Hostels are my accommodation preference on the road. Hostels are good for those seeking convenience, affordability, and socialization.
As a solo traveler, hostels are the best way to meet other travelers and like-minded individuals. Staying in hostels gives you the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and exchange stories and advice. I can’t count the number of times I’ve learned about new places to see and places to avoid. On top of this, hostels provide answers to questions that most travelers have because of their large communities and expert staff. The local staff, and expat staff alike, want to share the best of their city with you and are understanding of your budget.
Many hostel-goers are budget friendly and have creative and affordable ways to maximize the most out of each destination.
Some hostels are comparable to small resorts, honestly. Onederz hostel in Siem Reap has a pool on the roof top and bar offering 50 cent draft beer. Their bathrooms are spotless, and they have hot showers. Plus, their rooms are open, airy and clean for less than $8 per night. They offer an early morning breakfast for those heading to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, and their staff is phenomenal.
I once stayed at Alona Hammocks in Bohol, Philippines. It’s a tree house hostel and it made for a completely unique experience. Although it’s far from luxurious, the staff is unbeatable and how cool is it to say that you stayed here? Alona Hammocks offers a local Filipino dinner one night during the week for 3 USD. Not only is it amazing, but it is an opportunity to meet fellow travelers and immerse yourself like a local!
Let’s face it, if you’re on a budget and want to maximize your time on the road hostels are the way to go. The popularity of hostels around the world makes it easy to find one that fits your specific needs.
There are hostels with mixed dorms, female only dorms, and I’ve even seen some with male only dorms. Many offer single or double private rooms for those seeking a little bit more privacy. Some have shared bathrooms or integrated bathrooms, it truly all depends on the hostel and location.
Hostels usually have amenities like laundry, Wi-Fi or a shared kitchen to name a few. The hostel staff is most likely able to point you in the right direction if they do not offer a specific service. Laundry services in Southeast Asia usually cost you around $1- $2 per load. Community Kitchens are a great way to save money by cooking. Especially in more expensive locations, like Australia and New Zealand.
Many hostels operate their own tours or have partnerships with other tour groups or hostels. This makes for a great way to save on big attractions and reduce the chance of getting scammed. I once went on a tour in Bangkok for $10 USD through Once Again Hostel and it was one of the best tours I did in Thailand.
As a solo female traveler, I think it goes without saying that you should always be aware of your surroundings. I’m not saying that every hostel experience is perfect, because some just aren’t, but I have never felt unsafe in any of the hostels that I’ve stayed in (and that’s a lot).
Hostels usually provide keys to dorms and private lockers for your valuables. Many have special identifiers to prove that you are a guest at the hostel, such as a bracelet or key card. On top of that, some hostels have a front desk open 24/7 or security!
This is easily my favorite part about staying in hostels. People from literally all over the world are staying in one place and the opportunity to meet others is endless. As a solo traveler, this is unbeatable.
A large part of travel for me is building relationships and creating worldwide friendships. Learning about where people have gone, where they’re going and what they love about a specific place is priceless. It’s all about who you meet along your journey.
Most hostels have daily activities including walking tours, happy hours, dinners and bar crawls. There is most likely a common room for travelers to mingle and a lot of the times there is a cafe or restaurant with affordable options.
Billabong hostel in Phnom Penh has a community pool and restaurant & bar. This is where I met one of my closest travel friends from Israel and we ended up traveling for 3 weeks together in Southeast Asia.