Why I Love Hostels, & Why You Should Too

Hostels are given a pretty bad name - we've all heard it.
They are small, they are crowded, they are dirty,
the shower is in the hallways, the sink spits out brown water,
it's sleeps 15 with triple bunk beds, there is no room for any of your things.

But the one misconception about hostels, is that those above comments apply to all of them.
Which is not true.
I have stayed in great hostels, and I have stayed in terrible hostels.
For every negative experience, there are 5 more positive experiences.

So I'm coming at you now - a proud survivor of not just one but many hostel stays,
to tell you that they aren't as bad as you may think
and there are a lot of really great reasons why you may want to choose them over other options.

Cheap? I'll Take It
If it isn't already obvious, traveling isn't cheap. You want to do and see everything, and a lot of times that comes with a price. That being said, the cheaper, the better.
You can find rooms for as low as $20 a night, a when it comes to hostels, lower prices don't always mean lower quality.  I've stayed at hostels where I've spend double this, and have had worse experiences than a less expensive room.  So if the reviews look nice, and it is in a great area, I will always go on the cheaper side.  And when you're at the bottom of the barrel for some spare change, this is definitely the best option.
When I said cheap, I wasn't kidding..

A Place For The Lost
Looking for a walking tour? Need a map? Want to know what goes on around town at night? Hostels have all of this. And more! Everything I could possibly think of needing, I could find either in the bulletin boards on the walls, the brochures in the lobby, or by asking the staff.  And if you're lucky, you may find yourself in a hostel with computers in the lobby for you to use for free.
They. Have. It. All.

A Melting Pot of Culture
Right off the top of my head, I can tell you I've stayed with South Americans, Belgians, Australians, Indians, and even other Americans. And while you are able to learn about someone else's culture and way of life, what I really love to learn is their travel story. Everyone's came from somewhere, and everyone is going somewhere. 
No better place to meet some cool people and make some quick friends - nobody stays in a hostel to keep to themselves.

Shouldn't that be reason enough?  Everyone is there for a good time - you can always find a party.  And if you're lucky, you may find your hostel has it's own bar inside of it.  Who doesn't want to come home from a night out for an after-party right below where you're sleeping? I've had drinks with groups of people who I've ended up hanging out with the nights after around the city. We're all here for the same reason - it's more fun if we explore (and drink) together.
There's an explanation for this ... well, not really.

Hostels are so much more than a bed to sleep in for a few nights - so much more.
It may not be a place with the most comfortable bed, or shelves of space for all of your clothes,
but that's not the reason you should stay there.
They are a place to open your mind up, and get out in the world in a more outgoing way.
I still keep in touch with people that I've met. I have memories, hilarious memories, that are some of my favorite moments in life. 
Try and find a hotel where you'll have as much opportunity for these things - because you won't.

Happy hosteling!

What experiences do you have staying in hostels?


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