What are Backpackers Hostels?

There are two very obvious reasons why many travelers are now choosing hostels – they are cheap stays and they make perfect traveling partners.

Hostels, unlike hotels or any other form of accommodation, entice more and more travelers who have inexpensive needs and offer stay options of different price ranges, like single rooms, to multiple beds, and beds in a dorm.

This is why it isn’t really a surprise that most backpackers today choose to stay in hostels.

But if you think that hostels are just inexpensive accommodations, they are actually so much more than this.

They can serve as your home away from home, a place where you could get connected with other travelers coming from different parts of the world.

If you are a backpacker and you are looking for a great place to stay, backpackers’ hostels might just be the perfect answer for your needs.

Backpackers Hostels – A Short Definition

Here is a short definition of what backpackers hostels are:

Backpackers hostels are creative and funky hotels that are often run independently, offering a place where backpackers and travelers can sleep.

You can think of these as more similar to hotels but the only difference is that they are much more affordable and provide basic rooms or dormitory beds instead. Backpackers hostels also try to create a communal and welcoming atmosphere that makes these places not only budget-friendly but also super fun for everyone.

These hostels have definitely come a long way for the past 10 years or so and most of them provide great facilities and amenities.  In fact, they have now joined the mainstream as hotel alternatives, especially among millennials. There are even hotel chains that have started to set up luxury or boutique hostels to keep up with this trend.

What happens when checking into a Backpackers Hostel?

Checking into a backpacker’s hostels is not really that complicated. Below are the things you can expect:

  • If you already made a booking, you can check-in by giving your name.
  • If you don’t have a booking yet, you will need to pay for the nights you will stay during the check-in process.
  • The receptionist can either show you around if the hostel is small or direct you to your room and the facilities with a map.
  • The receptionist will go over everything you should know regarding the hostel as well as the ground rules.
  • After checking-in, you will be provided with a key card or key to your hostel room.

Tips to choose the best backpackers hostel

There are now a lot of backpackers hostels popping up to cater to travelers searching for affordable accommodation.

Here are a few tips to remember when looking for the best backpackers hostel that will give you a memorable and comfortable stay.

#1 – Avoid booking online.

Even though you can now book virtually everything using the internet, it is not really recommended to book a backpacker hostel online.

  1. The first reason is that most of these hostels have attractive prices for walk-in travelers.
  2. The second reason is that some hostels might look completely different in reality compared to the photos on their website.

To ensure that you don’t get trapped and forced to stay in a place you don’t even like and avoid wasting your money, write down the addresses of the hostels that caught your interest and contact them to check if they still have an available bed.

In case you really need to book online, you can book for just a night or two unless you will travel during peak season.

#2 – Look into the location of the hostel.

Make sure you pick a hostel with a great location and easily accessible by public transportation.

It would be better to avoid hostels in crowded areas, especially those surrounded by bars, and are located downtown unless you are planning to go on night outs during your trip.

Research first about the location and check if the hostel you like isn’t located in a place known to have high crime rates.

#3 – Choose a room equipped with private lockers and have a lock of your own.

Your security should be your top priority more than anything else since there is no point in saving money only for your camera or valuable items to be stolen.

When looking for a backpackers hostel using an online booking site, try calling the hostel and inquire if they offer a locker that you can lock using your own lock.

It would be best to avoid trusting anyone during your trip, including the staff of the hostel so it is wise to always supervise your valuables and keep them close to you.

Bring your own lock at all times and even a spare no matter where you go. Always use this lock for your own locker. The last thing you want is to lose sleep because you are constantly worried about your belongings.

#4 – Go for comfort at all times.

Your security should be your top priority more than anything else since there is no point in saving money only for your camera or valuable items to be stolen.

When looking for a backpackers hostel using an online booking site, try calling the hostel and inquire if they offer a locker that you can lock using your own lock.

It would be best to avoid trusting anyone during your trip, including the staff of the hostel so it is wise to always supervise your valuables and keep them close to you.

Bring your own lock at all times and even a spare no matter where you go. Always use this lock for your own locker. The last thing you want is to lose sleep because you are constantly worried about your belongings.

#5 – Choose the type of dorm you like.

There are different dorm options suitable for every need, ranging from all-gender rooms that accommodate 4 to 10 persons in one room to the specific gender dorms that have fewer people.

The mixed doors are often cheaper compared to gendered dorms while the prices for less crowded rooms are notably higher.

#6 – Check the facilities available.

Find a hostel that provides you a bed with private reading light and electricity socket but never forget bringing your own adaptor and multiple electricity socket extensions to let you charge all of your devices simultaneously.

If possible, look for one with a kitchen and tea or coffee facilities so you could lower your budget for your meals and coffee.

There are also hostels offering breakfast for free, another great way to reduce your meal expenses.

Backpackers hostels are truly a great option for accommodation if you are on a budget, but you still want a “one of a kind experience”.

Related questions:

Are hostels safe?

I would say that hostels are very safe. Just make sure to drink responsibly, don’t do drugs, and treat others like you’d like to be treated and you’ll be fine.

Do hostels have curfews?

It is no longer very common that hostels have curfews and although there are a few that still do. It is still very uncommon.

Do hostels have bedsheets?

Today just about all hostels offer beddings (sheets, blankets, pillows, etc). So no need to carry these with you when planning to stay at a hostel.

Do hostels have toilet paper?

No, most hostels do not provide its guests with toilet paper so bring a role. A great tip is to also bring a small pack of paper towels so that your “always ready”.

Do hostels have towels?

Most do and at some hostels, you’ll have to pay extra but as I said, most hostels do.

Can you leave your stuff in a hostel?

You should always aim to bring everything with you but if it’s not possible then you can see if the hostel that you are staying at offers lockers.

If they do, then you need to get your own padlock (just like I mentioned earlier in this article).

Tip! Bring your own padlock with you when going backpacking.

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