Hostels and the future of them!

Tue 26 Feb 2013

Hostels, in the context of travel, are accommodation for travelers and for youth groups, providing shared accommodation. ‘Hostel’ means that, at the minimum, there will be some dormitory accommodation. Hostels usually also have common areas, a youthful and traveler orientation, and information on the local area and travel to other locations.

The concept of ‘youth hostels’, as they were originally known, started in about 1910 in Germany and was soon copied in several European countries. Originally, each hosteling organisation sought to provide low cost accommodation in rural areas for young city workers, with an emphasis was on hiking, cycling and other healthy activities.

With the advent of international travel, hostels not affiliated to Hosteling International associations were established: these were often known as backpacker hostels. Today, there is less difference between Hostelling International hostels and non-Hosteling International hostels, and both are often referred to as “backpackers”.

Hostels provide dormitory style budget accommodation for travellers with multiple guests sharing a room. Many hostels also provide private rooms in addition to dormitory accommodation. Bathrooms are variously shared, communal facilities or en suite. For many hostellers, the opportunity to meet other travellers is part of the appeal.
Hostels vary widely in their rules and regulations, with only a few hostels imposing a curfew. Most modern hostels let guests come and go at all hours. Some hostels impose a limit to the number of days you can stay though this is increasingly rare and usually not the case in backpacker hostels in Europe, Australia and North America. In a few instances, the older requirement that guests have to provide their own sheets or standard “sleep sack” (a sheet folded over and sewn into a sleeping bag), still exists, though most hostels now prohibit guests from using their own linens to prevent guests’ bringing bedbugs into the hostel. Towels are often available for a fee and are sometimes free.
Some hostels have separate accommodations for males and females while others have some or all shared rooms.
Some hostels have age limits, a minimum age unless accompanied and sometimes a maximum age.
The style of lodging can vary widely: some hostels are in beautiful historic buildings, or resort style camping villages or modern apartment type buildings; some are spartan while others are almost luxurious. Most are clean and comfortable. To find the best hostels, read online hostel reviews on different hostel booking websites.
Common facilities often include a shared lounge, laundry room, and kitchen but these often depend on the country. Most hostels now have computers with internet access and also provide free wifi Internet.
If it’s your first time staying at hostels, you might want to try somewhere near home and only one location, and see how you like it. Some hostels can be very cozy and welcoming, but a having a laid-back personality is definitely helpful. If access is 24 hours, you can expect to be woken at any hour as others return to the room, or newcomers arrive. You share common facilities and people vary in their tidiness and respect for others. There is always a very small risk of items being stolen, so you need to take care: increasingly, dormitories have lockers, or secure valuables lockers somewhere. Just follow basic common sense and be sure to lock up electronics, cash, and other valuables.
Booking Hostels

It is advisable to book hostels in advance rather than just turning up and hoping that there will be a suitable bed.

Many hostels appreciate it when guests book directly with the hostel, because the hostel then saves money on commissions that they have to pay to external booking systems. To do this use the booking sites, read the reviews, then do a search on the hostel name to try to find their direct contact details.

The 2 main sites for booking hostels are

Hostel world
There are many other sites promoting hostels and making booking through the use of Hostelworld or hostelbookers. The hostels then just log into one or both of these sites and set their availability.

Lastly,,  this site is normally more expensive then the rest as it charges more for businesses to be listed.

Hot tip. If you want a bed on busy days, such as New Years Eve, try going in or calling them at checkout time. If traveling by yourself, a bed for one is a simple task. For groups or private rooms, defiantly try to book in advance. And print out the contact details and directions!

Also please leave any recommendations or request you have to expand this information.

Airbnb is a privately held company headquartered in San Fransico, Founded in August 2008, operated and privately owned by Airbnb, Inc. The company is an online service that provides a platform for individuals referred to as “hosts”, generally private parties, to rent unoccupied living space and other short-term lodging to guests. As of November 2012, the company had over 250,000 listings in 30,000 cities and 192 countries. Listings include private rooms, entire apartments, castles, boats, manors, tree houses, tipis, igloos, private islands and other properties.

Users of the site must register and create a personal online profile before using the site. All properties are associated with a host whose profile include recommendations by other users, reviews by previous guests, as well as a response rating and private messaging system

In July 2010, the company received more than 300 emails from users whose livelihood had threatened their ability to keep their homes due to financial hardship from the economic recession.This phenomenon has caused much discourse for the American Hotel & Lodging Association as short-term private rentals continue to disrupt the hospitality industry.

Some people say this is kind of like CouchSurfing only you don’t have to hang out or be intertested in the host. Private space, or potentially private space in a new friends home.

Hot Tip: Please leave feed back as to your AirBnB experiences,
Story by:
Adrian Cahill
Expert traveler, Adrian has been in over 70 countries, stayed in mud huts and was once caught smuggling Vegemite in his trousers. Now he is on the speaking circuit and writes about his adventures.

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