Before a trip, one of the major questions people ask is where to stay. Hostels vs. hotels – two popular choices, one hard decision.
It’s not uncommon to wish you were on vacation. Nor is it uncommon to dream about all the places you could go to, things you could do, food you could eat… The possibilities are endless! But one thing is for certain – you will have to stay somewhere, be it in a hostel, hotel or homestay. There are other options too, like resorts and private getaways. In this article, we will dive into the reasons why one might (or might not!) choose to stay at a hostel or hotel – read on to know more!
Hostels vs. Hotels: Affordability
The first – and possibly most obvious – reason one might choose a hostel over a hotel is cost effectiveness. Good hostels are often much cheaper than good hotels, however, this owes to other factors like privacy and amenities as well. We will go deeper into these topics later in the article.
Since hostels are often shared living spaces, tenants share the cost of living as well – it is therefore considerably cheaper. The amenities may not be as much either; facilities like swimming pools and gyms are present in some – but not all – hostels. However, it’s a great chance to experience life closer to how locals might live, and also to make new friends! One could say that the money saved can hardly equal valuable life experiences. However, hotels may also be strategically located close to the sights and attractions of a city – something that hostels do not account for. This may also contribute to the lowered price of hostel accommodation. What you may save on stay, you might end up using on travel!
Some hotels are inexpensive as well, but this revolves more around the quality of the room itself. A higher-end hostel can run for the price of a lower-end hotel. Although, sometimes either option could mark up prices – so don’t judge quality by comparing prices of each alone! We suggest looking through the amenities and other preferences of yourself and your travel mates and then making this decision.
Hostels vs. Hotels: Privacy
The obvious difference between a hotel and a hostel is the amount of privacy one gets. Hotel rooms are exclusive to you (and maybe the housekeeping staff) – whereas hostels are free ground. More often than not, sharing a space comes with the package. This could mean two things: either you end up with amazing newfound friends, or an equally amazing room freshener to clear out the post-stomach-bug stench. Of course, the pros of a hotel include having your own private room, possible room service and silence when you want it. Your phone calls will not be interrupted, but sometimes silence is deafening – having a friend whom you can talk to in person is great, and one of the joys of a shared arrangement like hostels.
It is generally an unspoken rule to be respectful of fellow travelers, so many of the people you meet in hostels will respect your privacy needs. They probably need privacy too, so it is important to keep this in mind, and remember that just because hostels are hared rooms, this doesn’t mean they are noisy and cluttered all the time. That being said, you might come across the occasional troublemaker – it is a possibility. The likelihood of it happening, however, is lesser than you think.
It depends on the kind of person you are as well – if you value alone time over shared spaces, then a hotel is the best option. Work can be completed without distraction; there’s no-one to accidentally catch you half-clothed! You are at no-one’s mercy but your own. And sometimes, company does get tiring. In cases where people travel in groups, it is a better option to opt for hotels; solo travelers – your hostel awaits!
Hostels vs. Hotels: Security
We’ve already discussed privacy. But security is also a much-valued factor when one is travelling! Having a place where you can keep your belongings without having to worry about them is a big plus. Of course, many hostels and hotels are quite safe, and there is an individual element (in that it depends on the specific stay). That being said, it is generally said that hotels have a greater chance of being secure. This is because you have your own room, no sharing, and room keys are held by only you and the authorities. In case things do go missing, it is easier to track, since the authorities and yourself are the only ones who have access to the room. However, many hostels also have systems in place to ensure that travelers do not face such hassles – like we said, it is a case-by-case scenario.
There are also solutions for keeping your peace of mind while staying at a hostel. Carrying a sturdy lock, for one, greatly decreases your chances of having things stolen. Some hostels even provide safes, it could help to check whilst planning your trip. Options include leaving valuables at the front desk (with the staff), in a front-desk safe deposit box. If you are keen on going through a hostel, these are some options for you.
The location of both hostels and hotels matters too. How secure is the street where it is situated? Are there many buildings around, or is it in a barren alley? What do past ratings say, and have there been any terrible experiences with staff of locals in the area? These are things you must ask yourself before booking, to ensure that you are in safe hands.
Hostels vs. Hotels: Facilities
Another point in the ‘hostels vs. hotels’ debate is the kind of amenities available. Many hotels have their own swimming pool, gym, relaxation spas and restaurants attached. Hostels may have some of these facilities, but few have all. Again, this is all factored into the cost, which is another reason why hostels are cheaper than hotels.
Amenities also include the types of activities available. Many hotels and resorts will have tie-ups with local excursions, which means easier access to them. For example, a hotel overlooking the beach might have tied up with a snorkeling and diving expert – so you won’t have to go searching for one! Of course, hotels do get some sort of commission for this service, so the prices may be a bit higher, but it’s often worth the trouble. Sometimes searching on your own could lead you to tourist scams or overpriced deals – this trouble is saved by being in a hotel.
Convenience in terms of facilities are also important; sometimes having a cool pool or hot sauna to relax in after a long business trip is just what we need. The hostels vs hotels debate comes in handy here as well. Alternatively, hostels might be situated near such facilities that allow you to explore the area more. A simple laundry trip might help you meet interesting locals, and experience the citizen’s way of life! Since hostels are also more low-key, the staff will also know good recommendations for restaurants, activities and necessities. They may not be directly tied up, but you can trust their decisions!
Hostels vs. Hotels: Accessibility
Another factor to consider is how accessible the place is. Is it close to the other places you need to go? Does it have facilities like travel arrangements to get you there? Or is it in some back-of-the-beyond alleyway where you cannot reach anything?
Often, accessibility depends on the location of the place. Many hotels will have thought this through before building itself, to try and maximise revenue. Hotels often cater to the tourist population, and some to travelling businesspeople as well. For this reason, they may be situated close to local attractions, large trade centers or corporate setups. Some hostels do cater to this population, however, a lot of them choose another option. This is to cater to semi-long (more than a month, less than a year) stays, like some foreign employees or sportspeople who travel.
The ‘hostels vs. hotels’ debate doesn’t stop here – the opposite, wherein the accommodation is inaccessible on purpose is common as well. This is aimed at those who want a ‘getaway’; a place to relax away from all the commotion of daily life. One could consider this strategically located as well. Some might prefer a more personal getaway -and choose a hotel. Others might prefer to be in the company of others, choosing a hostel.
Q: Do other aspects affect accessibility?
Yes. There’s always going to be overlapping concerns in any area of a debate, and this is no exception. Apart from location, the kind of itinerary you have also influences accessibility. Choosing a place depending on what tourist options you want to see, (if you are a sportsperson) where your tournament arena is, (if you are a businessperson) which area your office is situated. This also determines accessibility; a hotel might be considered accessible for one person but not the other. Hostels may also be in demand based on your itinerary. Will you be needing to keep a lot of things in your room? If not, hostels are for you. What places do you need to go, and how long will each take? If you are not going to be in the room for most of the time, does it make sense to pay a premium for hotel facilities? In this way, the itinerary influences accessibility concerns.
Hostels vs. Hotels: Level of Freedom
The hostels vs. hotels discussion can be taken another step further, and made more personalized. What level of freedom are you comfortable with? Most hotels are here to cater to all your needs, in that you won’t need to lift a finger if you are okay with it. Room service and housekeeping, means you don’t have to worry about searching for your own food or keeping your room clean. Staff are here to attend to all of your needs. However, hostels rely on a more ‘self-service’ concept, wherein you put your foot forward and take charge. You might have to go on an adventure food-search, or deal with crumbs on your bedspread after a good club sandwich. Some people are of the opinion that ‘if I’m paying for it, I better get my money’s worth (in terms of service)’, and others believe that ‘I can live and experience life as a local, this is better than having everything at my fingertips’. Again, your choice – this decision depends entirely on the kind of person you are, and what you prefer.
Hostels aren’t as free as you think, though. Many hostels have a night and morning curfew, which means you cannot bar-hop until 4 AM and get back to your room to sleep. There are some exceptions; party-hostels do acknowledge this need and they do accommodate. However, rules are often set to maintain decorum in a self-sufficient space, and this is one of them.
Oh Wait, There’s More!
Other arguments may be made in the ‘hostels vs. hotels’ argument, such as the level of formality of staff, and the extroverted/introverted nature of the client. We do acknowledge these – there are many more reasons why one would choose a hostel over a hotel, or vice versa. This article delves into 6 of them, and we hope it gave you more clarity. To go one step further in your travel journey, choose Visa2Fly! We are a one-stop solution to all your visa, travel insurance and SIM card needs. If you’d like to read more of our blogs, check out the Finland and Danish Delights articles now!