5 Reasons why hostels are better than hotels

hostels are better than hotels

About two weeks ago, I stayed in a hostel in Portland, Oregon with one of my best friends. I’ve always thought that hostels were better than hotels and have even stayed in a few during my trip to Spain last year. However this past week solidified for me that hostels are better than hotels. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love a hotel stay too. I love the comfy bed, the maid service, the little shampoo bottles and everything else that comes along with a good hotel stay. However with this trip, the Portland Hawthorne Hostel was a better option for our wallets. It was between a hostel and airbnb. After looking at this particular hostel’s website, I went with the hostel.

For those of you unaware, a hostel is a place to stay for travelers just like a hotel. However you often share a room with strangers in addition to sharing bathrooms, the kitchen and other communal rooms. The price is often between $20-$40 per night. Depending on the hostel, there are often options for you to have your own room as well. You just pay a bit more for that vs. a dorm room with say six-eight beds.

Hostels are extremely popular in Europe and are sought out by the backpacking community. However in the United States, you’d be surprised to find more hostels than you think. Websites such as hostelworld.com make it very easy to look up hostels all over the world. In fact, that was how I found the Portland Hawthorne Hostel. So we booked two spots in the co-ed six bed dorm. We were ready and excited.

After spending more or less a week in a hostel, I am now a full hostel supporter. So I decided to make this short list for you. Next time when you’re planning a trip, look up the hostels and see if any strike your fancy. It really is a neat way to travel. So without further ado, here are five reasons why hostels a better than hotels.

hostels are better than hotels
Our hostel had a tree house thing

5. A real kitchen

Traveling can get expensive. One of the biggest ways that travelers burn through money is food. Eating every meal at a restaurant can be expensive, especially when you are traveling for a while. However when you stay in a hostel, you have access to a real kitchen complete with everything you’d need to cook a meal. You are free to go out and buy your own groceries, and store things in the communal refrigerator as long as you label with is yours. We were literally a two-minute walk from a Safeway grocery store. So at the beginning of the week, I picked up an assortment of food to munch on for the week. I bought things like fruit snacks, hummus, bananas and canned soup. It helped us live a bit more economically.

Additionally, each morning the hostel has free breakfast complete with tea and coffee. Also the Wednesday during my stay they hosted a community meal where each person paid $3. Super affordable, if you ask me.

hostels are better than hotels
location location location

4. Lots of resources

Hostels always seem to have a lot of information about things going on locally. When I’m sure hotels do as well, hostels give you more of the heartbeat of a city. For example, our hostel had flyers up about local festivals and open mic comedy nights. Additionally, there was information about public transit and city tours. Basically, hostels seem to gather up any information that may be helpful to travels and put it out. It makes figuring out plans for the day so much easier. Furthermore everyone on staff was friendly and helpful. They consider helping travelers experience Portland as best as they can to be a very important part of their job.

3. Affordability

I think we paid around $32 a night in Portland. Some hostels are a little as $10-$20 per night. Hostels will always be less expensive than a hotel room. The reason they can charge less is that they host more people for their space than a hotel. So in turn, you exchange a bit of privacy for price. But honestly when you’re out exploring a city all day, all you really need is a bed and a nice shower.

2. Cross-cultural interaction

You end up talking to so many people when staying at a hostel. It’s kind of hard not to start conversations when you all have to eat breakfast at the same dining room table or share the same kitchen. During my stay I met people from South Korea, France, the UK and Australia. You end up talking and swapping stories about your cultures. Meeting people from other cultures is my favorite way to learn about the world. And you can do that by simply staying at a hostel instead of a hotel.

1. Friendship

Hostels encourage social interaction like no one’s business. Our hostel for example had a community dinner night, a pub crawl and an open mic, in addition to breakfast every morning. It’s not at all uncommon to form friendships and go explore the city with people you met at your hostel. I ended up befriending a traveler or two during my stay in Portland. It was great. If you’re looking to do a solo trip, hostels are awesome because you can find people to do stuff with. You can find people to go explore that really neat part of town with or go to the pub with. It’s wonderful.


Have you stayed at a hostel before? What was your experience like? If not, have you considered it?

Today I’m linking up with these bloggers:

Bright on a Budget, KT Cup of Tea, Della Devoted, Life in Leggings, A little Bit of Everything

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  1. Haven’t stayed in a hostel for a really long time. But all your points make sense. I will definitely consider it. Quite often we we have been renting a whole flat especially when stayinh a bit longer. It’s nice to have your own kitchen and other facilities.

    1. Yeah with a big group Airbnb can be a good option. However you can also reserve private rooms in hostels if you need more space. The one in Portland had a few rooms that only slept two. There was a family staying in those ones.

    1. You most definitely should. I’m a part of Hostel World’s email list and they recently featured blogs with private rooms on their last email blast. So you definitely can keep some elements of a hotel when staying in a hostel.

  2. I think it just depends on what kind of a person you are. I totally see why you prefer hostels more.
    But me being an introvert and liking my privacy, I think I’d enjoy my time in a hotel more. But then again.. The prices…

    1. Yeah true. Although a thing to note is that many hostels offer private rooms for just a bit more. Usually it’s no more than a $10 difference. My hostel in Portland, for example, had a few private rooms. Then if you do that, you have your space to retreat to.

  3. You really made a point. I never go anywhere, sadly, but this tip will save me a lot of trouble in future! Thanks!

    1. Awesome! Yeah they are all over the world, so it’s definitely worth a look wherever you are going.

  4. Although I have traveled a lot through Europe, I have never been to a hostel myself. I’m not really thrilled of the idea of sharing a room, neither just a bathroom, with strangers. Just me, I guess 🙂

    1. Well a lot of hostels offer private rooms for just a tad more. In fact, one of Hostel World’s latest email blasts had a list of gorgeous private rooms in different hostels around the world. There was one in Rome that was amazing and only 32 euros/night. I’m sure some hostels even offer private bathroom options too.

  5. I stayed in hostels for the first time when I was in Peru last year. Since I had a private room, it felt like a cheaper hotel.

  6. Hostels are really becoming “in” these days and there’s no denying that it’s a really good option for travelers. I think it’s great too and I agree with your reasons!

  7. Hostels are affordable which makes them perfect especially if you’re a backpacker. I really appreciate the convenience that it gives as well. Perfect for vacations!

    1. Haha! Well depending on the hostel, you may be able to find it. I stayed in one with a friend in Granada, Nicaragua and we had our own bathroom. It came in handy because the food did not quite agree with me, lol.

  8. My parents and I went to a ‘hostel’ and it was kinda amazing. The owners are basically our friends now, we had the best conditions yet on a cheaper price than on a hotel. And not to mention the non existent schedule, we could go and come back whenever we felt like.

  9. I never stayed in hostel before as I always thought that I might ended up getting robbed or whatever haha. But your points makes sense and as you said is more affordable.

  10. First of all, love your blog! It’s so beautiful!

    Secondly, thanks for sharing this post. I grew up with parents that have always wanted to stay at hotels when traveling, but I’ve always been curious of what hostels are like. Will definitely keep all of this in mind next time I’m traveling.

    1. Thank you Juliana! After a lot of searching, I fell in love with my current theme. It has everything that I need.

      You should most definitely do a hostel next time you travel. They are everywhere!

  11. Great post. I don’t I could go to hostels with my three boys but I know my brother and his hubby often use hostels across the world on their travels! Does America still have Safeway supermarkets?!

    1. There was a family with children in my hostel in Portland. A lot of hostels actually have private rooms and even private bathrooms. It really just all depends. And yes, America still has Safeway.

  12. I knew hostels were in Europe, but I wasn’t aware of them in the US. I’ll have to check out that site, thanks for the link! love the benefits : )

    1. Yeah they are for sure not as common as in Europe, but we have them here! It’s always worth a search.

  13. Hostels are popular here in New Zealand too, but I’ve never stayed in one. I do think it would be a great choice to holiday on a budget though

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