As a solo traveler, there is no other way I’d consider traveling; they are just more inviting, more fun, and more social. There is a more hands on aspect to a hostel that doesn’t exist in luxury hotels. A hostel could very easily change the course of your trip, especially for first-time travellers.
They’re Cheap. Cost is dependent on location: from $5 per night in some third world countries to $35 in big cities in Europe, Japan, and Australia, always cheaper relative to other accommodation.
It’s easy to make friends. It’s a contagious environment buzzing with travellers all in the same boat you are. They are backpacking the world, looking to meet new people, and have new experiences. And many become friends who you often end up traveling with.
More Amenities. Most hostels have kitchens where you can cook your own food from your own recipes. Hot water is freely available if you have a coffee addiction, and often coffee and tea, sugar and milk are free.
Get to Know the Locals. Locals usually work at the hostels and they might take you to explore a market, teach you how to cook a local dish as they prepare dinner, teach you how to speak the language, take you back to their family’s house or simply give you an opportunity to learn about the local culture.
They’re Safe. Some are more high-tech with key cards to go beyond the common room to where the dorms are located. There is almost always someone working at the reception desk and they do watch out for you.
They Organize Activities. Whether it’s a pub crawl, a free walking tour, day trips, or “family dinners”, hostels organize a host of activities to make the atmosphere all the more social. If you are shy or maybe new to the hostel scene you can be part of the mix. Tours are one of the most to organize. As a single traveller, tours are often too expensive to go alone. Many hostels offer tours through jobbers or even have a travel agency on site and congregate like-minded travellers who want to do the same things.
You can Usually Find a Hostel that Suits You. There are hostels that can suit whatever type of holiday you might be looking for – calm, relaxing and chilled, a party that keeps you raging until the early hours of the morning or a flash backer hostel that give you a little more comfort for a couple of more bucks – to suit both your style and your budget.
They Can, and They Do, Feel Like Home. Hostels are the closest thing you have to home often with kitchens and common rooms with TV and DVDs. Not everywhere you stay, but you’ll get comfortable and sometimes never want to leave.
NEGATIVES ABOUT HOSTELS – Staying in a dorm room requires tolerance about some things. The general feeling is that if a dorm room is your choice, then you have to put up with anything!! I’m not sure I agree. People who show no respect to others in their dorm need to be told if behaviour is unacceptable and I don’t have any problem giving them my feedback. Some people need to understand that some rules need to be followed.
1. Snorers. I basically believe that people who know they are loud snorers should stay in private rooms. But that is not accepted by everyone.
2. Sleep Disrupters During Quiet Hours (say 11pm to 7am). Some dorm mates have no problem turning on lights, talking, packing their packs etc during quiet hours. This can be very irritating.
3. Infectious Diseases. Upper respiratory infections can spread quickly.