Hostels over Hotels for Solo Travelers?

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It blows my mind when people tell me they have never stayed in a hostel before! Some people don’t even know that they are a viable option. To me, it’s one of the best parts of traveling. I remember my first solo trip; I was in Bali, alone, and had NO IDEA how I was supposed to meet people. I would go out to dinner, sit at a table and just get lost in my phone…praying nobody (or maybe somebody) would approach me. I was so incredibly shy, I don’t even know what I would have said if someone tried to start a conversation! The anxiety was overwhelming. Luckily I was able to ease myself into my surroundings thanks to Girls Love Travel and handy dandy Tinder. (Yes, you can actually meet travelers on Tinder that don’t have an “agenda”…but we’ll get into that another day). Had I known about hostels before my trip to Bali, I would have made friends much easier and saved a significant amount of money!

  1. So, what exactly is a hostel? Think of it like a dorm. There are male and female only rooms, as well as co-ed and private rooms; depending on what you’re looking for. There’s shared bathrooms and communal living spaces, usually with a shared fridge/kitchen space, too, so be sure to write your name on your food! It’s basically like having built in roommates…in another country! Rooms can have anywhere from one bed (private) to as many as 10 beds, if not more. It all depends on the hostel and how much you are willing to spend!
  2. Isn’t it dirty? Just like hotels, some hostels can be dirty. Yes, sometimes I have shared rooms with people who have been outside sweating all day and didn’t think to take a shower. (The smell of sunscreen, sweat, and saltwater is very distinct). Sure, sometimes people will eat in the room and leave their dirty dishes laying around like they are at home, but 9 times out of 10, people are very aware and respectful of others in their surroundings. The common areas and bathrooms are almost never a problem, but always wear shower sandals just to be safe. Oh, and of course, do your research! If it was a bad experience, other travelers will definitely let you know! 

               * Hostel World                        * Yelp                              * Trip Advisor

 3.  Aren’t hostels for young people? What if I’m not into partying? Hey – I hear ya! Especially if you’re just getting in from a day of traveling, the last thing you want to do is be kept awake until 4 AM with music and drinking. Again, this boils down to DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are party hostels, some that even have a bar attached. But there are also hostels that cater to an older crowd. Ones that require quiet time beginning at 11 PM – beauty rest, anyone?  It’s all about knowing where to look. Even if you book yourself into a “traditional” party hostel, they usually have earplugs available at no cost. (You never know when you’re going to be sleeping next to someone who snores, so it’s good to snag a pair just in case!) You can also request to be in a “quieter” room, if that’s your preference. Hostels are always willing to do what they can to accommodate you.

4. What should I expect upon checking in? Most hostels are manned 24/7, just like hotels, in order to accommodate guests arriving at all hours. You will usually be assigned to a room, get a key, and be given a rundown of the area. Linens are always changed after each guest, so rest assured that you’ll be sleeping in a clean bed. Depending on the hostel, you may have to pay a small deposit for a towel for the shower (some hostels give it for free) and a lock for your belongings.

5. Will my things be safe? Hostels always try to keep your belongings protected, but it’s your responsibility more than theirs. With so many travelers in and out of an area, yes, things can tend to get swiped when you’re not looking. As most travelers know, there can be shady characters anywhere. Take full advantage of any lockers that may be offered on the premises, and of course, always keep an eye on your belongings. Don’t leave anything valuable lying around in the common areas, or it may not be there when you come back! It’s always a good idea to have a small travel lock on your luggage as well.                                                  

Running low on money? Hostels are a great alternative! Some hostels even offer work exchange programs! A few hours of work per day/week in exchange for accommodation. Usually it’s something simple like cleaning, making beds, or bartending. It isn’t always advertised, though (of course they would rather have people pay!) but shoot them an email to ask if that is something they might offer. Check out the hostels that I’ve done work exchange for here:

– Globetrotters Hostel  (Cairns, Australia)

Hostel Fish  (Denver, Colorado)                                                  

What are some of the best hostels you’ve ever stayed in? Leave a comment below or message me, I’d love to check them out in my travels!


Be sure to check HostelWorld now to find great hostels within your travel dates!



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48 thoughts on “Hostels over Hotels for Solo Travelers?”

  1. Hostels definitely beat hotels! As a solo female traveller it’s the best way to socialise and if you’re lucky to meet like-minded people you can go and sight see as a group!
    I even feel safe staying in mixed hostel rooms, I’ve done this in Europe a lot. Just use locks on your belongings and you will have no problems!
    The Yellow in Rome is my favourite hostel so far. So many lovely people and awesome rooms. We were watching people dancing, singing, drinking and cooking in the street from our window!

  2. Hostelworld are really good, I used them when I was travelling! Great guide though, glad to see the stereotype of “young people only” is being addressed. We met an older couple in Buenos Aires who really enjoyed being in our hostel, but they were a bit confused with having to serve your own breakfast.

  3. Never experienced a hostel before but it’s definitely something I would like to do at least once, should’ve done this before the kids though. Adults only trips are getting hard to come by…

  4. I wish I had tried this when I was single and childless, I think it would have been a great experience but now I think I have passed that. I like my privacy and luxury now

    1. I totally hear that!! There are actually some upscale hostels that are quite nice as well, it may be nice to try for a day or two whenever you start traveling again. I find it helps ease you into an area a lot quicker.

  5. I am one of those people who blow your mind because I have never stayed in a hostel and probably wouldn’t. With the variety, luxury and convenience of hotels, I choose hotels. I don’t knock it though. Hostels may not be for everyone but they are perfect for the adventurous traveler. Thanks for this information…it was really interesting.

    1. I understand that completely! I do love spending time in hotels as well. Yes, hostels are generally geared towards a certain type of traveler. Right now in my life, I know it’s the best option for me because I’m young and shy. But I know in a few years it will be hotels all the time! Thanks for taking the time to check out the blog! <3

  6. Hey! I love the look of your blog. I am traveling back in time to all of my travels spent sleeping in hostels- they were cool but they also got old fast. I suggest mixing it up, when you can, and if you have the $$. Thanks for the great post!

    1. I totally agree! Hostels can get mentally exhausting sometimes. I always try to balance it out with some hotel stays once in a while for mental health 😉 Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the blog ?

  7. I’ve stayed in some gorgeous hostels nicer than hotels! If you have a private room and a private bathroom it’s like a hotel at a fraction of the price! Or share a room and bathroom and put that money towards the rest of your trip!

    1. Yes, I actually Couch Surfed for the first week that I was in Denver. I loved it, my only problem is that I’m very independent and I want to have adventures at my own pace. I sometimes felt obligated to go out with my host/change my sleeping habits to accommodate theirs. Hostels helped me out a little with that, having a room to escape to when I needed to quiet my mind and be alone. Ideally my trip would be a nice mix of hostels, CS, and AirBnB’s!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this! I stayed in a couple of hostels throughout Europe but with a tour group. I’m probably going to stay in a hostel when I travel solo soon, but my worries is just my luggage. Since I’ve read that a lot of backpackers use hostels normally, I’m just afraid/shy my luggage will be too big. Like as in, I normally take a normal size luggage (a bit bigger than a carry on) so I don’t know if that’ll look weird taking into a hostel or if it’s normal. I’m not sure if I’m making sense…

    1. Oh, don’t worry girl! I had a full sized suitcase that came with me to Las Vegas and Denver. Although most people do travel with a backpack, there are also a god amount of people who have full suitcases as well. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Thanks for stopping by to check out the blog!

  9. Wow, thank you so much for sharing! I have always been mislead by hostels, having pictured them as “dirty” or “rundown”. While I am still much too young to travel, I wish to someday backpack in Europe, and I find it great to know that hostels are a safe, welcoming – and probably cheaper – alternative to hotels. Plus, who is going to find a hotel backpacking? Thank you again for this valuable, brilliant information!

  10. I did forget one thing – are hostels easy to find when backpacking in Europe? As I said above, this is something I really want to do in a few years from now.

    1. Yes! I’m so glad this information helped for you. Luckily hostels are very easy to come by in Europe. I would suggest using my link above for HostelWorld. You can select the exact dates and locations of where you want to visit, and it will give you a full list of prices. Finding a hostel once you decide to travel shouldn’t be a problem!

  11. I looooved to stay in hostels because I loved to meet other travellers. Now I prefer private rooms, where I can leave my things and don’t have to worry about someone taking my stuff.
    But hostels are super cheap in some places and private rooms just not affordable, so then I stick to the hostels. If a private room is not really expensive, I’ll take it

  12. I never knew about hostels. This was a really neat article. I learned a lot and this blog has a really bright energy. Thanks for sharing yourself with the world!

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  19. Ho Ho Hostel in Hong Kong is awesome! They are almost always booked out. I just randomly found a bed there for one night, so I was lucky to meet the two friendly owner of the hostel. The rooms are quite big for Hong Kong standards, and they even have small windows, a very rare feature in Hong Kong accomodations. The price was good as well, around 200-250 HKD which is around 20-25 Euros.

  20. Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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