With so many types of hostels across Europe to choose from, you want to know how to book hostels that will be right for you!
But with so much choice, it can be easy to book the wrong hostel, and end up in an atmosphere you don’t enjoy – or miss out on an atmosphere you may have enjoyed more! This is why I write hostel reviews for a range of different types of hostels (sometimes in the same city) – to offer you the best overview of the atmosphere within each one.
9 Types of Hostels
To help you find the best hostel for you, below I have listed different types of hostel that exist worldwide for budget travellers with a range of requirements; proving that in the case of hostels… beggars can be choosers!
The ‘Home away from Home’ Hostel
The home away from home hostel is easily one of my favourites of all the types of hostels. Here, there is little pressure to be anyone other than yourself, and to do whatever it is that you want to do, which is why it is the perfect type of hostel for solo travellers and first-timers.
Often described as ‘chill hostels’, leaving the home away from home hostel can be tough, accompanied by a few sharp tugs on your heartstrings. The owners feel like cousins or big brothers and sisters, the sofa may be wearing thin but it is beyond comfortable, and oh yeah… they probably almost definitely have a dog.
Luxury hostels exist to prove that budget travel doesn’t have to mean cheap and nasty. The luxury hostel combines stunning design, with a focus on the traveller’s experience. Simple hostel facilities such as breakfast might be upgraded to include local, organic ingredients and sometimes there’s a pool!
“I love splurging on luxury hostels because they’re usually more affordable than hotels, but offer the same amount of privacy and oftentimes are more fun and have a more laid-back atmosphere and staff.” – Travels of Adam
Similar to Luxury/Boutique Hostels, the Design Hostel has even more focus (and often a lot higher budget) on creating visually compelling and millennial-appealing rooms.
The perfect example would be Generator Hostels, who work closely with The Design Agency and local suppliers to build sociable yet artistic hostels across Europe. ClinkNOORD also created a fabulous Design Hostel in the sorely overlooked Noord district of Amsterdam!
If you are conscious of the environment you encounter and, most importantly, leave behind you when you travel, then eco hostels are for you!
Eco hostels are environmentally friendly and conscious of creating a low impact on the earth. Whether tucked away in a quiet wooded area and sustained by low-emission heating, or based in a city high-rise with strong recycling morals and a dedication to renewable energy, eco hostels are committed just as much to responsible and sustainable travel as to their guests themselves.
p.s. for tips on how to be an eco-friendly hostel traveller read: Earth Day 2015: Tips for Responsible Hostel Travel.
Surf hostels and beach hostels usually have a similar feel to the ‘home away from home’ hostel, just that the guests tend to be a bit more weathered by the sun and are obsessed with flip-flops (or thongs for my Aussie readers) and the ocean.
BBQs and beer nights are a regular occurrence at surf hostels, and there will always be sand in the showers and sheets no matter how hard the staff try to clean both.
Want to know more? Read my story on TravelDudes: The link between surfing and crying in Portugal.
I began my hostel-receptionist career in party hostels in Budapest and, except for GCSE results night back in 2006 when I drank too much vodka and threw up in front of my brother, I have never consumed so much alcohol.
The clue is in the name with party hostels. If you’re looking for a calm, relaxing atmosphere in which to read a book you’re probably not going to find one corner exempt from the rave. But you will find fun drinking games, a lot of beer, loud music and laughter.
No party hostel is complete without beer pong – so start practicing now!
These hostels can also be party hostels or youth hostels, but what makes them special is the way they are so intertwined with the history and culture of their location.
Old Town Hostel Kotor for example is built within the Old Town city walls, and incorporates them into the bedrooms and common areas! But for the ultimate Historic Hostel, make sure to check out Altena Castle Hostel – the very first hostel in Europe!
For more history on hostels read my Ultimate Guide to Hostels!
Traditional youth hostels
Most European countries, and some American countries, have a youth hostelling association that stems from the very beginning of the youth hostel movement when youth hostels were designed by Richard Schirrmann in order open up a rural world to city school children (read more about the history of hostels).
These hostels still take in large groups of school children throughout the year, but they also cater well for families and individual travellers. YHA UK have recently done a great job in redesigning their inner-city hostels to reflect the needs of modern independent travellers, as you can see in the photo above.
It took me a long time to get my head around the hybrid concept. Essentially, hybrid hostel/hotels are budget hotels that also offer shared dormitories and social common areas.
The difference in my eyes between a normal hostel and a hybrid is the guests. More families and older groups can be found in hybrids than in hostels due to the budget price compared to other hotels – but this doesn’t mean they’re not fun! Some have both guest kitchens and bars – great communal areas to make friends.
Booking hostels that are right for you
As you can see – hostel life has something to offer for every traveller; young or old, new or experienced, solo or group, luxury or budget!
It’s usually easy enough to figure out the best types of hostels fit for your style of travelling by descriptions of the hostel on their websites and social media, but for a full overview on how to book hostels, just press play below!
And remember, you can always email me or tweet me @the_hostelgirl for suggestions to suit your needs!
Lots of love,