What's It Really Like to Stay in a Travel Hostel?

When you think of a 'hostel', you might immediately conjure up images of things like homeless shelters. However travel hostels aren't like this at all. While they're often simple (and the decor is likely to be pretty dated) most are clean, functional and perfectly nice. If you're planning on backpacking or travelling on a budget, hostels are extremely useful. They save you from having to fork out hundreds each night on fancy hotels, while providing you with all of the ameneties you need. A bed, a shower and a roof over your head! Some will even offer free wifi and added extras such as laundry facilities. While you're not going to get five star luxury, budget travel hostels provide a great place to rest and clean up after a busy day of travelling. Planning on staying in travel hostels on your trip? Here's some information to consider.

You'll meet lots of new people
One of the great things about staying in hostels is that you'll meet so many new people. Unlike in pristine hotels where everyone closes the door each night to their own separate rooms, hostels are much more communal and so you'll get to see lots of new faces. Being able to cross paths with likeminded people will make your travels even more special, and so staying in a hostel gives you so much more than just accommodation. These will be the kind of experiences to give you lifelong memories. 

They're inexpensive, especially if you use a hostel card
Signing up to a card which gives you access to a chain of hostels that you can use throughout your trip can be beneficial. These often come with promotional offers so you can save money elsewhere too- it could be on transportation tickets, tours or attractions. Companies like YHA have over four thousand hostels that you can stay in worldwide, and give you access to lots of added extras and bonuses. These are usually more upmarket than regular foreign hostels too and are set in places like country houses and mansions. So could be a good option depending on the type of experience you're after. Whether you're doing a world trip, travelling around a continent or exploring a single country- a hostel package can be a good way to go. Staying in an affordable travel hostel along with all of these added bonuses means you can keep your costs low.

Always use common sense
While hostels are generally decent places, it's still important to use common sense. Secure your suitcase and bags with padlocks, and don't leave valuables unnattended. When you're sharing living space with complete strangers it makes sense to take reasonable precautions. The same goes for general ettiquette- use your head! Use headphones when you're listening to or watching anything on your phone or laptop. Don't take or use anything that doesn't belong to you and don't go switching lights on in the middle of the night. They're not difficult things, but if you're not used to sharing a room with others it's something to bear in mind. Oh and bring earplugs, just in case you're sharing with a snorer!

Have you ever stayed in a travel hostel? What's your best advice for someone looking to stay in one?