Why You Should Consider Staying In A Hostel On Your Next Vacation

April 13, 2015  |  

I meet lots of people who have dreams of escaping to far off places internationally, but are ultimately scared off by the cost of traveling. Between the cost of an airline ticket, transportation while at your destination and a fancy schmancy stay at some five-star resort, a getaway for a couple of weeks could easily run you a few thousand dollars, per person.

But I have found that one of the best ways to make that dream trip more affordable (besides signing up for one of those discount airfare watchdog sites–if you haven’t, do it now!) is by skipping the resort and opting for more self-reliant accommodations. And yes, I’m talking about a backpacker’s hostel.

Yes I know, everything about hostels just seems wrong. For one, you have to share living spaces with mostly non-English speaking strangers, including your showers, bedrooms, and toilets. Secondly, these places can be dirty and smell bad. And lastly, there are the things you’ve seen in horror films or heard from a friend-of-a-friend that has colored your perception of hostel life.

I will admit that, at times, staying at a backpacker’s hostel can be dicey. I stayed in a hostel in Durban, South Africa where I was scared to fall asleep. I’m talking about three-inch flying cockroaches tormenting me all night. And I’m also talking about the gray cat, which followed me into the bathroom. Well, it is wasn’t a gray cat, but rather, a Mickey Mouse-sized sugar cane rat.

Still, hostels can be loads of fun, especially internationally. First, they are dirt cheap. For instance, a typical dorm room in South Africa will run you between 150 to 200 Rands a night, which translates to between $12 to $17 USD, per night. Secondly, most of the hostels are pretty well maintained and exceptionally clean. Nowadays, many hostels operate like B&Bs, where you get a nice comfortable bed (albeit a bunk bed), the rooms are nicely decorated, and they’re clean. They also provide free breakfast as well and low-cost activities, tours, drinks, and dinner options as well. Like last night, my hostel in the Coffee Bay area of South Africa served baked potatoes, Greek salads, and T-Bone steaks – fresh off of the cows which run free-range along the countryside – for about 60 Rands, which is about $5 USD. God Bless that strong American dollar…

However, probably the best reason to stay in a hostel is the load of interesting and unique people you will meet. And you will meet people. Let’s take Sunday for example…

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