There is a certain stigma when it comes to staying in hostels. Many people are especially very paranoid about how safe their stay would be. In reality, hostels and backpackers aren’t nearly as bad as their reputation suggest. Hostels always have their share of negative and positive reviews, but most of the time they are a great form of temporary accommodation.
The best thing about hostels is how cheap they are to stay in. Many hostels are also very flexible when it comes to adding nights onto your stay and taking in last minute bookings. If you are unsure about how long you will be staying, always book fewer nights instead of more. You are always able to add on to your stay, but cancelling bookings will rarely result in a refund.
When it comes to staying in hostels, safety is the one thing that puts people off the most. Sharing a room with strangers isn’t the most comfortable of experiences, but there are a few ways to ease the paranoia. Always look for hostels that have lockers available. These may cost you money but they are definitely worth it. I have never come across any thievery in hostels, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Yet, the best way to ensure that your property remains yours is to socialise with the other people in your room. Hostels are always full of people from different countries and cultures and the more you get to know them, the more they will look out for your belongings.
While it is great to befriend your roommates, one thing to remember when staying in a hostel is that you do not owe anybody anything. (Other than being respectful of the hostel rules and other people’s property, that is.) Personally, if I arrive back to a hostel late, I will take extra care to be quiet and not wake anybody up. Most people will not take the same courtesy and majority of the time you will be woken up far earlier than you desired to be. Everybody has paid the same amount so don’t feel inconsiderate if you make a bit of noise. This is both one of the good and bad things about hostel life. While it is handy to be able to come and go as you please, other guests have the same privilege. Just, don’t expect to get the best night’s sleep, especially during weekends.
Many hostels have a lot of beds which means that there will always be people around using the facilities. You will need to get used to waiting patiently to use the toilets, showers and kitchens. Also do not expect much as you get what you pay for. Sometimes showers are difficult to work, sometimes the beds are uncomfortable and sometimes the kitchen exists of nothing more than a microwave and a fridge. It is all about adapting to what is available. If breakfast is on offer, take advantage of it. Whether it is free or costs a few pounds, it will always be cheaper than going to the supermarket or a café.
There is a lot of apprehension surrounding hostels, but they really are the perfect form of accommodation for somebody who simply needs a bed to sleep in and a bathroom to use. Staying in hostels is definitely an experience. It teaches you to live off the necessities and appreciate what you have. Hostels also give you the opportunity to meet some great people and widen your knowledge of different places and cultures. If you are looking for affordable accommodation, a hostel is the way to go.