HOSTELS vs HOTELS.
Traveling on a budget...
will high probalby lead you to a hostel in bigger cities. People around me often ask me why I decided to spend my holidays in a dorm that is shared with other travelers. There's barely no privacy and of course a lower standard is usually expected.
However after my recent trips I'd chose a hostel over a hotel while traveling alone.
Depending on your destination a hotel is gonna be an important part of your journey. You'll be looking forward for a fancy designed room. Complimentary delicious breakfast in the morning is also expected. It's gonna be the room where you wanna feel at ease, at home, for a couple of days abroad.
However is it worth it, spending a big amount of money for a room, in which one you barely gonna spend a couple of hours a day? I remember the crazy expensive hotel "West In" we booked in New York. There were days where we only spend 5 hours a day in the room.
In fancy hotels, you'll high probably just bump into stuck up hotel-guests. As far as my experience goes, you hardly ever meet people in a hotel, especially if you're traveling with friends, where you hardly ever leave the hotel room. While traveling alone chances are higher, that you're gonna spend some evenings at the bar of the hotel, and get into a chitchat with other guests.
I'd definitely opt for a hotel, if i'd be traveling with a girlfriend, because you just don't have any intimacy in a dorm-room packed with other room-mates. If you're traveling together for a couple of weeks, it would be nice though, to meet other couples or solo travelers, just to bring some color into your daily routines.
The "out of date" and worn down hostels have vanished from most modern cities. The last three hostels I stayed at, easily reached the standard of a 2- or 3-star hotel.
After the check-in, stepping the first time in your dorm, it's very common that other travelers will shake your hand and introduce themselves. It is on! You already made the first contact with fellow travelers. Of course every time again, it will be the usual small talk about your country, your name, your job... etc. Usually if you get along very well, after the first chat, your room-mates will invite you for the hostels pub-crawl or they're gonna invite you to join them for a walk through the city.
Well of course, it won't be like that in every hotel. Hosteling, doesn't necessary means, only outgoing and happy travelers! Some of the guests will be very reserved, and avoid contact with room mates, but that's mostly just an exception.
While spending 4 nights in Lisbon, I paid about 140 Euro (155 US$). My friend who visited Lisbon with me, opted for a single-room at a hotel, and got to pay 400 Euro instead.
A couple of days ago, I visited London and paid 64 Euro (70 US$) for a 3-night-stay in the very expensive capital of England. What a bargain!
So why spending all your money in a hotel, in which one you're only gonna spend the night? Wouldn't it be wise, saving money on the accommodation and using that money for the next trip.
Since I've started staying in hostels, I could actually afford more frequent travels.
Once you got used to sharing a bathroom with other guests, it will feel normal after a while. After one year of hosteling, it became normal to me, to share a bedroom or a bathroom with other guests. Of course, some hostels do it better than others, but I couldn't complain about the cleanliness so far.
I had my best hostel experience at "Yes! Hostel" in Lisbon. On the very first evening, I made new friends, from the different corners of the world. Even today we're still in touch through social media platform, leaving comments on each others "instagrams" on a regular basis. On my second day, I already felt at home, greeting the "new mates" in the morning, shaking hands with the hostel staff. Without a doubt the hostel won over the hotel on that trip.
Hostels often offer free activities or pub crawls for their guests, which will make the first contact among travelers easier and more enjoyable. Don't worry, the first steps of "breaking the ice" comes naturally. There will always be a person, who will start a conversation first or who will join you into a conversation, to make you feel at ease.
Wouldn't it be nice, to make new friends on your trip. Getting to know their culture, their personalities, getting thought new things, and maybe you'll be invited to visit them in their home-country. In my opinion it is more appealing, than spending a night in your comfortable bed, in your fancy bedroom, and spending the night in front of a tv or on your iphone.