Hostels are great – here’s why:
It’s a sad reality that hostels have got a bad rap in the past. “Are hostels safe?” You ask… Someone always pipes up with a horror story – “My friend found a cockroach in her bed” etc – and then there were the films… Taken… Hostel… etc… which didn’t help things at all. But at Euroventure we love hostels and we’re trying to spread the message that things have changed a lot in recent years.
So what is a hostel? On a basic level, a hostel is an inexpensive, sociable place for all sorts of travellers to stay. You can usually choose to share a room or have a private one – but these days they’re so much more! Some are pretty luxurious (think cool bars, rooftop pools and cinema rooms), and what’s more they’re the only way to stay if you’re travelling solo.
So, now we know what hostels ARE, let’s dispel once and for all myths that we’ve heard from you guys. Here’s a list of things that hostels aren’t…
1. Hostels are dirty
FALSE. These days hostels are BIG business – and expectations have changed. Modern and clean is a minimum requirement – if people aren’t happy with their stay, they won’t go back – and they’ll leave a bad review to make sure no one else does either.
With so many hostels competing, the best of the bunch have to be more than “okay” – meaning you’re unlikely to come across a grotty one. You can find reviews and photos online, so you can see how their hostel rooms, shared spaces and facilities match up.
We check them regularly, and if they don’t step up, we don’t use them. Simple as that. By travelling with us, you eliminate the risk of a dodgy hostel.
2. Hostels are basic
FALSE. These days we’re well and truly in the era of the Boutique Hostel. Gone are the days of a chilly bunk bed and communal showers. Now staying in hostels is all about quirky decor, comfy beds, in-hostel bars and plentiful free wifi. Hostel staff are always keen to make you love their city, so you’re likely to come across loads of sociable activities hosted by the hostels we use – think pub crawls, walking tours, club nights etc.
As if this wasn’t enough, hostels often have plenty of facilities to help those travelling for long or short periods of time to feel at home. You’ll find laundry facilities, fully equipped kitchens, free breakfasts, TV, computers and more.
Some of our hostels even have rooftop pools or hidden bars! We like to think these are some of the best hostels in Europe…
Read more about the difference between hostel and hotel in our accommodation guide
3. Hostels are in the middle of nowhere
FALSE. Hostels in films might always be in the middle of nowhere but that’s certainly not the case most of the time. All the hostels we use are centrally located and easily accessible by public transport or on foot. Often they’re less than 5 minutes walk from the station, so staying in hostels frequently means you don’t have to lug your bags about!
Who typically stays at hostels? Here are 10 people you’re guaranteed to meet when staying in a hostel!
4. Hostels are dangerous
FALSE. Are hostels safe? It’s the question we get asked ALL the time.
The answer is simple. Yes. Especially in Europe, where we’re lucky enough to have some of the safest and best hostels in the world.
Can we guarantee 100% you won’t have a bad experience? No – just like in any situation. But we can do our best to prevent it! As far as possible, our hostels have 24-hour receptions, locks on the door and in many cases key-card only access to each corridor – so they’re just as secure as a hotel.
With regards to personal safety, you’ll be in a room with other travellers – people who 99% of the time are just looking for a good time and a cheap place to stay. Hostels won’t stand for criminal or anti-social behaviour, so if you see anything suspicious is going on, tell reception straight away. You can be sure they’ll be out there sooner than you can click your fingers.
What about valuables? A lot of people worry about how to keep your stuff safe in a hostel. All hostels will provide lockers in the room for your valuables (so sharing a room needn’t worry you) – if in doubt, lock em up. If you leave your valuables lying about unattended, no one can guarantee they’ll be safe – but that’s the same anywhere in the world. Check out our money guide for more information on how to keep your currency safe while travelling Europe.
Still worried? Check out our safety guide for solo travellers for more on this!
5. Hostels are full of drunk and noisy students!
FALSE. It’s true that there are party hostels which are pretty sociable and can be loud, there’s loads of choice out there! If you’re a party animal it’s all part of the experience, and if not there’s plenty of other hostels in the sea. These days hostels are home to travellers, professionals, digital nomads and a huge mix of others – testament to how much more comfortable they’ve become!
At Euroventure, we generally go for pretty balanced hostels with a mix of people and a laid-back vibe. This means you can make the most of your trip and do whatever you fancy – whether that’s a pub crawl or a quiet night in! We also ask all our travellers about their accommodation preferences so that we can pick the best hostels for your tastes!
Most people in hostels are pretty considerate; persistent bad behaviour won’t be tolerated by staff. So don’t worry about missing out on your beauty sleep! That said, it’s worth packing some earplugs *just in case* you have the bad luck of sharing with a snorer… If you’re after an even quieter experience, you can always opt for private rooms for a bit more space to yourself.
Visiting Europe for the first time? Here are our top tips for making the most of your adventure!
6. Hostels are full of weirdos
Ok so maybe this one is true… but only the good kind of weirdos – hippies, artists, idealists, escapists, short-term travellers, long-term travellers, first-time travellers… ones like us who just love seeing new places and meeting new people.
If you’re travelling alone, staying in hostels is the perfect way to find others who might be heading your way later on. Long train journeys are perfect for getting to know people from all over the world! Even if you’re already in a group, you never know who you’ll meet – from drunken pub buddies to lifelong friends, we’ve met them all by staying in hostels.
A great tip for travelling is to check out who’s in your room when you arrive – if you see someone on their own, invite them with you to get dinner or a drink, you never know where it’ll take you…
Want to read more about choosing accommodation for your Europe trip? Check out our ultimate accommodation guide.
Convinced yet? We hope so. We use some of the best hostels across Europe and we’d love you to experience them for yourselves! Book a Euroventure and take the stress out of interrailing, with all trains and hostels tested and booked for you. Learn more about our service here.
Want more information? Check out our video guide to hostels:
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Words by Catherine Livesley | Photo credit: Czech Inn, Sant Jordi Rock Palace, Funk Lounge Hostel