I’m sure you’ve heard of people who backpacked through Europe while staying in hostels in order to save some money and stay within budget. While that sounds tempting, you may still have questions about how things work in a hostel and if it would be something you’d enjoy. Well, that was my case a few months ago.
Since my plan was to travel for nearly a month, when I started to plan my trip to Europe I knew that I could not afford expensive hotels. I’ve heard plenty of stories how people had a blast staying at hostels, but those stories either came from younger friends, friends reminiscing their good ol’ days or party animal friends. I am neither in my twenties nor a fan of endless parties and going to sleep at 5am. So, I really wondered if hostels were a good fit for me.
I had the impression that hostels would be a mix of drunken roommates, half-clean bathrooms and noisy neighbors. I can’t even sleep with the TV on, so my boyfriend would tease me that I could never survive 25 days in hostels. Uh, yeah… that made me nervous. But after staying in hostels for almost a month, I can actually say that I enjoyed my stays and would 100% recommend it.
I do want to stress that although my budget didn’t allow fancy hotels, I also didn’t skimp out when picking out a hostel. I researched several options by asking for recommendations on Facebook and checking websites like worldsbesthostels.com and hostelworld.com to read reviews, see pictures and read about amenities. The hostels I stayed at were really nice, but still very affordable. I toured Europe in April and paid between €25-38 a night. There are definitely cheaper options out there, but I wouldn’t be able to comment on those. I think it’s worth it to pay more and guarantee some peace of mind. Overall, here are the hostels’ pros and cons in my opinion:
– Price: It’s much more affordable to stay in hostels if you are traveling alone. If you have more people in your party, AirBnb and hotels might also make sense. I stayed in a hotel with a friend for one night in Hamburg and it was actually cheaper than most hostels there because the hotel was running a crazy sale.
– Being social: It’s pretty cool to get to know people from all over the world. Hostel stayers are usually very social, so even if you’re shy you are sure to get to know some new people. A great way to start a conversation is asking where your roommate is from and where have they traveled as soon as you meet them. It breaks the ice and you’ll get to learn anecdotes and fun facts about people and places.
– Location: There are hostels in nearly every neighborhood of major European cities, so you can pick a location that speaks to you.
– Privacy: The only thing I really missed about hotels was being able to spread out and leave my luggage open, have my own space and lounge comfortably without having to worry about others. Since you are sharing a room with unknown people, you constantly have to worry about locking your belongings, being considerate, waiting for other people to shower or use the restroom and so on. I missed getting to my room late at night and turning the light on without having to tiptoe around. It’s the little things, guys. These things may seem small, but after a while I was really craving my own space.
Bathroom breaks: I didn’t mind bathrooms being outside of the room to shower, but when you wake up in the middle of the night wanting to pee and you have to climb down your bunk bed, find your room key and go down a few steps to find the nearest restroom… that was a problem. Not to brag, but I became a professional pee-holder. It was just too much of a hassle getting up to use the restroom at night when people were already asleep and the lights were off.
Noise- I thought it would be super loud and it wasn’t. I took earplugs with me and was completely fine.
Drunk people- I thought I would encounter more party people that had gone overboard with their drinking. I mean… the rooms are set up with bunk beds; so being puked on from above was a legitimate concern in my overly anxious mind. Turns out that people were even more boring than I am. I was often the one arriving late and having to use my flashlight to not wake others up. Not gonna lie, it made me feel pretty young to be the last one out.
Bathrooms: I thought all bathrooms would be outside of your room, but I actually stayed in some hostels with bathrooms inside, so you do get to pick. My first two hostels had the bathroom outside, so I adapted. But it was so nice to have a bathroom or even just a sink inside of the room for my other stays. If I had to do it again, I’d only pick ensuite rooms for sure! It was so much more convenient. Plus, I don’t even think the price changes too much. It’s just a matter of availability finding ensuites available for your travel dates. Also, overall, all bathrooms were pretty clean and well maintained.
That’s basically it. I would totally stay at a hostel again, but at the same time I did miss having my own space. Have you stayed at a hostel before and have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments below. 🙂
Thanks for reading!