The battle of lodging options! Naija nomads asked this question in the feature in March here and I answered briefly. Hostel, Airbnb, or Hotel? While everyone may have an opinion on this, I thought I’d make a case for all three options based on my experiences. Funny thing is, while I was in the Philippines two months ago, I actually stayed in a hostel, Airbnb, and hotel (in that order) over the course of ten nights, so the experience is pretty fresh in my mind. In this installation, I’ll focus on the hostel:
The Case For Hostels
Hostels are generally more popular with a younger crowd (think late teens to twenties). They sometimes have a reputation of being loud, rowdy, and just plain out of control. I stayed in a hostel during my time in Coron, Philippines where I shared a room with three other girls (all Filipino) and we ended up having such a great time, doing some exploring together and having dinners together. Before this trip, I hadn’t stayed in a hostel in a while!
- They’re significantly cheaper than other options so you can use your funds for other things. The cost of three nights in the hostel (combined) was less than one night at my Airbnb or hotel
- It is so much easier to meet people in a hostel, this is great for solo travellers
- Some hostels have private en-suite rooms, so you still get privacy but can meet people in the common areas
- Sometimes, hostels might be more centrally located
- No privacy, especially in large mixed-bed dorms. Nuff said!
- Some hostels are loud and out of control
- Some hostels are not the cleanest
What to Consider before Staying in a Hostel?
- Cost (especially relative to other options)
- Your desire to interact with others on the trip
- Recent reviews (I personally read most recent, best, and worst reviews)
- Amenities (free breakfast, Wi-Fi, luggage storage, proximity to public transport)
My Verdict on Hostels
I would not rule them out if I were you. I chose the hostel in Coron because the other options were either sold out or too expensive. Coron is a smaller town so I’d benefit from meeting people, plus going cheap here allowed me to splurge elsewhere on the trip.
Throughout the Philippines, I had my best interactions with the ladies I shared the dorm with. They were all incredible young professionals/medical students exploring their country. Plus, since they’re Filipino they knew exactly what to order at meals so I tried EVERYTHING from crocodile to pig ears. It was amazing! When I dropped my phone in a hot spring, it was one of these ladies that randomly found a local to fix it and SAVED me (and my 6,000 pictures on my phone). I’m incredibly particular when I stay in hostels. You better believe I read every review across different platforms and even personally contact the hostel myself to clarify everything before I book.
Overall, I would recommend hostels to the younger traveller that’s trying to make their pennies go far, to the solo traveller, or to the couple (or duo) happy to meet fun/young at heart folks along the journey. Do spend the time to research good, clean, and safe hostels. Reviews don’t lie.
There’s so much more that could be said for hostels, but I’ve picked up some of the main points. Have you stayed in a hostel? What was your experience and would you encourage it? If you’d never consider staying in one, why not?
The next post will touch on Airbnbs and hotels, so stay tuned!