Are hostels worth staying in?

Are hostels worth staying in?

Hostels have long been a staple of the budget traveler’s experience, offering affordable accommodations and a unique social environment. However, some travelers may be hesitant to stay in hostels due to concerns about cleanliness, safety, and privacy. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the pros and cons of staying in hostels, providing insights that will help you determine whether hostels are worth considering for your next trip.

What Are Hostels?

A hostel is a type of budget accommodation that typically offers dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and common areas. Some hostels also provide private rooms and en-suite bathrooms for those seeking more privacy. Hostels are popular among backpackers and budget travelers, as they often provide an affordable and social alternative to traditional hotels.

Advantages of Staying in Hostels


One of the primary reasons travelers choose to stay in hostels is the cost. Hostel accommodations are significantly cheaper than hotels, allowing you to save money on your trip. This can be particularly advantageous for solo travelers or those on extended trips, as the savings can quickly add up.

Social Environment

Hostels are known for their social atmosphere, making them ideal for meeting fellow travelers from around the world. Common areas, such as lounges, kitchens, and game rooms, provide ample opportunities for socializing and making new friends. Many hostels also organize events and activities, such as pub crawls, walking tours, and movie nights, which can further enhance your travel experience.

Shared Facilities

Hostels often provide shared facilities, such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and internet access, which can help you save on additional travel costs. Having access to a kitchen allows you to prepare your meals, reducing the need to eat out for every meal. Laundry facilities can be particularly beneficial for those on longer trips, as they enable you to pack lighter and save on baggage fees.

Unique Experiences

Hostels can offer unique experiences that you may not find in traditional hotels. From themed hostels and historic buildings to eco-friendly accommodations and art hostels, there is a wide range of options to suit every traveler’s interests and preferences.

Local Knowledge

Hostel staff are often knowledgeable about the local area and can provide valuable tips and recommendations on things to see and do, as well as where to find the best deals. This insider knowledge can help you make the most of your trip and ensure that you have an authentic experience.

Disadvantages of Staying in Hostels

Privacy Concerns

One of the main drawbacks of staying in a hostel is the lack of privacy. Dormitory-style rooms often require sharing sleeping quarters with several other travelers, which can be uncomfortable for some. If privacy is a significant concern, consider booking a private room or looking for hostels with smaller dorm rooms.

Noise and Disturbances

Hostels can sometimes be noisy, with the constant coming and going of guests and the potential for late-night socializing in common areas. If you are a light sleeper or need peace and quiet to rest, a hostel may not be the best choice for you. Look for hostels with designated quiet hours or consider using earplugs and eye masks to help block out any disturbances.

Cleanliness and Maintenance

While many hostels are clean and well-maintained, some may not meet the same cleanliness standards as hotels. Shared facilities, such as bathrooms and kitchens, can become dirty quickly if not properly maintained by staff and guests. Before booking a hostel, read reviews from other travelers to get a sense of the cleanliness and overall upkeep of the property.


Although most hostels take precautions to ensure the safety and security of their guests, concerns may still arise due to shared living spaces and the transient nature of the clientele. To minimize security risks, consider the following tips when choosing and staying at a hostel:

Research and Reviews

Before booking a hostel, read reviews from other travelers to gauge the overall safety and security of the property. Look for hostels with positive reviews and a reputation for being safe and well-managed.

Lockers and Valuables Storage

Choose a hostel that provides lockers or secure storage for your valuables. Bring your padlock or inquire about rental options at the hostel. Be sure to store your passport, electronics, and other valuable items in a secure location, even when you’re in the room.

Be Vigilant

When staying at a hostel, be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Keep your personal items close and be cautious when sharing information about your travel plans with strangers.


Consider the location of the hostel in relation to the city’s attractions and public transportation. A hostel in a safe neighborhood with easy access to public transport can greatly enhance your overall experience and peace of mind.

Tips for Choosing the Right Hostel

Determine Your Priorities

Before choosing a hostel, determine what is most important to you. Are you looking for a social atmosphere, a quiet retreat, or a specific location? Identifying your priorities will help you find the perfect hostel for your needs.

Read Reviews

Online reviews are an invaluable resource for determining the quality of a hostel. Look for consistent themes in the reviews, such as cleanliness, friendliness of staff, and the overall atmosphere. Keep in mind that no hostel is perfect, so focus on finding one that aligns with your priorities and preferences.

Compare Amenities

Different hostels offer different amenities, so be sure to compare what is available at each property. Some factors to consider include Wi-Fi access, breakfast options, lockers, laundry facilities, and organized activities.

Consider the Size

The size of the hostel can have a significant impact on your experience. Smaller hostels may provide a more intimate, personalized experience, while larger hostels may have more facilities and a more diverse clientele.

Making the Most of Your Hostel Stay

Be Respectful

When staying in a hostel, be considerate of your fellow travelers. Keep noise levels down during quiet hours, clean up after yourself in shared spaces, and respect others’ privacy.

Participate in Activities

Join in on any activities or events organized by the hostel to meet fellow travelers and enhance your experience. This can be an excellent opportunity to make new friends and create lasting memories.

Ask for Recommendations

Don’t hesitate to ask hostel staff or fellow guests for recommendations on things to see and do in the area. They may have insider tips on hidden gems or local events that you might not have discovered otherwise.


Hostels can provide a unique and affordable travel experience, but they may not be the ideal choice for everyone. By carefully considering the pros and cons and following the tips outlined in this guide, you can determine whether hostels are worth staying in for your travel needs. If you value affordability, a social atmosphere, and the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers, hostels can offer a memorable and rewarding experience. However, if privacy, quiet, and higher levels of comfort are your priorities, you may wish to explore alternative accommodation options.