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What Can a Hostel Do For You?

Saturday 26th February 2011

Hostels are no longer just a cheap bunk for the night, Hostelbookers explain what has changed.


Budget accommodation is a competitive industry and hostels will bend over backwards for your custom by offering a long list of freebies and fun activities during your stay. Bed linen and towels are now offered as standard while Wi-Fi access and a free breakfast are not uncommon.

Free Events

Next up, guests should check out what events their hostel has planned during their stay. For a night on the town, staff might take you on a pub crawl or comedy club to experience the best nightlife or if you’re tired after a day of sightseeing they might suggest a movie night in the lounge. These events are a great way to meet like-minded travellers and help introduce you to the city’s neighbourhoods. Pizza or pasta nights mean a free dinner too.

Girlie Perks

Many hostels offer single or mixed sex dorms. Some of the larger chains of hostels have gone that extra mile to add a few creature comforts to the girls’ dorms such as hair straightening irons, a glass of bubbly in the evenings and extra fluffy duvets and pillows.

Temporary Accommodation

If you plan to work or stay for an extended period of time in a country, stay in a hostel and use it as your initial base. Get to know the staff and the different neighbourhoods first before deciding on more permanent accommodation.

Some places such as Nomads backpackers hostels in Australia and New Zealand have a jobs desk which advertises vacancies in the area as well as offering advice and support on working in the country.


A new breed of boutique style hostels have emerged over the past few years. If you’re looking for a hostel in Buenos Aires or Lisbon for example you’ll be particularly taken by the chic dorms and lounge areas, probably more design conscious than your bedroom at home! Just as you can relax in a hotel lobby, an increasing number of hostels have their own bar area where guests can enjoy a happy hour, a few cheap drinks and music by a local DJ or band.

Going Private

The original concept behind hostels was communal living – that’s what made them so cost effective. But today, properties are recognising the demand from families and couples who are looking for more independence so it is possible to book either private or dorm-style rooms, although facilities will not always be en suite.

Share the Experience

Hostels attract travellers with a keen eye for a bargain so staff will be particularly knowledgeable about budget bars, cheap restaurants and local attractions. Staff, as well as the other guests, are an invaluable travel resource and might offer better advice than your guide book.