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Hostel Misconceptions That Just Aren't True

Updated: May 5, 2020

Written by Janah Blizkert

The exterior of the historic 11th Avenue Hostel in Denver, Colorado at dusk..

A lot of travelers look for the economical places to stay, whether it's to stick to a budget, or save money for other trip expenses. More an more, they are also seeking a unique experience for their hard-earned dollar. For these reasons, hostels are becoming a popular travel choice - but they are not just reserved for savvy tourists and backpackers. Over the hears, hostels have evolved to offer unique experiences that cannot be found in typical hostels, allowing guests to make new friends and immerse themselves in local culture.

But they are still in the process of changing misconceptions. From bad hygiene, to security issues, there are some major misconceptions about hostels, and here are the truths behind them.

1. Hostels are Dirty - FALSE

Just because they are affordable does not mean they are dirty. The reason hostels are less expensive than hotels is because they do not offer unnecessary amenities, like private lounges, or huge rooms. Many hostels, for instance, opt for dorm rooms with shared bunks, and community kitchens. Regardless their approach, you will find most hostels to be perfectly sanitary, with personnel doing routine cleaning regularly.

A bubbly hot tub at Ember Hostel in Denver, Colorado.

2. Hostels don't have amenities - We disagree

You're not just paying for the bare minimum when you stay in hostels nowadays. Plenty of hostels have free WiFi (many hotels still charge for this, which we do not understand), and free breakfast or a kitchen. Some even boast extra amenities, like a meditation room, hot tub, or co-working area. In fact, one of our Top 5 Tips to Becoming a Hosteling Pro is to look for these amenities, whether they are small luxuries like a private bathroom, or a common kitchen.

3. Hostels are only good for partying - au contraire!

While many hostels tout themselves as "party hostels," there are options for travelers not wanting to dance and drink until dawn. Some hostels have their own bars, or a great location where partying can be a choice, instead of an in-house amenity. Z Hostel in Manila is a good example of a party hostel that walks the balance with many activities like walking tours to hanging out at their in-house cafe. It's only a party hostel if you treat it as such.

The colorful and lively lobby at Black Elephant Hostel in Portland, Maine.

4. Hostels all look the same - SO FALSE

The only thing all hostels have in common is their value for money and focus on community. True enough, there are many types of hostels today. For example, InsideHook cites the growing number of luxury hostels, called "poshtels," which are cheaper than your average boutique hotel, but still manage to feel like one. There are also "hacker hostels," which are co-living spaces frequented by digital nomads. Other types include party hostels, design hostels, historic hostels, backpacker hostels, and more.

#5 Hostels aren't safe - Also untrue.

Everything in the horror film Hostel (2005) is as fictional as it can get. No, there are not bizarre happenings going on within hostel walls, and people can't just enter your room without a key. Some hostels, like 11th Avenue Hostel and Urban Pack in Hong Kong, even have 24-hour surveillance and reception and private lockers. Many hostels have made the switch or are making the switch to key card access to all doors. It is inarguable just as safe as a hotel.

Hostels are for everyone - no matter what kind of traveler. Chances are, booking a hostel will mean having more than just a bed to crash in at night; it could very well be the cherry on top of an amazing trip.

Written by Janah Blizkert.


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