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5 Things You Should Know Before Staying In A Hostel

Our trip to Ecuador was our first experience with hostels. Before that trip, we'd only stayed in traditional hotels or AirBnb's. What did we learn along the way? Should you stay in a hostel on your next trip? Keep reading for five things you should know before you stay in a hostel.

1. It's Cheap

A hostel is by far your cheapest bet for accommodations around the world. 10-20 dollars will get you a dorm bed, a shared bathroom and usually a breakfast. That price will go up depending on where you're traveling of course, but a hostel bed will always be cheaper than a hotel. If you're trying to see the world as cheaply as possible, a hostel is what you need.

If you’re trying to see the world as cheaply as possible, a hostel is what you need.

Dorm rooms are one of the cheapest ways to see the world.

2. It's Not All Dorm Rooms And Shared Bathrooms

If sharing a bedroom with eight other people isn't your idea of a good time, never fear. Many hostels have private rooms, and most even have private bathrooms. You'll pay a little more for this type of stay, but you'll still save money compared to a traditional hotel. Some of these accommodations offer unique options that most hotels can't match. In Isinlivi, we stayed at Llullu Llama in a private room. Not only was the included food delicious but the surroundings and view from our private cabana were absolutely gorgeous. It was 40 dollars a person for the private room and bathroom. We would have paid that for the free breakfast and dinner alone. Don't be scared off by hostels if you don't want to share a bedroom. You can find amazing private rooms much cheaper than chain hotels.

If sharing a bedroom with eight other people isn’t your idea of a good time, never fear.

The view from our private cabana.

Breakfast was so good at Llullu Llama.

The breakfast and view wasn’t bad at Secret Garden in Quito either.

3. You Will Meet People From All Over The World

Hostels are communal experiences. The meals are usually served family style to encourage interaction. That was cool with us because we got to meet people from all over the world. You'll also be talking to other tourists traveling to the same places you are. You'll pick up some tips and maybe make some new friends.

Secret Garden Hostel had a huge hammock overlooking Quito.

We met so many interesting travelers at Community Hostel in Banos.

4. Hostels Aren't The Quietest Places

A hostel's prime demographic is broke, young travelers. As such, most have bars attached, cheap food and late night activities. It's a social experience. It's great if that's what you want. But don't expect to go to bed at 8 p.m. and have a quiet sleep. This is even truer if you're in a dorm room. You can't force your bedmates to go to sleep. At one of our hostels, there was a big Jenga game going. It quieted down around 11 p.m and didn't bother us too much. But just know that it can get loud. Seeing the world on the cheap has some disadvantages.

It wasn’t the hostel’s fault, but our rooms window in Latacunga, overlooked a loud club.

You’ll pick up some tips and maybe make some new friends.

5. Hostels Vary In Quality

Hostels vary in quality. Places like Llullu Llama and Community Hostel are fantastic, but there are just as many that aren't clean and may not make you feel that safe. Do your research before booking. Websites like Hostel World provide reviews and a convenient way to book your room.


Staying in a hostel may not be for everyone. While the places we visited in Ecuador were truly unique and fun, for the most part, you will give up a few creature comforts. Hostels also vary significantly in quality and cleanliness. Do your research, and you'll be fine. If you're looking for a cheap, social experience, a hostel stay may be for you. And you'll undoubtedly have money left over. What about you? Have you ever stayed in a hostel? Does it look like something you would try? Answer below in the comments.

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