What does it mean to hostel?

What does it mean to travel by way of hosteling?  What does it mean to hostel?  Have you ever stayed in a hostel?

When I first explain hostels to people they are immediately shocked at the idea of having to share facilities with other travelers.  They question the safety.  They are worried about the cleanliness.  They assume the worst.  I work hard to dispel them of these false notions and hopefully I can do the same for you.

Hostels have come a long way from the days of bringing your own linens and doing chores to help pay your way.  The modern hostel experience has far better amenities and comfort than the days of old, but some things never change.  I was asked recently in an interview what does “hostel” mean to me.  My answer was simple, “a great social atmosphere”.  

In a hostel you are guaranteed to meet fellow like minded travelers who have the same goals as you, to make friends, share experiences, and make memories that can last forever.  In our hostels you are greeted from check-in by warm friendly staff who do not just check you in and send you off to your room.  You are given lots of information on the city, surrounding neighborhoods, and most importantly our nightly social events.  You are then taken on a tour of the hostel before being brought to your room and shown your bed.  Once in your room (if you’ve booked a dorm) you may be greeted by your fellow travelers where everyone is eager to meet their fellow dorm mate and potential new friend.  You can explore the many common areas we offer and utilize them to mingle with other guests or find a great quiet spot to work.  When it’s time for our social events you can hang out with all of the other guests and become part of our large family.  


While I am speaking about our hostels in particular these traits are the same worldwide at great hostels everywhere.  These traits are what set hostels apart from traditional hotels or even newly popular AirBnB’s.  These styles of lodging do have their place, but you will not replicate the social environment a great hostel offers by renting a private room in a hotel or isolated home.

There are many other benefits to this way of travel; 

  • The groups of travelers who have met in a dorm or common area can explore the city they are visiting together and since you are grouped with others you automatically have more safety and confidence in what can many times be a strange and daunting environment.  
  • Staying in dorms is also a much more budget friendly way to travel.  Many hostels guests can afford much longer trips simply because they are spending 20-30$ per night as opposed to a hotel room which may cost $100 or much more.  
  • Full Kitchens.  Many hostels offer full kitchens at your disposal which adds even more to a) the social experience (kitchens are often one of the main gathering spots in hostels) and b) the value of your stay since you can now cook your own meals rather than eating out becoming even more budget conscious.

Also keep in mind that while staying in Dorms is the absolute most social way to travel, most hostels do offer private rooms for guests.  These private rooms may still have the shared bath that the dorms use or they sometimes may have an ensuite.  Either way they usually cost less than hotels nearby and while you have the privacy of your room you can still venture into the common areas and participate in social events. 

Come prepared.  Most long time hostel goers develop a routine.   You can use our experience and suggestions to make your first time more pleasant.  Bring some essentials like, earplugs or headphones, a comfy sleeping eyemask, flip flops, and a personal lock.  Most hostels offer lockers for your most sensitive belongings and many of those lockers require you to use a personal lock you have brought.  Earplugs are because no matter how nice and courteous your fellow bunkmates are you are bound to run into a snorer.  My personal favorite is to listen to train sounds or binaural beats on spotify as I fall asleep.  The sleeping mask is fairly obvious, don’t be blinded by people arriving late or leaving early.

Hopefully I was able to sway your opinion a little.  I definitely praise hostels any chance I can.  Its hard to beat for the solo or small group traveling and looking to have am amazing experience in a new environment!

If you have any questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Robert Weinstein

Owner Auberge Hostels