Oh how enticing it is to stay at a hotel when you are traveling around Europe while studying or backpacking. You are probably being bombarded with the awesome benefit of staying at a 3-star hotel. I am going to provide you with the information that all Europeans know, even those selling you on the 3-star hotel spectacle know; HOSTELS ARE MUCH BETTER THAN 3-STAR HOTELS. The notion is great; the idea that at a hotel you get first class service, clean rooms, etc. But is this really what you are getting? Is this really the experience you are looking for? First off, the idea that a hotel is better than a hostel in terms of cleanliness is a common misconception by those from the states who have been inundated with ideas that hostels are dirty, unsafe, or flat out somewhere that you don’t want to stay. Disregard the movie Hostel NOW! Actually while we’re on it do the same with Euro Trip. Therefore, the promise of a 3-star hotel sounds like swimming in a glacial lake over the Arno River compared to staying at a place where you will receive limited service and almost definitely get bed bugs. Europe prides itself on being a well constructed backpacking circuit, and boasts many world class hostels. The great falsity preached to American students is 3-star hotel accommodation is better than rocking it in a hostel. Brace yourself for the greatest truth you will ever receive since being told that Santa Clause is really your parents:
GOOD HOSTELS ARE MUCH BETTER, NICER, CLEANER, and MORE FUN THAN MID-LEVEL HOTELS IN EUROPE. Since there is so much competition to attract Europe’s most common tourist, the backpacker, hostels go above and beyond to try to stay ahead of their competitors. The following are eight cold as the Swiss Alps and hard as it is to get an Italian guy to leave you alone reasons to support this:
1. REAL TRAVELERS STAY AT HOSTELS!!!!: Hostels are for budget travelers. Budget travelers are more fun and have better experiences. Plus, it is what you are supposed to do. The whole point of traveling during your late teens and early twenties is to gain life experience. You are not supposed to be staying in hotels. What type of life experience can you possibly gain in a hotel, when you could be in a hostel meeting people from all over the world, and living a more rugged, adventurous life? Yes hostels are not necessarily the most comfortable situations in terms of having to share rooms sometimes with strangers, but you haven’t experienced study abroad or backpacking without spending one night in the Balmers’ 30 bed room, or elsewhere with several other random people. Trust me, all chaos ensues, and it will definitely be one of your more memorable experiences.
2. ATMOSPHERE: This is summer camp all over again. Let’s be serious here. What were more fun and memorable (or potentially not remembered) times in your life? 8pm on a Friday night in a freshman dorm of your frat/sorority/sports house, or 8pm on a Friday night in your apartment where you only have a few housemates? If you don’t know the answer then you must have locked yourself in your room. Hostels put tons of close-aged, similar-minded travelers in a setting that promotes socializing and rocking it together. Why would you ever want to be stuck up in a small room with a few close friends when you can be chilling with dozens of travelers looking to do the exact same thing as you?
3. HOSTELS HAVE COOLER NIGHTLIFE: Stay at a hotel if you want, but expect to be having an overpriced whiskey and coke with someone’s crazy uncle, or some washed up creepy local. Hostels strive to make their lounges, bars, and communal areas an epic place for everyone to hang out, party, and meet each other. It is here that you will make awesome friends and learn the sick nightlife spots. In many cities, the hostel bar is usually the craziest place to begin, end, or spend the whole night; and remember you are only a few feet from your room.
4. CLEANLINESS: I know this may be as surprising as finding out that Europe is much different than the United States, but hostels are always cleaner than mid-level hotels. Word-of-mouth is the most common form of advertising for hostels through online reviews and travelers sharing stories. It could mean suicide for a hostel to have a streak of uncleanliness because travelers always share stories and recommendations with fellow travelers. In contrast 3-star hotels don’t need to care about cleanliness because the notion of it being hotel sells it for itself.
5. YOUR GRANDPARENTS DON’T STAY AT HOSTELS: Do you really want to come home blatantly drunk at 7am, potentially from the bar, but more likely from someone else’s room, only to stumble into a sweet elderly couple en route to breakfast, bingo, and then the organized tour bus? Unless it is a single elderly woman/man and that is your thing, this is probably a no.
6. YOU STAY AT HOTELS WITH YOUR PARENTS: Those always incredible family road trips were spent with you sharing a bed with mom, dad, or kid brother in these joints. Why do you want your incredible youthful experience to give you flashbacks to that time your little brother peed the bed you were sharing?
7. FRIENDLINESS: Hostels have the friendliest staffs in the world because they usually employ people who have done, or still are, in the process of doing the exact same thing you are doing. The receptionist at a hotel might sound nice and caring, but they are only doing so because it is what is required of them. Hostel staff is friendly, nice, and helpful because they choose to be. How can they possibly be miserable when they get to hang out with cool people all the time?
8. SERVICE: Hostel owners, managers, and staff want their clients to have a fun and an enjoyable experience. Like the friendliness factor, they know what activities their clients want, and the type of treatment they would like to be given. So why would you ever want to go somewhere and stay in a 3-star hotel? They are boring and are not as nice as a hostel. You are not a real traveler if you choose the supposed luxury that hotels provide. You are just a cheap imitation of someone who thinks they are backpacking around.
To plan your experience, visit Fearless Leaders Travel.