To Hostel or Not to Hostel? 5 Myths about Staying in Hostels in Europe

I’m often asked why I opt for hostels instead of hotels in the cities I go to. The answer is easy. I want to travel cheaper so that I can travel longer. Staying in hostels is one of the best ways to do that but unfortunately most people believe the stereotypes when it comes to hostelling so they avoid them like the plague. I’ve decided it’s time to dispel some of the myths to show you why hostels are way better than hotels.

Myth #1: Hostels are for under 30

Definitely not! A select few do cater to travellers under 30 but generally, hostels are for everyone no matter what age!

Myth #2: Hostels are dorm rooms for singles with no private space

Most of my stays in hostels were actually in private rooms. If you’re a single traveller, staying in rooms with other travellers might be more appealing but most hostels have the option of single or double rooms like hotels and some even have their own bathroom. Yup, (almost) gone are the days of share bathrooms. Most of the hostels I’ve crashed in gave me my own private ensuite.  Best of all,  €25 per night beats €100/night for a hotel room. Personally, the extra cash I save from accommodations I would rather spend exploring the city (or eating!), non?

Myth #3: Hostels are dirty

Maybe. But so are a lot of hotels. Fortunately, I’ve never stayed in an unclean or trashy hostel (and I would never want to). Most hostel booking sites have thorough reviews from other travellers who have stayed there as well as links to photos of the rooms. I use this to judge whether it will live up to my standards and I have yet to be disappointed. If you do your research you can find some of the cleanest places to stay. Most of the hostels I’ve stayed in have been cleaner than some hotels I set foot in! In fact, my hostel in Madrid should’ve been called a hotel!

Myth #4: Hostels are dangerous

Not so! Guests in hostels are travellers like you and I, on a budget and travelling the world. In fact, if you’re a solo female traveller some hostels offer same-gender rooms, bathrooms, or floors. Hostels are also a lot smaller than many hotels (some look like houses). In fact, some look like houses and are intimate enough that everyone becomes a familiar face. Unlike hotels, you can feel safe knowing who’s coming and going. Some even have a 24 hour staffed reception.

Myth #5: Hostels are party-central

Sometimes. Some hostels have their own bar or themed nights which can be an indication of the hostel’s atmosphere. Again, check out reviews to read what past guests are saying, or you can send an email to the hostel asking if parties are a regular thing there. With a little research you’ll be sure to find the right one for you. If you like the party scene, there’s a hostel for that. If you want a tranquil place, there’s a hostel for that too!

I hope these tips help clear up some of the misconceptions about staying in hostels and I hope they give you the confidence to try hostelling for yourself!