Hostels 101

Long considered the barest of bare-bones accommodations, hostels are historically known as the preferred lodging style for young adventurers and lifelong backpackers. Today’s hostels, though, are modernized and cater to travelers of all ages and life stages. Families with children, solo adventurers, budget vacationers, and anyone looking for a great deal make up today’s hostel guests.

In addition to being kind on the wallet, hostels are filled with fellow travelers who are generally friendly and can be a great source of recommendations for restaurants, bars, shops, and sightseeing. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation or accept an invitation.

While dorm room-style accommodation remains the norm, many hostels now have private rooms available for families or groups who want to stay together. Shared bathrooms and showers are still standard, though. Check their website for options and details.

Tips to make your stay a success:

  1. Reviews matter, of course, but so does location. A great deal downtown isn’t so great if what you really want is to be close to the beach.
  2. Hostels are generally safe, and many provide luggage storage. You’ll need to bring your own lock. Take one that has a thinner shackle than those found on the standard-size Master Locks that have been in high schools everywhere for generations.
  3. Check your emails and texts regularly once you book your stay. Front desk attendants are rare and all communication (including how to access the building) is done electronically.
  4. Bring a towel. Two if you are in a beach destination and want one that is sand-free for your shower.
  5. Morning is naturally a busy time for the showers and your dorm mates may not sleep in. Use it as an opportunity to get out and do some early exploration rather than waiting your vacation time away. Grab breakfast and go back when it’s a little less busy.

Remember, hostels have been around forever for a reason. All you need for an incredible experience is an open mind and a willingness to be flexible.

Happy travels!