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4 Reasons American Travelers Should Give Hostels A Chance

4 Reasons American Travelers Should Give Hostels A Chance

Why Do Americans Hate Hostels?

Hostels are a European mainstay where travelers old and young alike stay for varying reasons. Some of the top being that board is cheap and if you’re traveling alone and looking to make a few friends for the weekend, then there’s sure to be a group that will adopt you for a night or two.

If you’re well-to-do or an older couple looking for a relaxing and luxurious space to settle into once you’ve landed, then this is probably not what you’re looking for. However, if you’re a young, budget traveler then hostels are a perfectly viable option. Unfortunately though, it seems that the word “hostel” tends to leave a bitter taste in Americans mouths, but why?

Hostels are definitely not your average all-inclusive 5-star hotel or resort, but they’re probably no worse than your generic cockroach infested one room NYC apartment that you spend almost $3,000 a month on. For as little as $15-20 a night you can stay in an expensive city like Paris without breaking the bank on accommodations. Unless you're booking a spa weekend or a relaxing retreat, then travel is not about the luxury and expense, but rather the experiences you make.

Still not convinced? Then check out four more reasons why you should embrace hostels while traveling.

1. Affordability

There’s no denying that most Millennials are over-worked and underpaid, but this doesn’t mean that travel, whether it be national or international, should be prohibitive to you just because you can’t afford a hotel room.

Hostels mostly have dorm-style accommodations available, however as long as you can plan your trip early enough in advance, it should be fairly easy to get a hold of a private room. Even better, if you’re going on a trip with a group it’s also possible to book out a shared room for you and your friends!

2. To Meet New People

Have you ever traveled solo for a while and then you started to get a bit bored with your own company? In hotels, it’s rare to find a friendly face to chat with. Most people are there to relax and enjoy their privacy. They don’t particularly want to get to know or spend time with any of the other occupants.

Luckily, at most hostels, there are plenty of lone travelers or groups who would be happy to get to know you, even if it’s only for a few days. Now you can have a bit of fun without spending another Friday night solo!

3. To Gain Perspective

It may sound corny, but you will leave an impression on every person you meet. It could be that they forget you within 30 seconds or they may remember you for a lifetime. What they remember you for, is of course, up to you. In any case, the great thing about meeting people from all over the world is that you can share your perspectives and life experiences. And a hostel is a perfect place for this.

It’s good for your personal development as a human being to learn about other cultures and points of view. Not just through the eyes of a tourist looking at some art or monuments, but to actually listen to a native from another country speak about their triumphs and struggle. Who knows, you may end up having more in common than you think!

4. It’s Just As Safe As Anywhere Else

Many people will cry that hostels aren’t safe, but that isn’t necessarily the case. In general, most people who show up there are just like you or me — they are trying to travel, mind their own business, and are not interested in stealing any of your belongings.

When you’re traveling it is your responsibility to take precautions for your belongings every step of the way and make sensible choices about the valuables you choose to bring. Most people will, of course, need their phone and laptop, but is it really necessary to bring great grandma’s expensive diamond ring? Probably not.

Quick anecdote: When my friend had gotten off the ferry and arrived at her private room in her beachfront hostel in Indonesia, she started going through her things and putting them away. When she looked into her makeup bag to grab her cash for the stay, she noticed it was gone.

Dismayed, she turned the bag inside out and looked everywhere for the missing bills, but she couldn't find them anywhere. She soon realized that when she gave up her bag to the ferryman, they must have gone through it and taken the cash. Of course, she was upset, but at this point, there was nothing she could really do about it. However, she did realize that she had broken a very important travel rule:

Never leave money or other valuables in a bag that you are not watching yourself or carrying with you.

The same types of rules that apply for travel in general also apply for hostels, especially if you’re staying in a shared room. If you’re in a private room though, then it’ll be much like staying in a hotel, in that you don’t necessarily need to lock up your belongings.

Maybe Hostels Aren't Half Bad

Hostels are by no means a perfect or fit for every traveler's needs, however, this doesn’t mean they are intrinsically bad. They can often be a convenient and affordable solution for travelers on a budget. An important thing to remember about hostels is to manage your expectations. If you’re expecting a full on breakfast buffet in the mornings and a queen sized bed with a refrigerator in your room, then you will be sorely disappointed in hostel accommodations.

However, if you’re looking for a place to lay your head, keep your belongings, and meet some cool peeps along the way, then this is the option for you. Don’t feel like you have to waste your hard earned cash on costly accommodations, instead use it on some flights and killer experiences.

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