Differences to Consider When Choosing Between a Hotel and Hostel - Step To Health

Differences to Consider When Choosing Between a Hotel and Hostel

For long or short trips, choosing between a hotel and a hostel is a decision that requires evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options. Learn more in this article.
Differences to Consider When Choosing Between a Hotel and Hostel

Last update: 03 December, 2021

When it’s time to travel – whether for a few days or several weeks – the selection of accommodation becomes a fundamental step. In the same way that there are different types of trips, there are also different alternatives for accommodation. Choosing between a hotel and hostel depends on several aspects that should be known.

In both cases, they are services that offer all the necessary amenities for a good stay. However, they are different experiences.

In general, hotels are designed to spend the night in a private room with one or two other people. On the other hand, hostels are aimed at the community and shared rooms.

The diversity of accommodations accompanies travelers who are also growing in number and alternative ways of moving around. For a correct selection, it’s important to know what kind of experience you want and your budget.

What should I take into account to choose between a hotel and hostel?

To start your search for suitable accommodation, you should consider the type of experience you desire. It’s not the same to travel alone, with family, with your partner or friends, nor is it the same to do it for business or vacation.

Depending on the type of trip, it’s necessary to define which comforts you’re looking for and what  you can go without.

Another aspect to consider is your budget, which should include tickets, food, excursions, and accommodation. In general, hotels tend to be more expensive and hostels cheaper, although this is not always the case.

Also, your destination must be taken into account, since it’s common to find a variety of hotel options in a big city. On the other hand, it’s common to find shared inns in more adventurous tourism, such as in the mountains.

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Hotels are one of the most popular types of accommodation. They’re present in all cities around the world. According to the quality and services offered, there are hotels of different categories, generally classified from 1 to 5 stars.

However, the concept is similar in all hotels, since they all aim at a personal, private, and complete experience. No rooms are shared, and all the essentials are included.

Habitación de hotel.
Hotels offer a more private experience than hostels.

The advantages of hotels

  • Private room: If you’re looking for total privacy, either alone or as a couple, it may be easier to choose between a hotel and hostel. The main feature of hotels is that you don’t share a room or a bathroom.
  • Essential accessories: They often include items such as towels, soaps, and hair products, so you don’t need to bring them from home.
  • Daily cleaning: The hotels have employees who take care of the daily room service. Linen changes, alterations, and general cleaning are pleasant when you come back from your trip.
  • Breakfast: Many hotels include a breakfast that can be more or less complete, depending on the type of establishment and the budget.
  • Variety: There are all kinds of hotels for different types of travelers. These range fom the most warm and family-owned spaces to the huge multinational chains.

The disadvantages of hotels

One situation that may be uncomfortable for some people is that cooking is often not available. If full board is not included, you have to eat out every day, which is something to add to the budget.

In this sense, hotels tend to cost more than hostels because of the privacy they offer. However, there are cheaper options that match the prices of other accommodations.

Another disadvantage is that the rooms are generally designed for two people. For this reason, it’s not the best alternative for traveling with groups of friends, unless you intend to book several rooms.


Hostels are a different lodging experience. The general concept is to share with others. Therefore, many spaces are available to all guests.

They usually cost less than hotels, but are not chosen for that reason alone. Many travelers enjoy sharing stories, knowledge, and learning from people with similar experiences.

The advantages of hostels

  • Options: Depending on the type of establishment, its concept, and value, it’s possible to opt for private rooms, paying a little more, even with a personal bathroom, which would leave only the kitchen as a common area.
  • Price: In general, they’re cheaper than hotels. However, there are very good quality hostels that can be more expensive than many hotels, even with shared rooms.
  • Cultural diversity: Hostels are occupied by travelers from all over the world, who often undertake long journeys. This is an advantage for those who travel alone and want to share experiences, anecdotes, and meet new people.
  • Respect: Certain rules of coexistence are established for general comfort. For example, there are certain times when you can’t turn on the lights or make noise at night. An atmosphere of cordiality and companionship is sought.
  • Cooking: Some people may find it uncomfortable to share spaces, but having a kitchen is an advantage fora tight budget.
  • Socializing: Many hostels have plans for general fun activities. Sometimes they organize events, both at night and during the day.

The disadvantages of hostels

Perhaps the most important disadvantage of hostels is in the shared bathrooms. Many people are uncomfortable with this aspect, although paying a little more and getting a private one is sometimes possible. Larger hostels have locker-room-type spaces, with individual showers and communal dressing areas.

Also, many lack towels and soap, so you must bring your own. Daily room cleaning is also not common in these establishments. Sometimes there are rooms with up to 9, 10 or 12 beds, with availability only for men, women, or mixed.

Regarding security, although there is usually a friendly and trustworthy atmosphere, it’s advisable to have a lock for luggage. Some shared rooms offer lockers to store your belongings.

Mochilero que elige un hostal.
Hostels have traditionally been the option chosen by backpackers for their trips.

Tips for choosing between a hotel and hostel

The general conception suggests that for family or business trips, hotels are the best option. On the other hand, for solo trips or with groups of friends, hostels work better. However, it depends on the individual and the desired experience.

Many couples choose hostels to meet people, and other solo travelers prefer the tranquility of a hotel. It’s important to know what aspects of privacy affect you personally and how much discomfort shared spaces can create.

It’s likely that you will not be fully aware of this until you experience it, Until a few years ago, hostels were associated with youth and adventure, but it’s possible to meet people of all ages and cultures, generating interesting exchanges.

The importance of choosing between a hotel and hostel

Although choosing between a hotel and hostel is determinant for a trip, you will most likely end up having a great time no matter what you choose. All places are prepared for tourists to enjoy a good stay and choose them again.

In any case, the more you know about the concept of the establishment, the less chance there is for negative surprises.

There are more and more alternative accommodations, with characteristics of both hotels and hostels, such as residential apartments or Couchsurfing. In these places, you can get to know the people, customs, and traditions of a city or country more closely.

Whatever your choice, it’s advisable to book in advance to get better prices and places, especially in high season, when availability tends to decrease.

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