What are Hostels Like these Days?
Hotels are no longer spartan, basic establishments in which everyone has to stay in a dormitory, sleep in a bunk bed, and help with chores before leaving. Many hostels now have private and/or family rooms. The standards may be as good as or better than those in budget hotels and guest houses. There is the added advantage that most hostels have a kitchen, so that travellers can save money by doing their own cooking. There is also often a common room or lounge, so one can meet other travellers and relax in comfort. And hostels no longer have the ‘youth’ tag, as people who stay in them are generally of all ages.
How Can You Find Out About Hostels?
There are several websites that specialize in hostel accommodation all over the world, and a search on ‘hostels’ will find them. The traveler can look for a particular country and/or area, and find out the price of different types of accommodation, ie double rooms, sometimes single rooms, family rooms, or dormitories. Often there are photos of the type of accommodation, and sometimes ratings from people who have stayed there in the past, so that travellers can avoid those establishments with bed bugs or non-stop noise.
Can You Book in Advance?
It is possible to book through these websites, usually paying just 10%, and paying the rest on arrival at the hostel. The websites take credit card payments, and the whole process is very simple and secure.
Examples of Modern Hostel Accommodation
The author of this article has stayed in hostel accommodation many times. She has found that hostels vary dramatically – that is part of their charm. Here are a few examples.
- In one hostel she had a comfortable room, and the bedding and towels were changed daily. The hostel had a swimming pool, a comfortable kitchen, and a common room.
- In another hostel in the same country she had a room which was a little like a cell, and the ambience was more that of a traditional ‘youth hostel’. But it was certainly adequate.
- In a third place the ‘hostel’ was basically a guest house on the main road in the town, with tiny rooms and no kitchen. However, it was very cheap, in a popular and expensive tourist area.
Hostel accommodation is greatly to be recommended, so long as the traveller is not looking for luxury, is prepared to be adaptable, and has a sense of adventure. Why not give it a try?