HOSTELS: and why you shouldn’t believe any bad assumptions about them.

“YOU’RE STAYING IN A HOSTEL? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE MOVIE HOSTEL?!?!” #ThingsIGetAlot

Answer: No, I haven’t seen the movie “Hostel”, nor will I ever watch it. 

People, people, people. We gotta stop believing everything we see in movies. Hostels are the bomb.com and you have to experience at least one in your lifetime. 

Why? Let me tell you a little somethin’ somethin’.

When I’m not couch surfing, I’m staying in hostels. If for some reason I just can’t find a perfect host in a city, or maybe plans fall through….hostels are my life saver. 

Hostels are GREAT if you’re smart. I use hostelworld.com to search and book my hostels. 

Now, here are the best things about hostels. And why I don’t stay in hotels.

$$$: They are soooooo perfect for travelers because it gives you a nice bed to sleep in….for an awesome price. Depending on the city you’re staying in, some can be a bit pricey where you don’t really get your money’s worth (ex: Venice, Italy). But MOST are worth every dollar/euro/franc/DKK/NOK/whatever you pay. On average I usually spend about 20-35 euros/dollars/etc a night at hostels. 

Bedding: No, you’re not going to be sleeping on a blanket on a cement floor. Hostels have beds – and actually, some of them are quite comfortable. They provide you with clean sheets, blankets, and pillows when you arrive.  

 Example! My bed in Interlaken, Switzerland – Backpackers Villa Hostel.

Facilities: Hostels also offer high-five-worthy facilities. Some have free wifi, breakfast, different activities to join, lockers, kitchen services, hot showers, laundry, air conditioning or heat, some have terraces, 24/7 reception, and more. Now, not every hostel is going to offer all of these. But a lot do. Hint: when you’re traveling: wifi, breakfast, lockers, and laundry services are super important to look for. 

Activities: Depending on where you are at in the world, a lot of hostels offer joinable activities to their guests. Free walking tours, bike tours, pub-crawls, game nights, movie nights. When you’re by the water, some even offer surfing lessons or beach days. The possibilities are endless – and every hostel and destination is going to be different!

Common area: So most hostels have a common area. Some are small, some are huge. Some have chairs, stools, hammocks, or beanbag chairs. Some have ping-pong tables, pool tables, and other games and activities. Common areas are…..common…..for hostels. See what I did there? They’re great because this is typically where you find your travel friends. Ya know, the ones you meet, add on Facebook, and try to keep in touch with?

 Lisbon Destination Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal.

 Backpackers Villa Hostel – Interlaken, Switzerland.

Friendships: Dude. This is probably the best part about hostels. You make so many friends. Typically the friendships start out during a mean ping-pong tournament or maybe a pub-crawl when you guys get so-totally-wasted together and build an everlasting friendship together thanks to free shots of tequila. But when you’re traveling alone, especially, this is great. This makes you avoid the loneliness. You meet people from all over the world, build your connections, and do some awesome things together. Example: When in Switzerland, a girl named Kira from Utah, USA complimented the tattoo of the world on my ankle….a couple hours later I had her go paragliding through the Swiss Alps with me. When I was in Portugal, a girl named Latifha from The Netherlands asked me if I was going to the beach because I was in my bathing suit. 20 minutes later we were on a train together going town-to-town and adventuring. When in Copenhagen, I met a girl named Johanna at midnight when she asked me where to get a towel. The next day we ended up hanging out, going to dinner with a large group from our hostel, and staying up until 3 AM drinking tea and talking.

So no. Hostels aren’t unsafe, terrifying, experiences. And this is just a very short and sweet explanation of hostels. You’re not in a jail-cell type room, sleeping with one eye open because you’re scared you’re going to get stabbed in your sleep. You’re actually in a bed you get to call your own for the time being, and sleeping like a baby because you probably had a kick-ass day in whatever city you just spent your day in. 

#ENDHOSTELHATE

Please don’t believe everything from movies. Hollywood sucks. Hostels do not. Try it.

 My 6-person dorm in Copenhagen, Denmark at Copenhagen Backpackers.  10-person dorm at Lisbon Destination Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal.6-person dorm in Madrid, Spain at Room 007 hostel.

I’ve stayed in many hostels – this isn’t even half of them. But every experience has been great. I’ve never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. You meet amazing people and build long lasting friendships. You get to sleep in your own bed, take a hot shower, and sleep when you want. They’re relaxing. A home away from home. And my advice to you, my friends: JOIN THE PUBCRAWL. Spend the 12 euros to get drunk with strangers and hate yourself as you chug down that free shot. I don’t care if your flight leaves at 5 AM the next day. Do it. 

– xoxoxo, Kim Charters • AS KIM TRAVELS •

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