I remember when I booked my first ever hostel and bed in a shared dorm – my anxiety was out of this world. The night before I set off, I was so convinced one of my roommates was going to kill me so I started to look for hotels (which ended up costing an arm and a leg as it was the night before). Since the hotels were so costly I knew I had to stick with what I already booked – so I started to hype myself up so I wasn’t scared, saying to myself: “These people aren’t mad enough to kill me. Do they know who I am? I’m a child of God fam!” Long story short, my roommates were AMAZING!
When you mention ‘Hostel’ to some people, they will automatically react how I did before I actually stayed in one. Some think of the horror movie ‘Hostel’ (which I have not watched and will not recommend if you’ve never stayed in a hostel before) and automatically rule it out.
Also, staying in a hostel or sleeping in a shared dorm can also be such a foreign idea to some – especially growing up with a Nigerian background. Nigerian parents will just make the whole thing sound so ridiculous: “Ehnn, so you want to sleep in a room with strangers?”
There are many misconceptions + stigma attached to hostels. Which was understandable back in the day, as hostels weren’t something you wanted to be associated with. However, hostels/youth hostels today have evolved into something amazing. It is a great option for those solo travelling, group travelling, meeting new people, those who want to travel on a budget and save some coints! Below are some more reasons you should stay in a hostel:
1. Hostels are just as safe
You are just as safe in a hostel as you are in a hotel or Airbnb. Nearly all hostels have secure storage lockers, security key cards, security guards and 24hr receptions to ensure your safety. I know safety is the first thing that may pop into the minds of those who have never stayed in a hostel. But one thing you MUST do is RESEARCH on the hostel before you book it (same thing you would do with a hotel or Airbnb) – what do reviews say about their security, has it received good ratings, is it located in a safe neighbourhood. And just like you would do anywhere, keep your belongings in a safe secure place or with you at all times!
2. Hostels function just like hotels
Hostels function just like hotels (even better in my opinion). They are just a low-cost alternative with the option to rent a bed in a shared room or a private room. Most of the hostels I have stayed at had communal kitchens, launderettes, games area, computer area, restaurant/bar and even offered free breakfast. One of the hostels my friend and I have booked for our Thailand trip even offer a “wake-up” service (I’ll say it louder for you lazy bums in the back).
3. Hostels are cheap
My friend and I paid the equivalent of £12 p/n each for a Private Ensuite room in Thailand (Bargain or bloody what?!)
Hostels are dirt cheap – they are usually cheaper than hotels. There is not one set price for hostels, prices are dependent on the country, season, the type of room you have chosen (shared dorms being the cheapest) or the number of people you’re travelling with. The average hostel cost ranges from £4-£30 a night (I know, I fell off my seat too when I saw some prices). If you are travelling on a budget then I would definitely recommend staying in a hostel.
4. So much choice
One common misconception people have about hostels is that you HAVE to share a room with strangers…My friends, this is not by force! Whilst it is an option to stay in a shared dorm (where you pay for a bed in a shared room), you can also choose to stay in a private room where you pay for the room (just like a hotel).
Also, not all hostels are the same which gives you a choice with the kind of hostel you want to stay at: there are party hostels, luxury hostels, boutique hostels, females only hostels and much more.
5. Hostels are beautiful
Some hostels are just downright amazing. I know this, yet every time I come across another beautiful hostel I’m just like: “dammmn, y’all have done it again! You’ve outdone yourself.”
Some hostels have the coolest set-ups like rooftop pools, rooftop bars, large hammocks, slides and much more. You can be on the lowest of budgets and still enjoy these amenities for CHEAP! Stunting on Instagram like: “You know, just chilling in my hostel’s rooftop pool (which btw I only paid £11 a night for) sipping cocktails – no biggie #bougieonabudget.”
6. Meet new people
It’s so much easier to meet people in hostels (whether you stay in a private room or a shared dorm). Hostels usually offer a variety of activities, creating a more sociable environment.
Hostels offer a wide range of activities which is one of my main reasons I LOVE staying in hostels. This includes sociable dinners, cooking classes, games night, free walking tours, day trips, beach days and so much more! This is a great way to meet other travellers in your hostel and also immersing yourself in the culture.