Traveling is fun, exciting, and rewarding. But traveling is also expensive. Whether you're planning a spring break trip or already studying abroad and planning a weekend trip to yet another vacation spot, transportation, housing and everything in between can rack up the bills real quickly. If you don't mind sharing a room with others, staying at a hostel can be a really great alternative to expensive hotel rooms or Airbnbs. Often priced between $15-30 a night, many hostels offer not just a bed space, but free wifi, kitchen areas, common spaces, and lockers to store your belongings. If you do choose to take this option, here are 6 things that you'll probably experience.
1. Meet people from all over the world
The idea of traveling cheap is universal - I once sat down for a soccer game in a hostel in Madrid with 4 people from 4 different countries, only able to understand each other through a combination of English, French, Spanish, and Google translate. As long as you make an effort to open yourself up (aka simply sitting in the common area), people will talk to you.
2. Have to wait for the shared bathrooms
There are probably 10-20 people sharing the same 2 bathrooms in your hostel, so plan out your showering times well ahead of time. Try to shower at a different time than you usually would so that you wouldn't have to wait 45 minutes just so you could be hygienic. For toilets, there's nothing you can do about it. Just try not to eat anything that would generally result in an upset stomach and you should be okay.
3. If you're an introvert, experience social anxiety
It's 10am, and you want to get up and get ready. BUT, there are 3 other people in your hostel room who are getting ready, and you don't want to attract attention by simply getting out of bed. Alternatively, you want to go out for late night supper, but everyone in your room is already asleep and you don't want to wake them up by making noise. The struggles are real, but honestly, as long as you try to be quiet and you're respectful, go for that supper, and get out of bed. It's a hostel, so people already expect others to have different sleep schedules.
4. Appreciate the importance of good roommates
You won't appreciate this until you get a roommate who comes barging in at 4am, drunk and cackling. Or if a roommate seems to not have showered in a few years. Personally, I've always had great experiences with roommates, but that definitely won't be the case every time. As long as a roommate isn't disruptive, it's a good day in a hostel.
5. Switch roommates every day
A perk about living in a hostel is that if you do end up with a bad roommate, chances are, they'll be gone in a day or two. Every day, new people move in and out of hostels, so you'd usually only have to tolerate 4am cackles and smells for just a little bit. Overall, the money you save by living in a hostel is well worth that small struggle.