The pros and cons of staying in a hostel versus a hotel

Isabelle Doerschlag/File

Whenever a trip is planned, one of the big questions travelers ask themselves is where they’re going to stay. They scour the internet for the best deals available and usually reach a point where they must decide between a hostel or a hotel. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you probably understand the struggle of wanting to stay somewhere comfortable but also wanting to save as much money as possible — especially if you’ve already spent a few hundred dollars on your plane ticket.

Hostels provide dormitory-like accommodations, typically with a shared living space, kitchen, bunk beds and a few bathrooms. They also have private and semiprivate rooms for a higher price, but if you go with a standard arrangement, it’s very affordable. Indeed, you won’t have the same privacy a hotel room provides, and you won’t know exactly how comfortable or convenient it will be until you get there, but staying in a hostel will save you money and give you the opportunity to meet fellow travelers. If you want to have a better idea of what to prepare for, researching the hostel and contacting it with any questions you may have will help ease your concerns.

On the other hand, staying in a hotel is a typical go-to arrangement for most travelers. It’s much more predictable and, unlike at hostels, you’ll have your own television, desk, room service, housekeeping and complete privacy. Depending on the hotel you choose, however, it can be about five times more expensive than a hostel.

At the end of the day, it all depends on personal preferences. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind sharing common areas with people you don’t know, a hostel would be a good option. If money isn’t an issue for you and you can’t stand the idea of being around strangers for however long you’re on your trip, a hotel wouldn’t be a bad idea.

No matter which arrangement you choose, try not to let it become a make-or-break factor. Although it’s important to be comfortable in the place you sleep, where you stay shouldn’t define your entire trip. Make the most out of your experience by focusing on what you do when you’re out and about.

Contact Claudia Marie Huynh at [email protected].