Budget Travel Busabout Partnership Travel Tips

5 Reasons Hostels Can Be Better Than Hotels

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fauzi Azar Inn, Nazareth, Israel | TheBlogAbroad.com
Fauzi Azar Inn in Nazareth, Israel | Hostels can be fancy too!

The first time I heard what a hostel was, my mind did everything to convince me that they’re just not for me (aka I was brainwashed by mainstream media and horror stories like everyone else).

But there are so many misconceptions about hostels that people have no idea what they’re missing out on!

Traveling with Busabout these past few weeks has reminded me how much a proper hostel stay can add to your overall travel experience.

Not to mention, when traveling solo, sometimes you meet such interesting people that you end up altering or accommodating your plans to fit theirs!

Looking back on my travels over the last four years, some of my favorite memories were birthed in the hearts of hostels across the world. And to this day, I still keep in touch with the many people I’ve met in passing at the bars, lounges, and lobbies of these adult playgrounds.

And I get that traveling as a couple, with family, or with specific needs or ameneties might not make hostels very ideal for you.

But if you’re the everyday 20-something year old, eager to explore the world, on a budget, and want to maximize your experience, then I promise you, staying in hostels will be one of the best things you could do for yourself. And here’s why.

1. You have United Nations meetings on a nightly basis.

Pars Teatro Hostel, Barcelona, Spain | TheBlogAbroad.com
Pars Teatro Hostel | Barcelona, Spain

When I tell you #SQUADgoals is taken to another level, I mean it! Your nightly crew consists of people from at least ten other countries, and your conversations range from “educational” games of Never-Have-I-Ever to cultural norms, stereotype-confrontations, and dare I say it, politics!

The beauty in comparing your upbringing to that of a Swede’s, German’s, or Korean’s is something you will always remember and never be able to duplicate in this exotic hill setting you’re in, watching the sunset, and drinking your two euro wine, you fancy millennial, you. #LaVida

2. Hostels are basically adult playgrounds.

PLUS Florence Hostel | TheBlogAbroad.com
PLUS Florence Hostel | Florence, Italy

Pool tables, hammocks, swimming pools, couches, apple juice (read: beer) on deck, at all times. I mean, honestly, what else do you need to remind yourself that being a kid in an adult body isn’t half as bad as adultier adults make it seem?

Remember, you’re in a new city to visit the city! So all you really need in accommodation is a place to comfortably lay your head for a few hours (but even that’s questionable, because sleep in a city like Barcelona is a rarity).

The lounge and bar is where it goes down, and all other fun should be had while exploring the city.

3. You have some of the best travel advice a bunk away.

Chiang Mai, Thailand | TheBlogAbroad.com
Chiang Mai, Thailand

You know what’s better than Google?


Having a face-to-face conversation with a person who has JUST returned from the very trip you’re about to go on.

So often, the search results on Google are outdated, ads, or websites that don’t give us the full details we need to make a buyer’s decision.

People have been and will always be the best type of travel marketers out there [hint hint: Hi Travel Brands, hire me ;)] because people are more likely to trust advice when they can see the face of the person behind it.

So on a daily basis, you can have a world of firsthand knowledge just ten feet away from you, and it’s amazing.

4. It’s where solo travel meets group travel.

Shamrocker Adventures | TheBlogAbroad.com
Hostel mates from our Shamrocker Adventures Tour | Ireland

One of my favorite things about my early solo travels, was the potential to meet up with other solo travelers and turn our individual vacations into a spontaneous group trip!

It’s hard to match your schedules with friends back home who have limited time off, so why not plan a last-minute trip with your new friends from Brazil, Portugal, and Croatia and get ready to have some of the most unforgettable memories of your life.

It’s also so much fun traveling with new friends, because old friends might judge, be hesitant, or not understand your crave or desire for adventure. New friends who are already traveling, are much more likely to be the “YES” FOLK you need in your life.

5. You pay half the price for twice the fun.

Mai Chau, Vietnam | TheBlogAbroad.com
Sipping rice wine from a hammock in a hostel treehouse in Vietnam, because you can’t do this at hotels 😉
Rice Wine | Mai Chau, Vietnam
Bonding over rice wine and bad decisions | Mai Chau, Vietnam

Let’s be honest here.

As a 2013 college graduate, a slave to my student loans, and not in the “adult” stage where I can splurge effortlessly yet, then budget accommodation is not only preferred, but it’s the smarter choice for those who rather spend their money on more flights and experiences.

Not to mention, hostels around southeast Asia can be as cheap as $2 or $3 per night!

The times I’ve stayed at hotels, in all their luxurious glory, I usually fell asleep, stared at my TV, or stained the grounds with my peasantry in some capacity.

In hostels, the minute a new person comes in, it’s like they’re welcomed to the tribe.

We ask the usual initiation questions…

What’s your name? Where are you from?! How long are you here?

Because we’re curious about this potential new amazing friend, and we want to make sure you feel welcomed.

It’s hostel code.

And the next thing you know, you’re making plans for dinner or a night out with your new friends from Japan, South Africa, and Canada.

So the next time you’re contemplating booking that hostel, resort to this article, consult with your wallet, and do the right thing.

P.S. Hostels also have private rooms, so you can also get privacy with all the hostel benefits 😉

Busabout accommodations are almost always hostels for this exact reason! So join the cool side.

My favorite hostel booking site is HostelWorld.com and I use HostelGeeks.com for their “5 Star Hostel” recommendations in all the the top cities!

Why Hostels Are Better Than Hotels | TheBlogAbroad.com
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  • Gani

    Glad your hostel stay have been great! I’ve stayed at them before and we don’t have group meetings and everyone seems to stay with their groups and don’t bother interacting with others. I’ll probably starting doing Airbnb.

    • Hey Gani, thanks for reading! Next time you stay at one, try walking up and just introducing yourself!

      I know the idea is daunting, but there are ALWAYS solo travelers in hostels, amd chances are, they’re just as shy and waiting for someone to walk up and say “Hi”. Be that person 😉

      • Gani

        I don’t hang out around the hostel that much and I usually meet people when I’m out and about. I’m still new to solo travel and as an awkward shy black girl, it is not the easiest thing especially when it feels like you are purposely being ignored ugh. I’m definitely working on being more approachable.

        • The really good hostels like Abraham’s hold nightly events in the hostel that make it easier to socialize.

          As someone equally awkward and black, hahaha, I know the feeling of apprehension!

          It takes some effort, but try being the first to smile and wave. It’ll make you more approachable 🙂

          • Gani

            Will do! I just love your personality, it’s so carefree. I wish I’m like that haha

  • JustGoPlaces

    Thanks for the peek into hostels! never stayed in one but I’d let my daughter do it if she wants. The only thing that would freak me out would be bed bugs or cleanliness issues, but then again, you can get that at nasty hotels.

    • Good point about bed bugs, because that brings up another myth! I found bed bugs in 4-star hotels before and they’re unfortunately not something exclusive to any certain type of accommodation. They can be anywhere :/

  • I am one of those people who have also been brainwashed to have a certain opinion on hostels. However, now that I see more and more bloggers showing the advantages of hostels, my opinion has shifted a bit. Might try my first one in Iceland!

    • Ooooh, I hear Iceland has some of Europe’s fanciest hostels, so you’ll really be in for a treat! 🙂 Best of luck!

    • Courtney Cross-Johnson

      You should definitely give it a try. Maybe even start out with a “luxury” hostel to get your feet wet!

  • Jen Ryder

    This is all true! Even as a couple my husband and I almost always opt to stay in private rooms in hostels. Hostels have more character, it’s easy to meet people, not to mention it’s so much cheaper than hotels! Like you said, we’re there to experience the place and the people, so all we need is a safe space to lay our heads.

    • Love it, Jen! I hope my future husband, heck he won’t have a choice (LOL) doesn’t mind hostels because the character and community in there is unparalleled!

  • Courtney Cross-Johnson

    I completely agree! I absolutely love hostels when I am on a solo travel excursion. Sure, a splurge every now and then is great, but to build community and meet like minded individuals is priceless.

    -Courtney from thirty30courtney.com

    • Couldn’t have said it better, Court! That like-minded travel community is almost birthed in hostels. It’s our safe space to talk, laugh, and exchange cultures. I love it!

  • Yaassss! I love hostels so much more than hotels, even as a total introvert who doesn’t always want to socialize in groups (though I have made some great friends from staying in shared dorms). Hostels these days know their ish, and they’re SO flippin’ cheap. There’s always something so much warmer and more personal about them.

  • Rich Wake

    Nice article but it doesn’t just relate to the big city hostels but also the mountain and countryside hostels.

    As a Cycle tourer, I often use a hostel for one night, but I’ve always found people to chat to and plenty of conversation to keep me going!