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April 27, 2014

Hostel or Hotel ?

I do a lot of posts about traveling and my experiences. So today I'm gonna be talking about why I think you should choose a hostel instead of a hotel even if you have a small fortune to spare. 



Firt of all, if you aren't familiar with the concept of a hostel I'm here to explain. It's quite similar to a hotel, the main difference is that you pay for your bed, not especifically for your room, therefore the price is going to be lower but you might have to share the room with some strangers. 

Putting it that way it looks a bit dangerous and uninvinting. But in my opinion it's quite an experience, you just have to be careful and if you're a girl traveling alone try to look for rooms with only girls, some hostel give you that option. 

This past New Year I was traveling with a friend through Europe and we decided to spend it in Berlin (amazing city). But because I decided it very close to the date, all the hostels were full and when I found a room in the same one as my friend I grabbed it without thinking twice. 

Long story short, it was a mixed room and I had the bad luck of staying in a room with 4 man. After panicking a little and running to my friend's room saying that I would sleep in her bed, I went up to my room and started talking with the guys. And BIG SURPRISE they were all normal. They started talking about themselves and one actually had a brother leaving in Brazil. So we made friends with them and even went together to the party with the other people from my friend's room.

The moral of the story is that you shouldn't judge people before you know them and that staying in a hostel is better for making friends and other things, like : 

  • Discovering all the best bars, pubs and parties in the city. 
  • Cheaper beer and food- their bars are cheaper than the other bars in town. 
  • Cheap accomodation. The first reason why people choose to stay there.
  • The convenience of having a bar close by. Sometimes you walk the whole day but yet you don't want to spend your nights inside the room even if you're very tired. The hostel bar is great place to go down for a couple of beers and go straight up when you're tired. 
  • Friendly staff. Usually the staff of hostels is composed by young, funny and outgoing people.
  • Kitchen and laundry room. If you're traveling for a long time with only a backpack it's very handy to have a laundry room available for a reasonable price (smaller that a hotel, I think.) and you're problably tired of only eating burgers, so a kitchen to do some fast and cheap pasta is very good. In the Wombat's in Berlin they gave pasta and rice for free, to help out the straving travelers.
  • Overall a more young and laid back atmosphere. If you're very uptight I don't think hostels are the way to go for you. 
Given the things I just pointed out, you may think it's a place only for young people. NONSENSE. Once in Firenze I stayed in hostel with my mom and my dad and we had a great time. Of course we got a room only for ourselves, but it was cheaper than paying a room in a hotel and they had the best pizza I ate in my life.

Athough staying hostel has it's many advantages, there are some things you should keep in mind, like: 
  • Bring you own towel. Some hostels like The Yellow (very good) where I stayed in Rome charged a small fee for them. 
  • Bring a GOOD locker. Sometimes they may give you a drawer or a small cabinet and presume that you brought your own.
  • Flip-flops. Even if you're traveling in the winter, they're handy because you will be sharing a bathroom with different people, so you never know..
  • If you're sleeping in a mixed room, sleep with pants. It's just safer for girls. 
  • Lock you things even if you're just going to the bathroom.
  • If you see any strange people in your room, just ask the staff if they have other rooms to put you in. Hostels live for the reviews of the costumer, so they will be more than happy to make you feel safe. Also, I think that they are used to that. 
  • Check the reviews online. People don't hesitate to share with the world what went wrong. But also you should have a filter when reading the reviews, because sometimes people can exaggerate and be really bitchy. Great sites that I think everybody knows are TripAdvisorBooking and HostelWorld.
  • Try to speak with the people in your room. Not just to make new friends, but also to see if you feel safe around them. 
  • Trust your gut. It's better to be safe than sorry.
I believe that if you keep this things in mind you're going to have a good and safe experience in hostels. I know a lot of stories about hostels and creepy people but I think that if you're careful and just not freak out over everything you'll be alright. 

So what's your opinion about hostels ? Do you think it's dangerous ? Dou think it's awesome ? Do you think it's only for young people ? Have you stayed in one ? Would you stay in one ?

Hope you enjoyed the post and found it helpful. 
Thanks so much for reading and don't forget to give me your feedback, I love hearing from you. 

2 comments:

  1. I couldnt agree more! A nice hostel is often mush more enjoyable a place to stay than a dingy hotel which might cost you the same amount, if not more. I speak from experience with that one! I also find your accommodation tends to leave a lasting impression on the location you visit.
    Loved the post!
    Paige
    www.pagebypaige.ca

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    1. Hey Paige,
      You're totally right ! I'm so glad you liked the post.
      And your blog has such a clever name, I loved it !


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