The words “check-in” are music to your ears. Even when you’re home you begin conversations instinctively by asking “where are you from?” Admit it: you’ve been in a hostel once or twice before, and I’m sure I don’t need to convince you that they are the greatest accommodation option out there. But you may need to convince others.
There is always an uncle, a neighbour or a friend who just doesn’t get it. That’s o.k. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and in your head, name the last five countries you’ve visited. Now that you are calm, you can share with them the reasons why you always choose bunk beds over king size ones.
1. You save money and invest on quality time
“Who cares about a king size bed!? Take me to my dorm!”
A night at a hostel is accessible to all. No matter your budget level, you’ll be saving valuable dollars you can spend on local experiences. Yes, you will still be poor and you can forget about genuinely tagging your photos with #goldentoilet. But you will be rich in memories. Think about it this way, choosing a hostel means giving up sleeping on amazing sheets, in favour of meeting amazing people.
2. How easy it is to make new friends
“- Ok so this on the left is Indira, then there’s Elizabeth, Mike, Louis, Lauren, Alice, Jason …
– Wait! How long have you’ve been here?
– 3 days… Why?”
You arrive and hear a familiar accent in the corner of the room. You are travelling, so of course without even thinking about it, you approach this person and inquire about their country of origin. Within minutes, you’ve found your greatest adventure buddy.
The other travellers in the hostel are all in the same open-minded mood. Nobody wants to have dinner alone. Long story short, you wake up with a bit of a hangover, a bunch of new friends and dozens of stories to tell. And now you know, you will not spend the day alone.
3. An open and welcoming state of mind
“Bienvenue ! Welcome! Bienvenida! Yôkoso! Herzlich willkommen!”
Before you even put your backpack down and add your destinations to the map on the wall —already filled with other travellers’ adventures— front desk staff is already telling you about the next pub crawl, city tour and other free hostel activities.
Hostels are tasked with encouraging intercultural exchange and promoting accessible travel for everybody, so your hosts will give you a lot more than a nice warm bed. What else can a traveller ask for!?
4. Free resources
“After the second purple wall, keep going for three streets and you’ll see it on your right. It’s the building without an address.”
Yes, your hostel will have maps to help you plan the rest of your trip. But even better – staff will always be able to recommend cool spots, give you advice about the best attractions and help you find cheaper prices for activities and rentals. And there’s more! Other travellers are always around and full of wisdom to share. A wisp of inspiration never hurt anyone! The only risk is never wanting to leave a place. At least not until you’ve slid down that famous volcano, which your bed neighbour has been talking about non-stop for the past three days.
5. An international network of friends
“When are you coming to Australia? My guest room is ready for ya’!”
Now more than ever, it’s easy to keep in touch with your travel friends. Between social media and Whatsapp, there’s really no excuse. Even if both of you return to your daily lives (after an emotional goodbye, of course), the sliver of hope for a reunion is ever present and often fuels plans for future trips. Borders will no longer be limits to your projects! A pen pal in Senegal? A guided tour of Prague by an old dorm roommate? Nothing can stop you now.