What Makes A Hostel A Great Hostel?
Feature image: Clink261 – see review
There are so many factors that go in to what makes the best hostel, but for those of you who still haven’t taken the plunge in to hostel life, I’ve put together a basic list of those things that a hostel should be!
Of course, the reason I created The Hostel Girl and dedicate my time to the hostel community is because it is exactly that… an incredible community. So often your stay at any hostel will ultimately depend on the people you meet and the friends you make – often friends for life! Take the community out of the equation however, and there are some basic points that combine to create a great hostel experience!
1. A Home from home for travellers and backpackers
My first point depends entirely on the hostel staff… no pressure guys!
There really is nothing like being greeted at the door with a warm, welcoming smile and an invitation to drop your bags and get the check in done as quickly as possible so you can rest your sweaty feet because, let’s be honest, sometimes hostels can be hard to find and once you’ve discovered the one you booked all you want to do is sit for 5 minutes and then probably take a shower!
I have encountered, and unfortunately worked with, staff who have viewed backpackers as nothing more than customers that will be gone in the next few days. Luckily, this is the exception to a rule that otherwise presents hostel staff as your family for the next few days. Hostel staff should understand the exhausting nature of travel, and in fairness most of them are likely to be travellers themselves, and that helps with the situation!
2. A secure environment
With the rise of hostel and budget travel, many travellers are beginning to take what they perceive as a dangerous leap to stay in environments that haven’t had the best reputations. Various myths have always surrounded hostels, mostly the myth that by staying in a hostel you are sharing a space with strangers who could violate your trust and security.
A great hostel should always provide locker space, and locking dormitory rooms. It is the most basic need of all humans to feel safe and not to feel threatened. Luckily, most hostels these days will always provide lockers, and if you’re not sure you can check the reviews or even drop them an email before you book.
3. Enthusiastic about it’s location
A great hostel should be so much more than just a bed! There is nothing worse than turning up at a destination, doing the free walking tour and effectively seeing most of the ‘important’ sights in one day, and then being left with 3 more days wondering what the hell you’re going to do now!
Again, this one is often staff-dependent, but more often than not hostels are opened because the owners fell in love with a destination and never wanted to leave. Or perhaps the owners are locals who are so proud of their home that they wanted to share it with others. This passion for the destination should be present in every staff member, and passed on to the travellers so they too can appreciate all the hidden gems that aren’t in the guide book!
Quick Note: This final factor played a huge part in my leaving Budapest. It had become a party city, where bars and alcohol ranked higher than the incredible cultural, architectural, and historical beauty of the city in the eyes of so many hostel workers I knew. I slowly lost my passion for the city, and so I knew it was time to move on and let someone new and excited by the city to take over my spot.
Let me know if these points are important to you guys too!
Lots of love,