When backpacking abroad, their are a few options to choose from when looking at accommodations; airbnb, hotels, couchsurfing, and of course hostels. I’m not going to say which option is best for you because there are pros and cons to each, but if you like cheap accommodations, meeting people and the ability to cook while traveling, then hostels are great!
When staying out of hostels, most of them give you access to a lot of things; WiFi, free breakfast, an equipped kitchen, books and games, and then a common room for you to socialize and meet people. Sometimes hostels even hold events/meet up times and offer something to do such as a ride to a club.
With having access to a lot of these commodities, you can put less stuff in your pack and that is what we all should strive for. Having a light pack so you can enjoy your travels that much more. You do a lot of walking with your pack on so packing lite should be your number one priority! With access to kitchens, you don’t need to bring any cooking gear that you would normally bring if you were going on a wilderness backpacking trip. So all of that stuff is useless! As far as books go, you might want to bring one, but there also is no need. If you are a book reader, you will have access to free books and even movies, all around the world! If you are paying for WiFi, with hostels most of them have free WiFi and most are equipped with high speed internet.
With living out of hostels, you can save a lot of money. Going out to eat is one of the biggest expenses on any trip. Having a kitchen does wonders and it gives you the opportunity to go out to the local grocery store and to get immersed in their food and their culture. Sometimes just leaving the hostel, going to the grocery store, shopping and coming back is an adventure in itself. It’s not home anymore. You might be in a country where they speak a different language, eat different food, have a different form of transportation, the roads may be different, and they may drive on the opposite side of the road. What use to be a chore is now a learning experience and an adventure.
If you are traveling solo, hostels are a great tool to meet people. You will not be lonely when staying out of hostels! There is a huge number of people that travel solo and the numbers are only increasing. Most solo travelers end up at hostels because they want to meet other people such as yourself. Most of everyone is in the same boat. They are somewhere new, they want to make friends, and if you open up, it is very easy to come out of this experience with at least one more friend.
Hostels are all over the world and they are all over the place. It is pretty simple to jump around from town to town and almost every town, you will find at least one hostel. Hostelworld is a great reference! You become a part of their “community” and all you do is put in the town you’re traveling to, and if their are hostels(which in most cases there are), all the different options will pop up with prices, ratings, and comments. Very easy to use and the most important tool if you are staying out of hostels.
One more thing, hostels are for people of all ages. The majority of people that stay in hostels I would say is in their twenties, but there are also a lot of people in their 30s, and people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, at well. Plus, families and couples. It’s not just for rowdy twenty-year olds. If you do want privacy and you do not want to stay in a room with others, most of the time there is an option for private rooms for just a couple dollars more.
Also, when staying in dorm rooms, most of the time, there are individual safes, so you can lock up your expensive items and if the hostel does not have them, then don’t show anyone you have these expensive items. Their is a chance for you to get your stuff stolen, but a small chance. Almost everyone is very nice and they could care less if you do have an expensive camera/laptop. I never had anyone steal anything from me and I stayed at hostels probably close to 100 times. But, it could happen. So just lock up your things or don’t show people you have this stuff and keep it hidden in your pack.
Hope you learned something and feel free to comment below on any questions you may have or add to this if I forgot something. Thank you for reading!