Have you found yourself asking this question? Personally I love hostels. They are very inexpensive and, especially for a solo traveller, they provide a great social hub. I have been using hostels in several countries for over 3 years now and 95% of the time it has been a wonderful experience. If you are considering it as an option then read on and hopefully I can encourage you to give it a try.
You may be asking yourself some, or all, of the following questions .
- Is it safe to stay in a hostel?
- Am I too old to stay in a hostel?
- Will I fit in or stick out like a sore thumb?
- How do I find a hostel that will suit me?
- Do I have to talk to other people in the hostel?
- How will I strike up a conversation with the other guests?
- How will I sleep if people snore?
- What should I do if I snore?
- Will I have to sleep in a top bunk?
- What will the bathroom facilities be like?
- Do I have to leave the hostel during the day?
- Do I have do do chores?
Honestly, I know there may be many question running around in your head, there certainly was in mine when I first started to consider it. And in a nutshell, here are the answers to those questions:
- Yes, it is generally safe to stay in a hostel. I feel much safer in a hostel than I do alone in a hotel room. If someone breaks into your hotel room and you are alone who is going to know? If you fall and injure yourself, no one will find you until they come to clean the room the next day.
- No, you are not too old to stay in a hostel. I am currently 65 years old and I love them. You do need to double check that there are no age restrictions though. I slipped up on this just recently and was turned away from a hostel that had an upper age limit of 39 years.
- Hopefully you will fit in but you most certainly won’t stick out like a sore thumb. People who travel a lot and use hostels are generally very welcoming and friendly.
- How will you find a hostel to suit you? Keep reading this blog, I will be discussing this tomorrow.
- Do you have to talk to other people? Of course not. You will find many people spend a lot of time in their bunks in a hostel. They may be sleeping, sorting out photos on their phones, watching Netflix (hopefully using earphones) or reading. People seem to respect this and leave each other in peace the dorms. Also, in many hostels there will be a lounge that just seems to be the quiet place to hang out, sometimes there may even be a designated quiet lounge.
- If you do want to engage in conversation with the other guests then a hostel that does a dinner or a themed night of some sort is a great way to mix with the other guests. Or just start a conversation by asking a question, or for help. You could ask someone how long they have been staying there, or if they have just arrived, where they are from. You could ask them if they know where a certain place is, or what time the Happy Hour is, you just need to be brave. As an English speaking person I am always impressed by how many people speak English extremely well, in fact most people, no matter what their first language, speak a little if not a lot of English.
- How will you sleep if people snore? You either put up with it or wear ear plugs. personally I just put up with it, I don’t really like wearing earplugs. Generally more men than women snore so a mixed gender dorm may be noisier but believe me, women can give the men a run for their money on the snoring front.
- What will happen if you snore? People will either have to put up with it or wear earplugs. I don’t think I snore but I am a screamer! I have had a couple of occasions when someone has woken me up to see if I was OK. It’s embarrassing but not the end of the world.
- You may have to sleep in a top bunk but I usually message the hostel after booking and request a lower bunk if possible. Only once have I had a reply to say that this would be impossible, most places will either say yes,or say they will do their best. If you do end up in a top bunk it’s probably not going to be as bad as you think. In fact it’s quieter because there is no one above you tossing and turning all night. It’s just having to get out of it during the night to visit the bathroom that can be awkward.
- Bathroom facilities vary greatly and I will be talking about that in tomorrow’s post so check back to read it.
- Yes you can stay in the hostel all day if you want. If you are asking this question you may be a similar age to myself. I remember when you had to leave the hostel after breakfast and not come back until dinner time!
- No you do not have to help with the chores. But you do need to wash and dry your own dishes and clean up after yourself if you are using the kitchen. And sometimes you will be asked to strip your bed and bring the linen to reception. Once, and only once, I had to make the bed up myself and that is not an easy task if it is a top bunk and a flat sheet!
Do You Have Any other Questions?
I realise that I haven’t covered everything but I am happy to try and answer any other questions you might have so please feel free to comment. I can always add the questions and answers into the post later.
I will be covering a lot in my next blog when I talk about how to choose a hostel and what to watch out for. I think it’s a great way to travel on a budget and it always gives me a thrill when I hear someone has tried it because of reading my Facebook posts.
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