kitchens are always full of people to chat to, and you'll almost certainly end up talking to the people in your dorm, it's great!

They Do Have Private Rooms

A common misconception about hostels is that you HAVE to stay in a dorm with 100 other people but that's simply not true. Although I'm definitely an advocate for dorm room life, I understand that it's not the life for everyone and that's fine, but it shouldn't stop you from experiencing the rest of the perks that come with staying in a hostel. Private rooms are usually far cheaper than nearby hotels, and you can still experience the social aspects of the hostel throughout your stay. Hotels are very isolating, especially if you're travelling solo.

They're Cheap

The real reason we all love a good hostel: the price. Hostel dorms in places such as Asia and South America can start from as little as £3 per night, and you won't pay much more than that for one in Eastern Europe either. No matter where you are in the world, I can guarantee the price you'll pay for a hostel will be a small fraction of what you would pay for a hotel in the same place.

They Can Be Booked Last Minute

And I mean really last minute, as in you can often walk in the door and book to stay for the night or book on your way to your destination.

Prices Hardly Fluctuate

Obviously peak season or during a massive event in your chosen location, prices will vary slightly. But unlike hotels, hostel prices will rarely fluctuate at all when you book last minute. Whether you want to pre-book months in advance, or decide where to stay within hours of your arrival, you'll usually see little to no price difference at all.

Dorm Rooms Come In All Shapes And Sizes

That's right, you don't just have to opt for staying in a mixed dorm with 27 other strangers. Dorms come in all sizes from rooms of 2 all the way up to rooms of 30, so you can book whichever you feel most comfortable with. You can also opt for male/ female only dorms if that's what you'd prefer.

They Have Kitchen And Laundry Facilities

Hotels are all well and good until you have to spend half of your budget on restaurant food and pack 14 separate outfits for your 2 week trip. Save yourself some money on food (and luggage space) by staying in hostels, which often have full sized kitchens that you can use for free as well as laundry facilities and/or a complete laundry service for a couple of extra pounds.

There Are Lots Of Different Types

Whether you want a place with 24/7 parties or a quiet, family friendly space. Whether you want a chain hostel so you can get a membership, or a boutique hostel unlike anywhere else in the world. Whatever it is you're after, there'll be a hostel option for you, no two hostels are the same.

They're Safe And Secure

Just like all other forms of accommodation, your safety is the number one priority in hostels. The front doors will usually lock throughout the night with a key or code to let only the people staying back inside, there are staff on the desk 24 hours a day, you get individual lockers to keep your belongings in, and usually they even have CCTV in communal areas.

They Have Free Wifi

To keep in touch with family, post your Instagram updates or watch tv on a rainy evening. Whatever you use if for you'll be glad to have it, and hostels very VERY rarely expect you to go without.

They're Often Staffed By Locals

Not only are hostel staff always friendly and helpful, but more often than not they're staffed by locals or other avid travellers. This makes them the people to ask for recommendations whether it be for tour companies, activities, restaurant ideas, you name it. They can usually help you with some basic phrases in the local language too, which is always useful.

They're Available On Comparison Sights

Don't worry, when you book hostels you don't need to know exactly where and when you want to stay. Just like all other forms of accommodation, you can use comparison sights to help make your decision. Every travellers best friend is Hostelworld. It's THE home of all hostels, and information for each hostel is really clear and easy to read through. They give each hostel a rating out of 10 based on reviews (which you can also read through) and clearly show how the price and location of each place compares to the rest. You can also guarantee that all hostels on the sight are 100% safe, as they (understandably) take this very seriously. Some bigger hostels will also show up on sights like Booking.com or Hotels.com these days too.

They Often Have Bars, Pools, Gyms etc

I think a lot of people picture a hostel as a very basic version of a hotel with nothing but a front desk and some dorm rooms, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Hostels are just as kitted out as hotels, if not more so. More often than not you'll find common rooms, bars, pools, gyms, private beaches, gardens, literally anything you could want. The décor itself is usually incredible too, often being inspired by local design ideas or following cool themes.

They're For All Ages

Contrary to popular belief, hostels are not just for people in their 20s. Yes, some may have an upper age limit, but they're usually the party hostels or the ones that cater to the 18-35 style holidays. Most, however, are open to people of all ages and even families too. I've met people of all ages on my travels and I think that again is something great about hostels in general: they open you up to meeting anyone and everyone.

They Arrange Transfers, Tours And Activities

More often than not, your hostel itself will have tours and activities going on throughout your stay. Sometimes it may just be a casual film night in the common room, other times it may be a diving course or bar crawl- there's always something going on! They're also always available to help with transportation, whether it be to/from the airport or to get to a specific activity. You can either ask for help at the front desk, or if it's for when you first arrive you can just email them ahead of time; they're always happy to pre-arrange whatever you need.

They're Worldwide

Hostels are available all over the world, literally. You may think that where you're staying is less well known or far too remote, but I would be very VERY surprised if there are zero options for you.

They Come In All Shapes And Sizes

I've stayed in hostels set inside big manor houses, 6 story inner-city buildings and country lodges. In Venice we even stayed in one that consisted of individual 3 bed huts and tents. Whether you want to be by the beach or in the hustle and bustle, whether you want a huge hostel or a relatively small one, or if you want an eco hostel in the middle of the jungle somewhere, there will be an option for you.

Can you tell I love hostels yet?

Honestly I will advocate for them forever, especially the ones that have completely exceeded my expectations. For example, some of my top recommendations have to be The Baxter in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Auberge NOLA in New Orleans Louisiana, USA. The Baxter is one of the most contemporary looking hostels you'll ever see and the location couldn't be more perfect, and the NOLA go above and beyond in every way you can imagine, from arranging activities every night to stocking the bathrooms with all the toiletries you could ever need. If you're ever in Edinburgh or New Orleans, make sure you give them a go.

And that's all from me for now folks, have I managed to convince you? Or if you're a hostel alum already, which one's have been your favourite? I'd love to know!

Speak soon, Meg x