I love hostels and the vibe that they provide you with on your travels. I love the relaxation of them. I love the people you meet in them and how they feel like home. Hotels are soul-less, hostels have personality. At least most of them (of course I’ve stayed in a few shockers down the years!). So today on Tuesday’s Travel Essentials I thought I’d outline my top 5 things a decent hostel should have.
1. Easy Going, Welcoming, Friendly Staff
You’ve crossed a border, you’ve bought a visa, you’ve missed a bus, you’ve arrived late at night in the heavy rain after a long walk. What you need is welcoming, easy going friendly staff to greet you at reception. Loved Soweto Backpackers in South Africa for this.
Whether it’s your belongings or just the thought of being safe and at home, the hostel should have this. Lockers should be provided, a safe should be available and you should be able to trust the staff. Also as an added bonus you should be able to go away for a few days and leave your stuff there knowing it will be safe and you won’t be charged for that service either.
A decent hostel needs to have personality. I’m typing this from the excellent Why Not? Legend Hostel in Tbilisi and this place has it. It’s got personality. That means the staff are cool, the guests are cool, the hostel looks good and you feel at home there. In fact I love this hostel and plan to come back again after a jaunt into Armenia and hopefully write about it again.
4. Free Breakfast
I simply love hostels that have free breakfast. It saves you the hassle of buying cereals and bread and allows you to get up, chat to your hostel buddies and plan your day over some food and a cup of tea or coffee. Tea and coffee incidentally should also be free. ALWAYS. Kudos to Masada Backpackers in Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia who provide a free all day breakfast.
5. Free Wi-Fi
No backpacker wants to pay for Wi Fi or the internet. Ever. So at least if your hostel has internet access, it should be free. Mountain hostels and those in under developed countries are excused of course. But then again my hostel in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia had fast free Wi Fi and I’m typing this one up from one too. Of course being a travel blogger and working online, I’m biased to include this as I rely on it these days. But if you want your hostel to get in a bloggers good books – at least provide free Wi-Fi.
I haven’t included “good location”, “hot showers”, “cheap”, “clean dorms” or “comfy beds” as for me, those things are not as important these days as the five on this list. This series could run though, I’ve a load more essentials to talk about in the world of hostels so look out for them in future Tuesday’s Travel Essentials. I’d estimate I’ve slept in over 200 hostels by now. I’m off to sleep – country number 80 in the morning – Armenia!! Hostel just booked – can’t wait!
Safe travels and happy hostelling!