Yes – hostels are a great option for solo travelers.
It offers a mix of affordability, community, and shared values. And if you’re looking for these 3 things, hostels are the best place for you.
However, they also come with a downside. And they might not be suitable for every solo traveler out there.
I’ll be talking more about it in this blog post as well as offering my insights based on my years of experience staying at hostels.
Also, I’ll be answering some of you common questions you may have before staying at hostels.
Why do solo travelers prefer hostels?
Most would say it’s because of more affordable lodging, but other reasons also exist. For example, if one stays in a hostel, one gets to meet a lot of fellow travelers and locals.
Meeting new people and making new friends is a huge part of traveling alone. Also, when you meet the locals, there’s a greater chance they’ll take you to some off-beat travel spots which most outsiders wouldn’t have heard of.
The advantage of staying in hostels
Let us take a look at these.
1. Meeting new faces
One gets to be in direct contact with many locals and travelers who can always tell you about new places to visit, to eat at, or new things to do. They can answer your doubts about a particular place and help you plan.
However, since they are not a direct part of your team, that is, since you are traveling solo, you are under no pressure to follow their suggestions or instructions strictly.
2. More affordable
This a very obvious benefit – in general, hostels are way cheaper than hotels and apartments. And it’s the biggest reason why finding them is so much better.
On the downside, you need to compromise on your privacy. But hey, if you don’t sacrifice that, you won’t meet new people.
During my trip, I was out of an apartment in Graz, Austria. Booking a hotel in Europe is very expensive. Plus, many apartments were fully booked. So it made sense to rent out an 8-bed dorm in the A&O hostel in Graz.
3. Fun-filled time
Since the hostel is a social place where you can meet other people, you can plan a fun time with them.
Also, hostels organize many activities for travelers. It could be a night crawl, 1-day or 2-day trips, treks, etc. Compared to a regular hotel, the staff is generally friendlier.
The disadvantages of hostels
Now coming to the cons of staying at hostels.
1. Lack of cleanliness
Very often, hostels are not well maintained and are not very tidy. Since many live together, proper, timely waste disposal becomes a major issue.
You might have to adjust to the peculiarities of staying with different people in a hostel dorm.
Tip: Read reviews and choose hostels or hostel chains to live in. Often, the premium ones like say A&O hostels offer a good stay and ensure the rooms are cleaned every day. You might pay more, but it’s well worth the effort.
Since you’re sharing a common space, you need to watch out for your belongings. Though you won’t always face problems, you don’t want to risk your belongings.
Tip: Lock your belongings before you leave. Many hostels also offer a common locker room where you can safely store your luggage while leaving your dorm.
3. Sharing common amenities
Many hostels offer shared kitchens, where boarders can work together to create a tasty meal. This means you can work with other travelers and locals to cook local cuisine.
But on the other hand, you might have to wait till you can use these amenities. The same goes for bathrooms. If your dorm has 1 shared bathroom, you might have to wait if someone else occupies it.
4. Lack of privacy
If you prefer working on your own, then hostels are probably not a good place for you. It’s better to book an apartment or a hotel.
Most hostels would offer a common space. But it’s never very convenient to work from there. Because the environment is designed to relax you.
You’ll hear many gossips, then in some corner, a group of people will be playing pool, etc.
Hostels are very popular amongst solo travelers. They are cheap and offer you a community to have more fun. If your only goal is to travel, then hostels are a great option.
But for working professionals, who want to work and also travel, hostels wouldn’t be the best option. It’s far better to stay in an apartment or a hotel.
Hope you found this useful!