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Which Are Better For Me, Hostels or Hotels?


Which is the best choice for me?

If you’re planning your next trip and wondering whether to stay in hostels or hotels, this post will help you decide which option is best for you.

Which is the best option?

Hotels and hostels are both great accommodation options when you’re planning a trip. Both can vary in price, quality, and amenities, so it is important to do your research before you travel. Perhaps you’ve never stayed in a hostel before and are apprehensive about what it will be like. Or perhaps you are wondering if it is worth paying a little extra to stay in a hotel with your own private room.

It’s true that where you lay your head at night can have a huge impact on the quality of your trip. Choosing the right type of accommodation to suit your travel needs can be confusing. In this blog post, I’ll show you the difference between hotels vs hostels and help you decide which you should choose for your next trip.

If this will be your first time in a hostel you should read my 5 tips for staying in a hostel before you travel.

Choosing the best option for you

Choosing accomodation for a trip is a completely personal choice. Your preferences will depend entirely on you as a person and your personality. What is your budget? Do you want a splash of luxury? How many of you are travelling together? Basically, accomodation choice is not a one size fits all approach.

It’s a good idea to make a mental list of your preferences before you book anywhere. That way, you can check your requirements against the amenities of each hotel or hostel.

Hostels or Hotels. What’s the difference?

The main difference between hotels and hostels is in a hotel you will sleep in a private room, whereas in a hostel you will usually sleep in a shared dormitory with other travellers. (I say usually because sometimes there is an option for a private room in a hostel). Hotels are more expensive than hostels because you are paying for the privilege of sleeping in a completely private room, usually with an en-suite bathroom. You may consider the privacy of a hotel room a big perk, equally, you may think that the social opportunities hotels offer are a massive positive.

The choice is yours. Read on and I’ll help you to decide.

Price: Hostels or Hotels

The price difference between hotels vs hostels will depend on the quality, star rating, and amenities that each place has to offer. As an illustration between the two, I’ve broke down the price of my personal accomodation choice for 2 nights in a hostel in Central Madrid and compared it with 2 nights at a nearby hotel.

Hostel Price

It was the middle of May when I travelled to Madrid and I stayed midweek. I paid €60 (£50 GBP, $64 USD) for 2 nights at The Central House Lavapiés. Personally, I felt that €30 per night was good value for money. This was especially true considering I visited during San Isidro, a bank holiday for residents of Madrid.

I booked via Hostelworld which is a great platform for exploring hostels worlwide. You can read reviews from fellow travellers before you book to make sure you’re happy with the hostel. You can even post on the message board to try and find others who will be travelling in the same area as you!

I slept in a dormitory with 3 other females and we shared an en-suite bathroom between us. Bedding was provided but you needed to bring your own towel or loan one each day from reception. Wifi was free and there were social events you could opt into. You could choose to have breakfasy but this was an additional cost.

There were social spaces to hang out, socialise, and watch television. An extra perk was that there was also a cool rooftop bar and a restaurant where you received a discount if you were hostel guests.

Hotel Price

I chose a hotel in a similar location to the hostel mentioned above. Right in the city centre and close to good transport links.

Hotel Regina, a 3 star hotel and rated 9.4/10 on Hotels.com, is €332 (£282 GBP, $333 USD) for 2 nights. So around €166 per night. However, this did include a free breakfast and is based on two people sharing. If you were to split the cost between two, it would only work out at €83 per person, per night.

Is the price difference worth it?

As illustrated above, there is a sharp difference in price between staying in a hostel in Madrid and staying in a hotel. Which choice you opt for will depend on your circumstances and your budget. A simple way to think about it is in a hotel you are paying for privacy. In a hostel you are paying for a bed and bathroom facilities.

If you wanted to experience both but you were on a budget, you could opt to spend your first or final night in a hotel. This has proven popular with backpackers who want a touch of luxury (or a good nights sleep) before starting or ending their trip.

Who are you travelling with?

If you’re looking for a romantic weekend break with your partner, then perhaps sleeping on bunk beds surrounded by other travellers will not be the best option.

If, however, you are travelling with a group of friends, then a hostel may be the perfect shout. Depending on the size of your group, you may find that it is only you and your friends in the dormitory! For example, if there are 6 of you travelling and you book a 6-bed dorm in good time, you may find you have the same privacy as a hotel but at a fraction of the price.

Hostels are also great places for solo travellers. They offer you the opportunity to make friends easily because many of the people you’ll be meeting will be solo travellers too. For females, many hostels offer the option of booking same-sex dorimitories. Solo travel is invigorating, exciting, and life-affirming, if planned correctly. Staying in a hostel and meeting like-minded people will only enhance your trip further.

Social events: Hostels or Hotels

Hostels offer you the unique opportunity to meet people who shame similar passions and interests without much effort. Many hostels will provide designated social spaces to meet new friends. Activities such as music nights, quizzes, and bar crawls are also populat at different hostels around the world. The opportunity for socialisation is one of the best selling points of a hostel, and the reason many choose to stay there.

Hotels, on the other hand, don’t tend to offer such events. I’m not saying that is impossible to make new friends whilst travelling at a hotel, but it’s certainly not as easy as at a hostel. It also depends on whether you intend to make new friends on your trip, or whether you’d prefer your own company.

Hostels or Hotels: which should I choose?

You now know the difference between staying at hotels vs hostels, and the pros and cons of each. Ultimately, the choice is yours. It is entirely dependent on what kind of trip you’re taking.

Cheap and cheerful with the possibility of making new friends? A hostel is the place for you. You can use Hostelworld to book your next stay in a hostel!

A private room and place to relax? A hotel is the better choice.

Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!

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