Travel can be exciting and exhilarating, but it is also an exhaustive process both physically and mentally. After a great day of exploring or after a long flight to your destination, rest plays a key role in keeping you rejuvenated which sub-consciously impacts the entire process and trip. It’s often ironic how means to be well rested are often overlooked during the planning phase. Therefore, finding a comfortable accommodation can make all the difference in your energy levels during your travels. A comfortable accommodation can make a great deal of difference to your experience.
One of the most important and expensive aspect of planning a trip is the accommodation. Owing to the costs, we’re often likely to look for cheaper accommodation options. Most travelers are ridden by the guilt that they are going to spend very little time in the hotel room, hence, budget allocation often ranges from stingy to bare minimum. However, the importance of rest and need for comfort is often missed in an oversight. Despite the reputation of comfort that comes with hotels- they often tend to conflict with your budget or amenities. Hostels make for a great, in fact and even better alternative for your stay.
H for Hostels
When it comes to choose accommodation, we’re so accustomed to the traditional notion of staying in Hotels that we often tend to overlook other options. Parichay and myself, also enjoy an occasional stay, enjoying the luxury and comfort of room service in a hotel. But our go-to option for most of our trips are HOSTELS, especially in Europe.
We’ve stayed in over 50 different hostels across our travels already- across Europe, India and New Zealand. And through these stays, we’ve had a wide range of good, bad, memorable and forgettable experiences.
As someone who studied in a boarding school and lived in dormitories, I was hoping that my travel hostel experience shall be pretty close. And I wasn’t disappointed one bit. In fact, on my very first solo trip, I had booked a bed in the female dormitory in a high rated hostel in Istanbul. Bunk beds, shared room with multiple guests, lesser storage space but more room to interact and make new acquaintances. It was all there!
And so, I chose hostels over hotels again and again.
Hostel Over Hotels
Realistically, picking hostels over hotels is an obvious choice for so many reasons.
- Hostel stays are cheaper than the hotel rooms
- Much like the room types that you can select from in a hotel, you get multiple choices in hostels to pick the room of your preference- female only, male only, mixed dorms, double rooms, six beds. The availability of preferences differs hostel to hostel
- Food options in hotels are limited to in-house restaurants and breakfast buffets. Hostels (can) have breakfast options, take outs from eateries in the city, equipped kitchens to cook a complete meal
- The functionality of hostels makes it Eco-friendlier and more sustainable compared to hotels
- Common areas in hotels are limited- bar, sitting area, garden, etc. Hostels have a range of options like common room, kitchen, TV room, game room, any additional area in the premises
- While hotels guarantee immense privacy, hostels make room to meet and interact with travelers from across the world. Meeting people, making friends, exchanging cultures and ideas is a major part of hostel culture
- Hostels are basically full of young travelers with lesser hassles of class consciousness. Hostels mean a lot of individual work, including making your bed and cleaning your utensils. But it also means having access to budget hacks and exciting local spots and recommendations. Hostelers are usually easy-going people, quick to make friends and always excited to explore!
*The offerings and restrictions at every hostel are different. Hence, before a pick a hostel for accommodation, make sure to know your essentials and check with the offerings of the hostel
Types of Hostels
- Youth Hostel: Youth Hostels are typically associated with various city, youth Organizations or are members of YHA. They offer affordable stay with a range of essential facilities. Members of various youth organizations can avail additional discount on their stay.
- Party Hostel: These are popular hostels for adults above 18 and below 35*, and embody a party culture with late night check-ins, drinking in the premises, various tours originating from the hostel for drinking, partying and experiencing the night life.
- Boutique Hostel: These are high on décor, and aesthetic, well equipped with amenities and usually fall at high-end of the price band of hostels. Boutique Hostels are the hostel version of hotels with regards to comforts and style. It is perfect for family travelers, group travelers, female travelers. Due to the price range, these hostels are frequented by the older age group staying at hostels.
The Fine Print
Additionally, hostels can be categorized in multiple other categories based on their pricing, location, design, technology, affiliations and establishments. While hostels are undoubtedly the cheaper and the socially happening accommodation alternative, there is no standard set of norms for provision of amenities as is in the case of hotels. In budget or lower-price range hostels, you could be asked to pay extra for linen, laundry, lockers, breakfast, instantly hiking the costs. It’s best to research thoroughly and read through the fine print to make the best hostel choices.
Parampara’s Favourite Hostels
This was my first travel hostel experience, both as a traveler and solo female traveler. The hostel has a great location, is a great place to meet people and I could happily get used to the daily morning breakfast in the local style.
A cosy boutique hostel in the heart of Prague, that felt warm, welcoming and happy like home.
Potentially the biggest bag packers’ hostel in Interlaken, with some of the most gorgeous views in town.
A hostel so gorgeous and welcoming, we would’ve happily spent the day in-doors socializing with the guests and the amazing manager, Noah (who had the best local recommendations for Wellington to share!).
A property as spacious and well equipped as this is a hard find in a prime city like Vienna. Would happily head back here!
Nomad Hostel qualifies for hostel goals on a budget. This gorgeous property in Seville was a delight to live in during our time in the Spanish city.
A property in the middle of a capital city that preserves its ancestral designs is a property worth living at! Alexander made sure we had the best time in Lisbon during our stay.
Finding a budget stay in Amsterdam is quite the test. But Dutchies, with it’s amazing vibe more than made up for the distance from the centre!
Paying extra, by the hour when we first arrived was quite the turn off at Urban House. But the quality of stay- the rooms and amenities made sure that we fell in love with this one!
Have you lived in hostel while traveling? Would you like to experience the travel hostel life? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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