Common hostel questions
What are hostels?
The quickest answer I can give to you is that hostels are budget accommodations where you share a room with other travelers. To be more specific though and to give you a better idea of what to expect I will say that a hostel room is like a hotel room but instead of being just one bed there are
a couple (or a few) bunk beds. There are also (gasp!) other people. People you do not know! These other people are travelers who are most likely very much like you in the sense that they are exploring and traveling and doing it as absolutely cheaply as possible. Hostels have been around a long long time. There are over 20,000 of them around the world. Hostels are very much a part of the culture of Europe, and are starting to be known in the USA as well. Hostels are a cheaper way of staying in a city where you do not live.
Are hostels safe?
Many people are apprehensive about hostels because they are worried if they are safe. Hostels are safe and used by tens of thousands of people every day. The main question that most people have is that because the rooms are shared with other travelers, won't someone steal your stuff? The answer I give to that is this. There is always a risk of your things being stolen wherever you are but you will be surprised at how respectful people are with your stuff. You are not visiting the hostel to steal stuff, neither are the other people there to do so either. Often while traveling your backpack is filled with your dirty stinky clothes and other such undesirable things. As for your passport and money. It is important to keep those with you in hostels or anywhere else you are. In general theft is not a big problem in hostels. You are most likely going to meet some of the nicest people you have ever met on your travels and there is no better group of people than young people exploring the Earth to se it.
As far as your physical safety goes, there is very little to worry about. Hostels are establishments with rules and enforcement of those rules. In the odd case that something bad is going on the same thing will happen in a hostel that happens in a hotel. Security or the police will come. Hostels have no problem with kicking people out if they act inappropriately or not in standing with the rules.
Women travelers and hostels?
Virtually every hostel has women's only dorm rooms. This is a room where no boys are allowed day or night. Hostels are very interested in your enjoyment and your comfort, if you feel uncomfortable about anything you should talk to the hostel staff. They will respond. Many people have many different definitions of what is safe and what is not safe. Some women will hitch hike some won't. Some women feel comfortable traveling alone, others do not. As far as women and hostels go, whether you are a boy, girl, dog, or turtle, hostels are places for travelers to rest and enjoy and overall hostels do a fabulous job at being fun and safe places to be.
How many people use hostels?
Roughly, 20,000 hostels are out there.
They each have room for 10 - 200 people.
So guess the answer is - A whole bunch of people use hostels each
and every day.
Why haven't I heard of hostels until now?
Depending on where you are from, hostels can be a completely new thing to you. In America for example more people have probably heard about hostels from the horror film than have heard about them otherwise. However you have learned about them, we are glad you did and welcome to a very fun community.
Why would anyone want to share a room with others?
This is a very important question. It is actually the same question as "What does travel mean to me?" because if you think about it most travelers are looking to explore, to see and meet other people and places that are different from themselves and that are foreign to their experiences. There is no better way to do this than staying at a hostel. You will meet lots of people from lots of places. If you stay in a hotel you are less likely to meet anyone in a real sense. This is fine for some people. The people in hostels are travelers and travelers are good people to meet.
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