Last Updated on September 5, 2015
Each time we talk to someone about staying in a hostel that has never before had the experience, they usually state that they never plan on staying in a hostel. The many myths about hostels have these people clearly freaked, when in reality they have no need to be.
We can understand that the first couple hostel stays may be a little intimidating as it is a new experience and when trying anything new you really have no idea what to expect.
We’re not saying every hostel experience is going to be peachy, but if you select your hostels a little more carefully before booking, you should not have any problems. We used hostelworld.com and hostelbookers.com to help us find the best prices and hostels before making each selection.
The most common myths we hear:
1. Hostels are dangerous
We have stayed at a couple hostels that perhaps felt a little “shady,” but we cannot ever remember feeling unsafe as we went to sleep. Our hostel stays always included enough beds for at least six people, up to a huge room full of what felt like endless beds. If you don’t feel safe in a hostel, don’t stay there. Find somewhere you do feel safe.
2. My belongings will be stolen
As long as you don’t leave all your belongings strewn all over the place and all your valuables laying around as you wander around the town, your belongings will be fine. Use a little common sense and you should arrive home with your valuables after your journey.
You’ll find that most other hostelers are just like you: traveling on a budget. Most are respectful of others. Don’t be loud, annoying and obnoxious. While in Munich, an annoying backpacker would come in the hostel during the middle of the night each night, completely drunk. He made so much noise that woke everyone up every night. One morning, he woke up and all of his belongings had disappeared. Just sayin’. Be respectful.
3. Hostels are for only the under-30 crowd
Though we have not yet hit the big 3-0, many of the hostels we have stayed in had many people that were obviously over the age of thirty. We stayed in a few hostels that did set an age limit, but there are many, many hostels that do not cater to the “younger crowds”.
4. Hostels are dirty
If you stay in a reputable hostel that is recognized by hostelling international, you should have no problems. We didn’t run into any hostels that were so dirty we couldn’t stand being there. Most hostels were clean, some hostels were so well done that they could have been a hotel. The only issue we had was being put in a room with dead bugs all in and around the sink. The problem was fixed and we happily finished our stay.
We also found some hostels to have “lockout times” each day while they did their cleaning.
Do a little research and you should not have to put up with a dirty, gross hostel.
5. Hostels are for parties
Not always. Some hostels feature their own bar, parties or theme nights. This can be an indication of how “exciting” a hostel will be for you to stay at. Reading reviews on past experiences others have had is a good start to find what you are looking for.
Hostels are a great way to meet new people that will have interesting stories for you, but it doesn’t always have to turn into a huge party.
You will manage to get sleep! Several hostels set quiet time.
6. All Hostels are dormitories
There are many options available nowadays. You can stay in a dormitory if you please, but there are other options available too. Keep in mind that the more people you bunk with, the cheaper it is. The less people you bunk with, the more expensive it gets, but you will still be paying less than you would at a hotel. Find what will work for you with the budget you have.
Don’t be afraid.
Hostels should be approached with a level of caution, to ensure you select a decent place to stay. However, it shouldn’t be a frightening experience. Go into it with an open mind and you will find hostelling to be a fun experience and a great way to save money to spend on other travel expenses!