When travelling for long periods of time, I prefer hostels for two main reasons. First, they are a very suitable accommodation choice for the cost-conscious. If you’re doing a long-term trip like we are, it’s advisable to spend only a small portion of your budget on where you lay your head. Chances are you’re not travelling to spend time in your room, and you can really stretch your funds by seeking out cheap accommodation.
The other reason I prefer hostels when I have a lot of time on the road is the social factor. I love meeting other travellers. The traveller community was the inspiration for this blog in the first place and I can’t wait to get out on the road and chatting to strangers again. There’s something nice about coming back to your accommodation and seeing people in the common rooms or saying hello to someone you met the day before. It can really make you feel like less of an outsider when you’re in a foreign place.
We started booking some hostels for the first leg of our trip over the weekend. While we don’t plan to book everything in advance, we wanted to secure a few places early because of the summer season. It’s been a few years since we’ve gone on a trip longer than a month and been on a strict budget, and John and I realized we differ a bit in how we choose hostels and what we look for. If I have the luxuries of time and choice of places to stay because few rooms are booked, I tend to look around for recommendations and evaluate all the options a bit more. Cleanliness, security and price tend to be my top criteria. John, on the other hand, has more of an esoteric selection process. If he has to look on the internet, he’ll examine the three or four in a city that have the most interesting names and then browse through those, relying on instinct. In general, he prefers to not book ahead and favours the opinions of other travellers he meets on the road.
The anthropologist in me is curious about how other travellers make their hostel choices. Just for fun, I put together two quick polls:
Do you have a process for choosing a hostel? What do you look for?