A wonderful part of being a young traveller is the ability to stay in hostels. I have found that many Americans feel apprehensive about booking hostels because of the 2005 horror film, Hostel. I have never seen the movie, but it must really be something, because it convinced many of my peers that hostels are not to be trusted. However, I have never found that to be the case. While you should always be a conscious traveller, hostels are truly a great place for someone young, on a budget, and wanting to make friends from around the world. Essentially, hostels consist of large dorm rooms in which there are several beds (usually bunk beds) and lockers for people to place their bags in (remember to pack your own lock). Generally, there are nice common areas where you can relax, mingle, and drink with the other people staying in the hostel. Also, common areas often have the best wifi connection, so many people use their phones or computers in these areas.
While most hostels have mixed-gender dorm rooms, usually hostels will offer female-only dorm rooms as well. I don’t really have a preference between mixed-gender and all-female dorms—however, when I am on a very tight budget I always opt for multi-gender because they are usually several dollars cheaper. There are perks to staying in both types, such as multi-gender rooms often being cheaper. However, if you are a solo female traveller, female dorms often feel safer and more comfortable. Also, I like that I can change in the open instead of walking to the bathroom when I am in all-women rooms. I also find female dorms to be a bit cleaner than the multi-gender dorms. Either choice you make, you can’t go wrong!
Hostels are also a great way to find out the best things to do when traveling to a new area. Upon arriving to a hostel, the first question I ask is what is there to do, and who wants to come with me! Not only does added people make adventures more fun, but it usually makes the activity cheaper as well. The more people that join, the more ways you can split a bill—like when calling a tuktuk ride in Thailand. I have made many lasting friendships from my time in hostels and met people from all across the globe. Honestly, some of my best friends I met as fellow backpackers and hostel-goers or hostel workers! Don't forget to make friends with the locals who work at hostels--they always have the best information on where to go, and if you're lucky they'll join you! It is a great way to save money, make friends, and get the best details on where to go and what to do in a new area! Be sure to download the HostelWorld app to check out the best hostels in the areas you are in!