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What is a Hostel? All Your Questions Answered

What is a Hostel? All Your Questions Answered

Planning on travelling and not sure what a hostel is? We’ll answer all your questions about hostels in our guide!

Hostels have changed dramatically since their inception, especially over the past 10 years. Gone are the days of hostels only being a place to rest your head. They’ve become the chosen accommodation for like-minded travellers looking to broaden their perspective and meet new people. And they aren’t just for students or backpackers anymore. From young couples, to families, seniors, and anyone else, hostels are a place for everyone on their travels. If you want more information on, ‘What is a Hostel?’, read on for our full guide!

What is a hostel? All your questions answered

Lissabon, Portugal – Oasis Backpackers Hostel

What is a Hostel? The Basics

Essentially, a hostel is a budget accommodation considered to be the perfect lodging for travellers and Backpackers. In hostels, you’ll find a special atmosphere missing in other types of accommodations. It’s truly part of the experience and what sets hostels apart from the rest.

As stated before: a hostel is so much more than just a bed. With an easy going atmosphere, hostels are the perfect way to bond with the local culture and get to know the destination authentically. You may have a good experience in a destination but choosing the right hostel really takes your adventure to the next level.

What is a hostel? All your questions answered

Guest Kitchen at Oasis Backpackers Hostel in Sevilla, Spain

What is a Hostel? The Social Aspects

Whether you’re travelling with a friend or alone, hostels are a meeting point for people from all over the world. And you will more than likely end up making friends in all the hostels you visit. Hostels provide a friendly atmosphere with social common areas where you can hang-out, play some board games, or even exchange books.

Hostel staff are always friendly and reliable, and as travellers themselves, they understand your needs and expectations. Having this reliability while travelling in a foreign place will make all the difference in the world. And they’ll probably even have a drink with you after their shift!

Hostels also offer a wide range of activities for guests, and most of them are free. From pub crawls, to free food events, walking tours, pub quizzes, and more, you’ll have lots of opportunity to socialise and meet people from all over the world. Hostels are starting to sound pretty great now, aren’t they?

What is a hostel? All your questions answered

Copenhagen Downtown Hostel in Copenhagen, Denmark

Types of Hostel

There are many type of hostels to match every taste. Depending on your style of travel, you can find hostels suitable to your needs and requirements. This kind of lodging can offer a variety of options from the most basic to the most luxurious type of accommodation.

Low-Budget Hostels

If you are on a tight budget you can book low-budget hostels with basic and standard facilities. It’s a win-win situation: you get a bed at a fair price. This type of accommodation usually offers dorms that may have up to 10 beds or more. Usually the more beds in a dorm, the cheaper the price!

Party Hostels

If you are looking to meet new people and have some real fun you should pick a party hostel. These type of hostels usually offers special events for those looking to have a good time. These hostels always have in house bars, daily drink specials, and a Happy Hour. While you should definitely go out and party like the locals do, these hostels are always a safe bet for a party if you want to stay in.

What is a hostel? All your questions answered

Cats Hostel in Madrid, Spain

Boutique Hostels

If you value comfort and a more relaxed environment, we recommend you choose a Boutique Hostel. They typically offer fewer dorm beds, and their atmosphere is less about the party and more about taking it easy. You can find a sense of luxury in these hostels, and still not break your budget!

A private room at Czech Inn in Prague, Czech Republic

Social Hostels

Not to be confused with party hostels, social hostels are places where meaningful connections are made without the party. Upon arrival, you get an, ‘at home’ feeling, which adds to your experience. Social hostels usually offer common areas to encourage guests to strike up conversations and hang-out with each other. There’s also always a guest kitchen, which is another great place to socialise and meet people!

What is a hostel? All your questions answered

Ostello Bello in Milan, Italy

Types of Accommodation

Hostels offer a range of room types – from dorm rooms with 12 beds, to private double rooms, apartments, family rooms, and penthouses, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to booking. We’ll break it down below!

Dorm Rooms

Dorm rooms are the most basic and cheapest option for accommodation. Dorms usually start with 3 beds, and can include up to 16 or more. You can choose which best suits you and your budget when you’re ready to book. And these rooms are almost always mixed.

However if you’re not comfortable in a mixed dorm, hostels also have female-only dorms. Just make sure you don’t leave this request until the last minute as they have limited space.

As far as amenities are concerned, every hostel is different when it comes to dorms. Typically, beds in dorm rooms have an electrical socket, a personal shelf, and a reading light, and the rooms always have personal lockers and storage space. Sometimes they even have privacy curtains, allowing you to block out any unwanted light. And sometimes you can even book dorms with private bathrooms and showers.

A newer trend in the dorm room world are pod beds. They’re singular pods and perfect if you want total privacy. St. Christopher’s in London were the first in the UK to offer these cool bed options!

Dorms in Rising Cock in Lagos, Portugal

Dorms in Rising Cock in Lagos, Portugal

Private Rooms

If you are travelling with your partner or just value privacy but still want to stay in a hostel, private rooms may be the best solution for you. Hostels offer single rooms, double, and twin beds in their private room options. However you can sometimes book private rooms with up to 4 people, and they’re booked out by families or travel groups.

As for bathroom amenities, not all private rooms have private bathrooms, so check the listing before booking.

What is a hostel? All your questions answered

Oki Doki Hostel in Warsaw, Poland

Apartments & Penthouses

As we said, the hostel industry has changed a lot in recent years and we have to answer new demands. Some hostels offer apartments as private accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and kitchens. They’re perfect solutions for digital nomads, families, or anyone who just wants the extra space. It’s like having your own little flat in a hostel but still having the connection to the friendly atmosphere and activities!

What is a hostel? All your questions answered

Dining area in a penthouse suite at Five Elements Hostel in Leipzig, Germany

How to Book the Best Hostels

Europe's Famous Hostels is a network of some of the best hostels in Europe. Their hostels are top rated, offer incredible amenities, and a comfortable bed to rest your head at night. From the Scottish Highlands to Jerusalem, Europe’s Famous Hostels can be found in 36 amazing destinations, waiting to be discovered. Additionally, Interrail and Eurail pass holders are entitled to a 10% discount at all locations on advanced bookings. Click Hier for more info!

What is a Hostel? All Your Questions Answered

We hope we’ve answered all our questions about hostels and that you’ve enjoyed our guide. Now that you’re in the know about one of Europe’s coolest accommodation types, it’s time to plan your adventure. We’re looking forward to hosting you!

If you’re looking for more information to plan your adventure, or simply get inspired, click Hier to find tons of helpful tips and tricks. For all the latest news at Famous Hostels, follow us or subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.

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