This method of travel can offer adventure and the chance to meet different people but is not for everyone. It’s great for the solo traveler or group of young people but families with small children and couples who want a romantic vacation should spring for more private accommodation’s.
Most hostels are set up as dormitory style rooms, with a number of bunk beds arranged throughout the room. The number of bunk beds in a single room varies, with the average from four to ten bunks per room. Each traveler is assigned a specific bunk upon check-in.
Almost all hostels in the United States divide their accommodations according to gender, with the female guests in one block of rooms and the male guests in another. In multi-floor hostels, each gender is often assigned a specific floor or group of floors.
In Europe and other locations throughout the world, you may find hostels with mixed gender rooms. If you don’t feel comfortable bunking with members of the opposite sex, then make sure you inquire as to the arrangements before you settle in.
The bathroom accommodations at hostels vary as well, with some rooms containing a shared bathroom and shower, while other hostels will have shower and bathroom facilities located in the hallway. If this is an important consideration, you should make sure to ask about bathroom facilities when making the reservation.
Although hostelling is a very informal way to travel, you do need to make reservations especially during the summer. It used to be you could just drop in and be accommodated, but this method of travel is becoming more popular and some hostels can be booked for months during popular tourist seasons. Better to call ahead than to be left out in the cold!
The main appeal of staying at hostels, of course, is the price. The nightly rate for a hostel rarely rises above $25 or $30 per night, with most hostel accommodations costing far less. With the average hotel room hovering around $100 to $150 in many locations, it is easy to see why hostels are becoming so popular.
In addition, the staff at most hostels are extremely accommodating and knowledgeable about the local area. Unlike many staff members of some luxury hotels, who travel in from the suburbs and rarely see the city in which the live, hostel staff tend to live in their city, and they have an intimate knowledge of the local attractions, including which attractions are can’t miss and which ones are a waste of money.
In addition, hostels often have access to discounts and coupons for local area attractions and restaurants, and they can provide valuable information on the best, lowest priced restaurants in the area.