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Hostels are budget dorm accommodations with shared space and facilities with one very special feature…
The social factor… A feature unique to hostels.
The inherently cooperative and communal way hostels work often create quickly built but meaningful individual friendships, groups of recent strangers that appear to be cliques but are actually friendly and even what can only be described as communities.
Traditional hotels are meant to isolate guests from each other, intentionally minimizing contact. Whereas it’s the exact opposite purpose with hostels as they’re designed to maximize social interactions.
The other major difference between hostels and hotels is the significant cost difference. This budget accommodation ideology is attractive for saving money but that’s just the secondary benefit.
The primary benefit is that it attracts like-minded people from all around the world from every background sharing the common love for travel.
So there’s commonality in extreme diversity.
Making hostels natural breeding grounds for both short-term and lifelong relationships.
“Hostelers” try to stay exclusively (or even religiously) at hostels as we travel. Seeking the familiar social connections and good times of previous hostels.
It’s far beyond just an inexpensive bed to sleep on but to continue to live the hostel life.
The potential for such memorable and enlightening experiences that only hostels can offer makes the already low cost of them a steal.
Allowing for an exceedingly affordable travel lifestyle.
The most ideal hostel is one that feels like your staying at a good friend’s house and not like your a faceless stranger at a hotel. A 5 star luxury resort’s hospitality has nothing on a good hostel’s.
Merely staying at hostels doesn’t exactly qualify it as a lifestyle but its socially comprehensive and active nature is what makes it a part of a traveler’s life.
To myself and many other hostelers, its one of the most rewarding and favored part of long-term travel.
A Day in The Life of a Hosteler //
10:37 AM In Turkey for the first time, I’m not sure what to expect as I look out the airport shuttle bus window with Istanbul passing by nearing my hostel.
11:02 AM Walking in to a new hostel is always exciting, even though it was empty with just Emre the manager waiting for me to check in. After a bit of chatting and a drink, I grab a tourist map and settle my backpack to my dorm bed.
1:08 PM I happily see fresh backpacks on top of all 5 of the remaining beds in my dorm room, meaning new guests have arrived.
1:11 PM After putting my daypack down I run to the rooftop bar of the hostel and see a half dozen backpackers enjoying some Efes beers. The usual introductions proceeded and we all have more drinks and talk travel.
2:02 PM Now 7 backpackers and I from 5 different countries who were strangers just an hour ago are now friends. We decide to take a walk to the Galata Bridge fish market for lunch.
3:57 PM With our group now 11 strong, we attempt to stay together browsing the tight confines of the Grand Bazaar. We inevitably get separated but meet up later at the hostel.
5:31 PM I return to the hostel with 3 backpackers, a German, Australian and a fellow American. On the way “home” we got amped about going to Cappadocia in central Turkey. We book tickets as soon as we get back.
6:44 PM Almost at full capacity, the hostel is loud, busy and energetic like an unintentional party. Travelers from all around the world clash and bursts with culture, it’s beautiful.
7:51 PM After making a few more friends and exchanging Facebooks, some of us head out for dinner. We have Istanbul’s famed kebabs and islak burgers while enjoying a walking night tour.
2:00 AM Lights out. Zzzz…
10:59 AM I barely make it upstairs for the hostel’s free breakfast. Almost every seat taken by familiar faces from last night struggling with the same hangover that I have but visibly happy to be in each other’s company.
This is just one example of the many possible types of days you can spend as a hosteler. Meaningful events and connections that all travelers should experience to get the most out of foreign travel. The hostel life.
It’s the possibilities that hostel life make possible that make my vagabonding lifestyle a far more interpersonally remarkable journey.
The hostel life is an exceptional way to “sleep”.