Staying at youth hostels while you travel can be an amazing way to save money, but it can also allow you to authentically experience your destination in ways that would be impossible while staying at a hotel or other form of accommodation. At a hostel you have the opportunity to meet other young people from all over the world who are on their own travelling adventures just as you are. You can truly immerse yourself within a culture, engaging with locals, experiencing the food, the attractions, and the nightlife in a very intimate way.
There are plenty of hostels wherever you are headed, whether you are planning a hiking trip to the Blue Mountains or getting ready to explore the ancient sites of Peru. How do you find the best youth hostels to stay at? What should you look for? What signs should let you know that a particular hostel is a place to feel safe at?
Popular travel destinations tend to have a wide selection of youth hostels to choose from. Which one is the right one? How do you find it? Should you just choose the least expensive option? Picking a good hostel take a little bit of research, but keep in mind most hostels are great places to stay, staffed with friendly people who are there to help you enjoy your journey. Finding the best one means opting for a hostel that has a few basics covered, and that suits your particular traveling style.
To get started, you can investigate hostels before your trip at sites like Hostel Bookers or Hostel World, and even book your stay ahead of time if you feel so inclined. This is where you can read reviews and get feedback from other travellers. Reading reviews is an excellent way to get a feel for what a particular hostel is really like.
Next, make sure your hostel includes:
Aside from making sure a hostel has the basics, you want to make sure it will be the right pick for you. Does it have a style and character that vibes with your preferences? Is it located nearby the things you plan on doing during your trip?
Know what you want. If you want to meet other travellers and enjoy the nightlife, then you may like a hostel that has its own bar and lounge area and is set up for a lot of fun and maybe even a few impromptu parties at the hostel itself. On the other hand, if you enjoy a quieter setting, than choose a hostel that has a cosy, quiet feel, with areas to chat with a friend or read a book. You can get an idea for the character of a youth hostel by reading reviews, checking the amenities, and even by contacting the hostel itself and inquiring.
Location matters. Are you planning on exploring the local museums and art galleries? If so, make sure you choose a youth hostel that is within walking distance of the sites you want to visit. Do you want to be near the beach? You may appreciate staying somewhere where you can hear the waves rolling in as you fall asleep and looking forward to waking up with breakfast and coffee at the hostel’s café. If you want to enjoy the nightlife, stay at a downtown hostel so you can stroll the city streets and check out the music, dining, and dancing.
Make sure your stay at a hostel is just as secure as it would be anywhere else. Hostels can be located anywhere – in the middle of the city or the middle of the wilderness– how do you know where you are staying is safe?
Ask how your hostel is secured – is the main door locked at night? Especially in urban areas, hostel staff may only allow guests inside at a certain time of night to help keep their guests safe. How big is your hostel? A smaller, more personable place makes it easier to keep track of guests and to ensure that everything is in order.
Most youth hostels have a way to lock your belongings. Some may have a room that only the staff can enter. Others will have personal lockers, so only you have access to your things. Find out how your valuables will be secured before settling on a hostel, especially if you plan on staying in a shared room.
You can always rent your own room. Private rooms are more expensive than staying in a shared room, but they allow you to have a greater degree of security and privacy. Private rooms in a hostel are still much more inexpensive than staying in a hotel.
Trust your instinct. If you walk into a hostel and don’t feel safe, don’t feel like you have to stay there, even if you pre-booked a room. In many cities, you can walk a few blocks or hop in a cab to check out the next hostel.
Stay covered. A good travel insurance plan will ensure that you are protected if something does happen to your possessions while travelling.
Hostels allow you to see the world without having to spend a lot of money. They also provide the opportunity to experience a place in a unique and very intimate way. Take your time choosing a hostel that you love and enjoy your next adventure!
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