Hostels Vs Budget Hotels: Which Should You Choose?

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Hostels vs Budget Hotels: Which Should You Choose?

When you finally decide that it's time you want to set off to travel Europe, there are a few important things you need to plan first. And one of those is where you’re going to rest your head after those busy days of making new discoveries. Choosing the right accommodation for a backpacking trip can be tricky. Should I stay in a hostel or a hotel is a common question travellers ask themselves.

Today, we’re weighing out the pros and cons of hostels versus budget hotels to see which comes out on top if you’re a budding young backpacker…

SCROLL DOWN AND TAKE OUR QUIZ TO FIND OUT

Need a hostel in Europe? Check out St Christopher’s Inns, 21 backpacker hostels in Europe’s greatest capital cities

Hostels...  

PROS

1 It’s so easy to make friends and meet new people with similar interests

Isn’t that what traveling is all about? If you’re going travelling with the intent to meet new people from around the world, hostels are your best bet. The majority hostels are made up of young travellers or solo backpackers exploring new cities, always up for a good time.

Making friends

2 Value for money

Hostels are known to be cheap, but that doesn't mean they aren't good quality. This is just a negative stigma that's totally wrong about most hostels. When you pay for a hostel, you won’t just get a bed but also Wifi, free breakfast, free walking tours and fantastic service. For proof, just take look at the hostel images on St Christopher's Inns and the rooms are great!

3 There’s always something going on at the hostel bar

Pub crawls, games nights, happy hour. The list goes on! You will never be far from a party if you opt for hostel. The daily events make it so easy to get to know people and make friends.

what's on at the hostel

4 Hostel perks

Nothing beats a freebie when you’re travelling on a budget. Hostels are made to be fun and to cater to backpacker’s needs. Often, hostels provide free walking tours of a city, movie nights, open mic nights, cycle tours, discounted sight passes.

5 You can opt for private rooms if you don’t want to share with strangers

And it’ll still be cheaper than paying for a hotel. You’d be surprised at how nice some hostel private rooms are, they look just as good as a 4* hotel room. St Christopher’s Inns offers private rooms in all of its central city locations. A lot of private rooms also come with an en suite bathroom. Check out our double private room at St Christopher's At The Village in London! This room has an epic view of the Shard.

Private room

6 The hostel staff are likely to speak the same language as you

Hostel staff are usually made up people from all over the world. Usually, it's young people looking for work while they get to live in a cool capital city. In our hostels, we have such a diverse workforce that you might hear 7 different accents in the space of checking in at reception to finding your way to your room. This lowers the risk of any language barrier. Plus, they can give you fantastic city recommendations and tips. Just ask at reception.

7 Hostels are made for backpackers

One thing to remember: hostels were designed for backpackers. If you’re young and want to have fun, hostels are your best bet. Hostels cater to budget travellers with offers and deals on all the time at the bar on food and drink, free breakfasts and sometimes even an evening meal too.

Check out London's first capsule hostel, where you can sleep in these cosy cubby holes (they come with USB ports, mood lighting, privacy curtains. Everything a backpacker needs)

capsule beds

8 Great for solo travellers

Hostels are a safe place to stay, which is why so many solo travellers - male and female - choose to book beds with us. Not just that, it’s so cheap to book out a bunk for a few nights in a dorm room, compared to staying in a budget hotel for the night. If you’re travelling solo, you can be sure that after a couple days in St Christopher's Inns, you’ll come out with some new friends and a good nights sleep.

9 Some hostels have kitchens

If you want to save some money and buy groceries to cook your own food, make sure that your hostel has a kitchen. Some hostels have a kitchen and shared chill out room.

hostel kitchen

CONS

1 You don’t know who you’ll be in a dorm with

It could be that annoying guy that wouldn’t stop talking at the bar. But not to worry, if you prefer your privacy, just book yourself into a private room. Or your whole group of friends can book out a dorm room so you have it to yourselves.

At the same time though, you may make longtime friends with the people in your dorm. It's a very fun way to experience backpacking and the best way to meet people.

dorm room

Here are 20 Ways to Break the Ice in a Hostel

2 Not all hostels are as good (or clean) as others

So really do your research first before choosing a hostel. St Christopher’s Inns are modern hostels where bed linen is changed on arrival. Rooms are clean and modern. There’s also secure key card access to the rooms.

There’s the risk of a snorer being in the room

Don’t forget to pick up a pair of ear plugs!

3 Less secure

Many people are under the impression that hostels are less secure. This is a common misconception but if it's something you’re particularly worried about, let us reassure you. At St Christopher’s Inns we have 24 hour security, key card access to rooms and secure lockers to keep your things. If you're staying in a dorm, lock away valuables, store things safely and you’ll be just fine. Theft is always going to happen, wherever you are so just be clever and don't leave things like your passport lying around.

Budget hotels...

PROS

1 You’ll have your own bathroom

One thing you're guaranteed if you book into a hotel is your own bathroom, which is always nice. But who needs their own bathroom if you're backpacking on a tight budget? Sharing is caring. However, if you like that extra bit of privacy, you can get your own bathroom in a hostel too if you opt for a private room.

Opting for a private room is a hotel provides a similar experience as a budget hostel, except cheaper and way more fun where you can party with other backpackers at the bar downstairs (which a budget hotel will lack). With a private room you get the best of both worlds, your own room but the social vibes of a hostel.

Bathroom

2 Sometimes Quieter

Sometimes a budget hotel can be quieter than a backpacker hostel, which can result in a better nights sleep. It really all comes down to the location of your accommodation. If your hotel is situated bang smack in the middle of a buzzing area with clubs and bars, you’ll experience similar noises that you would if you were sleeping above a hostel bar.

However, many hostels can be quiet too, it really depends on the accommodation and the location of it, which applies to both hotels and hostels.

3 You know what you’re gonna get

A budget hostel can be quite predictable, you know what you’re going to get. A clean bathroom, a bed and privacy. Compared with hostels, you don’t really know what to expect or who you’ll meet. We think this is the beauty of travel though. As long as you do enough research, you can be pretty certain you’re booking yourself into a good hostel. Our top tip is to read reviews...

Budget hotel

CONS

1 The room will be basic yet still more expensive than a private room in a hostel

You don’t need much more than a bed, linen and a dressing table when you’ll be out exploring all day.

2 Not as sociable

A budget hotel can lack atmosphere and you may struggle a little more to meet young, like minded backpackers. However, if you’re not looking to meet new people then budget hotels are a good choice.

3 No group events or nights out

Unlike hostels that offer free walking tours, group parties or social events, budget hostels don’t tend to offer these extra perks. However sometimes you can get good excursions and day trips with hotels, they just come with a heavier price tag.

And the winner is...

HOSTELS ALL THE WAY

We may be biased, but this is what we genuinely would recommend to anyone who is young and wants to have fun in Europe on a budget. But really, it depends on who you are and what you like…

Hostels give you the chance to widen your horizons, meet new people and really get involved in group activities. The party atmosphere at most hostels is a bonus too! If you’re looking to travel on a budget, you can really save some money for the rest of your travels if you book a bed in a hostel.

party hostel

If you’re going on a long trip, mix it up. Stay in both hostels and hotels in different cities and see what you prefer.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Want more? Here’s our Guide to Staying in Hostels for the First Time

Article by Shereen Sagoo

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