Why hostels are the most sustainable option for backpackers

Help the planet, stay in hostels!

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  • 17 September 2021
  • • 4 min read

3 Ways hostels are the most eco-friendly way to travel

Our impact on the planet is something we all should keep in mind as we travel the world. Taking trains instead of planes, carrying reusable everything and supporting local businesses instead of darting towards the recognisable chains - there are a number of , but have you ever considered where you stay as a pretty big factor? Finding sustainable accommodation for your trip is a simple step you can make towards ensuring your trip is as environmentally-friendly as can be, whether you’re booking a countryside eco-lodge or a room in a city centre. Hostels are in many ways one of the most sustainable types of accommodation, particularly when you’re booking a city break. Read on to find out the three big reasons why… 

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1. Shared facilities 

Less energy & water consumed

Turns out there’s more reason to opt for a dorm room than just the fact it’s cheaper. Sharing a room with a bunch of other people means you’re all helping the planet by consuming far less energy than you would in a private room of a hotel. When you stay in a 10-bed dorm room, you’re switching the lights on in the morning for 10 people to make use out of, rather than 10 lights in 10 different private rooms which, of course, consumes 10 times more energy. The bigger the dorm room, the more energy (and money) you save!

Backpacker hostels also help the travel industry have less of an impact on the environment by using far less water per person. Firstly, have you ever stayed in a hostel that provides baths in their washrooms? As well as stopping guests from taking even longer in the shared wash facilities than they might do already, this also means each person uses less water than a hotel full of guests with baths in their ensuites are likely to. Hostels get their fair share of negative comments thrown about for the pressure of their showers and, quite often, the timer on them to limit how long you stay under the water. Some might find it annoying, especially  when you’re in the middle of washing your hair (we get it), but these measures are all in place for the right reasons: to save water and to raise awareness of just how important it is to take shorter showers. 

2. Central location 

Far easier to see sights on foot

City-based hostels like our very own St Christopher’s Inns are almost always located in areas that are the perfect base for backpackers to explore. When you choose accommodation in such a central location, this means you can get to know the city from its very heart, so wandering around on foot, avoiding taxis and other transport, is much more manageable. As we all know, public transport is the best way to get around if walking or cycling isn’t possible, and most city centres are well-equipped with Metros, subways and tubes. For travellers that prefer to avoid public transport for whatever reason, the central location of hostels means there is always enough things to see and do on your doorstep to make catching taxis and contributing to greenhouse gases unnecessary.

A lot of hostels, like our sister hostel Copenhagen Downtown, even offer their own bicycle hire, which is often an even more efficient and cost-effective way to get around than public transport anyway. 

3. They’re affordable 

Sustainable for any budget

Backpackers love staying in hostels for a number of reasons: hostel events, meeting fellow travellers and, of course, the fact they’re way more affordable than any other accommodation type. When you’re travelling for an extended period of time and doing your best to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, opting for hostels is the most sustainable way to be eco-aware from the start of your travels to the finish. 

Being so affordable and a much greener type of accommodation means hostels are the most realistic sustainable accommodation for people travelling on a budget. Accommodation branded as ‘eco’ anything, such as eco-lodges or eco-hotels, often come with a premium price tag, particularly in cities (if they exist there at all). Those budgeting backpackers will always opt for the more affordable option, so if it’s also environmentally-friendly, well, what’s more sustainable than that?

Looking for some travel inspiration? Check out our blog on the , and the

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