Why I Stay In Hostels When I Travel (And You Should Too)

1. They are a lot cheaper than hotels

By spending less on accommodations, you can extend your trip and have more money left to spent on other aspects of your adventure. Here is a quick price comparison for the average hostel vs. hotel accommodation costs in some popular tourist cities:

Vancouver, Canada

Hostel ($20-30) —> Hotel  ($75-150)

London, England

Hostel ($25-35) —> Hotel ($120-200)

Prague, Czech Republic

Hostel ($10-20) —> Hotel ($40-90)

2. You can easily meet other travels to join up with

You are never truly travelling alone when you stay in hostels, unless you really want to. If you feel like having some company or exploring a new city with others, all you have to do is be open to it. Staying in a hostel provides you the perfect opportunity to make new friends and find some safety and comfort if you want it, because the majority of people who stay in hostels are like-minded travellers who are also looking to join up with others.

3. The staff are usually fellow travellers with extensive knowledge of the area

While I usually have a rough idea of what I might want to do in a new city, I find more times than not, my plans get changed (for the better) thanks to the input of the hostel staff members or the fellow travellers I meet around the breakfast table. Many of us may read a bit about a city in a book like Lonely Planet before we go, but while those guides have their definite benefits, getting first hand recommendations from someone who actually lives there, or a traveller who just spent a week exploring, has typically led me to some great unknown and memorable locations.

4. Hostels are typically individually owned/operated

Even if they are part of a hostel association (Hostelling International, youth hostel associations, backpackers clubs, etc.) a majority of hostels are not owned by a large chain or a singular owner like most hotels are. This is why so many hostels are so unique and have their own personal touches. They are free to create the environment they want and can be a lot more friendly to deal with than hotel staff. I have met the owners of several hostels because sometimes they are the ones working behind the counter. I don’t think I have ever met a hotel owner.

5. You get the benefits of the common areas for cooking, researching, blogging, skyping, and meeting new friends

Most hostels have a common kitchen in them, which helps make longer stays even more affordable. You can buy some food from a grocery store and pack yourself lunches for the day rather than buying every meal. Every hostel I have stayed at has free wifi (at least in the common areas) which further brings travellers together. You can look around the room and often see people skyping or chatting with friends and loved ones far away. It makes for easy conversation starters.

6. Hostels can be very unique and interesting places to stay

(Pictures courtesy of www.copenhagendowntown.com)

One of my favourite hostels I have stayed at so far was the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, pictured above and below. It had tons of cozy lounging locations in the common areas, huge city maps all over the walls, free walking tours every day, bean bag chairs outside on the street, clean and comfortable rooms, and much more. But I find that I really enjoy just about every hostel I stay at simply because each one has something unique and new about it. Hostels mix local culture with international collaboration into a fun place to hangout.

7. Hostel staff genuinely want to help you

From places to keep your bags before you check in, after you check out, or sometimes even if you need to store something for a few weeks, to something as simple as a free city map. I find hostel staff really want to help make your trip enjoyable. Some organize group walks or tours around the city, some put together outings to popular locations, and some will sit down with you and help you get from point A to point B and tell you how to book your transportation. I think the best way to get the most out of your trip and to come back with more memorable experiences is to ditch the hotels and go with hostels.

But, that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Have you had any good hostel experiences you want to share? Any bad ones?


Good sources for booking hostels:

Hostelworld (reliable reviews and recommendations)

Hostelling International (discounted prices for members)

Hostels.com

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At the weekend we visited one of our absolute favourite places to stay in London. St Christopher’s Inn is in Camden, probably one of the most energetic and quirky parts of this incredible city. We love visiting Camden’s markets, sampling the amazing street food and chilling with a beer by the river.

We think St Christopher’s Inn is the perfect base from which to explore, it’s one of the best hostels in London because the staff are amazing, the rooms are clean, wi-fi works and there’s a really nice atmosphere. What’s more prices are so cheap!

Take a look at  St Christopher’s Inn
List of hostels I stayed at in Europe

This isn’t necessarily a recommendation of the hostel, but more of just a master list of where I ended up staying since so many people have asked me where I stayed. There’s probably a lot of other good hostels in these cities, but since I often booked last minute, a lot of times the hostels I stayed at were the only ones left.  

Naples: Hostel of the Sun (good place, a little hard to find though)
Positano: Hostel Brikette (only hostel in Positano. I LOVED it.)
Florence: PLUS Florence (big place, lots of amenities, decent location)
Tuscany: Ostello del Chianti (Very quiet, only a very quick walk to beautiful Tuscan scenery.)
Pisa: Hostel Pisa (not bad)
Venice: PLUS Camping Jolly (It wasn’t technically in Venice, but it was basically my only option since I booked so late, but I would honestly stay there again because it was SO cheap.)
Milan: Hostel Mido (It was the only cheap option because I booked last minute…I would not recommend it, but honestly it wasn’t thaaaat bad, it was just not your typical hostel. It’s since been renamed but nothing has changed.)
Interlaken: Backpacker Villa Sonnenhof (Best. Hostel. Ever. It’s like the Ritz-Carlton of the hostel world)
Lauterbrunnen: Hotel Jungfrau (smelled funny, but the location could not be beat. Practically right next to the waterfall. But I recommend staying in Interlaken)
Munich: Meininger Munich City Center (Good hostel, but pretty far from everything but it was right in front of Augustiner Braü which had a nice beer hall with great food. 
Munich: The 4You Hostel (I extended my stay in Munich, and the Meininger was already booked for the next night, so I moved over to this place. Not a bad facility and it was nice that it was just steps from the train station.)
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Youth Hostel Rothenburg o.d.t. (Cool building…and the only hostel in Rothenburg.)
Frankfurt: Meininger Frankfurt (Basically exactly like a nice hotel, except you share the room with strangers. Not your typical hostel, but it’s super nice and after staying at a bunch of stinky old hostels, it feels super luxurious which is a nice change of pace)
Cologne: Station Hostel for Backpackers (great location)
Prague: Hostel One Home (great place, decent location, loved the small hostel atmosphere)
Amsterdam: Shelter Jordan (booking last minute left me with few options. This is a Christian hostel, meaning you weren’t allowed to show up drunk or high to the hostel, but it was kind of nice having a nice quiet place to stay.
Paris: Aloha Hostel (not too far from the Eiffel Tower, and it’s not terrible)
Paris: Le Village Hostel (right in Montmartre with a nice view of Sacre Coeur. Not bad)
Paris: Woodstock Hostel (not bad)
Paris: Le Montclair Montmartre (far from everything but at least it was only steps from a metro station)
Inverness: Highlander Hostel (good location)
Edinburgh: Edinburgh Backpackers (good location, cool old building)
Rome: Sunshine Hostel (nice owners that treat you like family, close to Termini, only needed to stay one night so I just chose the cheapest thing closest to the train station.)





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PubLove - The Exmouth Arms

Our post about St Christophers Inn hostel seemed to go down pretty well last week, so we decided to share another of our favourite hostels in London.

PubLove @ The Exmouth Arms is a hostel with a name that’s a bit of a mouthful, but it really is an incredible place to stay! The hostel has a great location next to Euston’s train, Tube and bus connections and is within 15 minutes’ walk of St Pancras with its Eurostar train Terminal, and neighbouring Kings Cross Station. It’s not difficult to see why they’ve won so many awards, with a lovely interior, free wi-fi, 24-hour reception PLUS a pub and an incredible burger kitchen right below the hostel! We love this hostel and think you will too!

Take a look at PubLove @ The Exmouth Arms

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There’s not a single instance of a horror movie actually causing any violence. People know it’s fake, that’s why they allow themselves to enjoy it. It helps them deal with their own fears, the fear of things beyond their control. People blow up abortion clinics and then blame the bible, but you would never say ‘ban the bible,’ you’d say that’s some lunatic who wants to kill people and then hide behind religion. Nobody ever died from a horror movie, in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s the single best date movie you can go to, because you’re guaranteed to be squeezing that person for the entire film. And if the movie works, your date won’t want to go to sleep alone. Horror films are an aphrodisiac. 9 months from now I predict a wave of 'Hostel’ babies.” -  Eli Roth

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#951: Impressionen aus Seyðisfjörður im Osten Islands.

1. Alte Lagerhütte im Hafaldan Harbour.

2. Die alte Heringsstation im Hafaldan Harbour ist heute ein Hostel.

3. Anlegesteg im Hafaldan Harbour.

#951: Impressions from Seyðisfjörður in the East of Iceland.

1. Old warehouse in the Hafaldan Harbour.

2. The old herring station in the Hafaldan Harbour is today a hostel.

3. Jetty of the Hafaldan Harbour.

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Remember Eli Roth’s cameo in Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D? He played an ill-fated wet t-shirt contest host whose head is crushed between two boats during a piranha attack.

Well, now you can own the screen-used prop of Roth’s upper body from the movie. It’s currently listed on eBay for $999, although the seller is willing to take offers.

No COA for this, but I don’t see how or why this would be faked.

This is a upper torso prop from the 2010 Piranha 3D movie. Eli Roth, otherwise known for his parts in Hostel and Inglorious Bastards plays a host of a wet t shirt contest. Needless to say things didn’t work out too well for his character in that movie.

This prop is a realistic rendering of the actor, and is complete with tubing that pumps fake blood out of the top of his head.

It has a metal stand, and comes with this large sturdy case