By | Hannah Lussier
Back in the fall of 2016, as I sat in pre-departure meetings for study abroad, I listened with confusion as the word “hosteling” was dropped into conversations about mid-stay travel opportunities. Having never heard the term before, I mistakenly assumed that it was just fancy traveler terminology for staying in a hotel. What I would soon find out is that hosteling is actually a fun (and cheap) alternative to the more typical hotel stay. During my time in Chile, I have had many positive experiences with hostels. Below you will find my list of 4 reasons why I recommend considering a hostel for your next travel experience.
One of the main reasons I became interested in exploring hosteling as an option for my travels is money. As a college student, studying abroad represents a huge financial challenge. I worked for the money to fund my study abroad experience so, I am always searching for ways to save. In comparison to hotels, hostels are often much less expensive. In touristy locations the difference can be especially drastic. In some cases, I have been able to book a hostel for four nights under the price of one night at a hotel. So if you are looking for somewhere inexpensive to rest your head, look no further!
Quite possibly the best perk of staying at a hostel is meeting new friends. Every time that I have opted to stay in a hostel, the most affordable way to do it was to share a mixed dorm room with around four or five other travelers. Meaning that, unless you are traveling with a group big enough to fill the whole space, hosteling will force you to interact with people you have never met before. While intimidating at first, this task can become the most enjoyable part of your trip. In my experience, most travelers who stay in hostels are young and interested in doing the same thing that you have traveled to do. Hence, hosteling becomes a great opportunity to meet like-minded people from different parts of the world.
In addition to great prices for lodging, hostels often offer additional resources to make your trip more worthwhile. For example, most hostels offer free breakfast, free wifi and a lounge space to sit and relax. Some others offer connections to tour agencies, bus transfer services to the nearest airport and fun bars to enjoy with your new friends. Some hostels even have unique features like art galleries or historic artifacts.
Location is key when traveling. Most people want to be close to key landmarks and common transportation routes and may shy away from hostels that are a bit off of the beaten path. While some like to be at the center of it all, I have found that when a hostel is tucked away it can represent an opportunity to interact with the local culture in a more direct way. When you stray from tourist attractions and loud city centers, you can come away from your stay with a more well-rounded experience of the place that you have visited. For example, you may be introduced to a nice cafe or a cute park where you can socialize with locals. Contact with natives allows you to cast away romantic preconceptions and fully enjoy a city for its worth.
So, get traveling!