More than ever before, people are choosing unique experiences over material possessions. An result of this trend is the increase in travel among young people who dream of seeing the world.

After taking the leap and booking the ticket, the next step for many is to join a site like Airbnb or Couchsurfing and look for a place to stay. Those are both great options with many benefits, but quite often, a major budget-travel resource is overlooked; The Hostel.

Hostels have aided youth travel for over one hundred years, and while affordability is the most obvious benefit, there are many other valid reasons for choosing to book a hostel

1 You Can Find a Community of Fellow Travelers

One of the few downsides of solo travel is that it’s sometimes difficult to find fellow travelers who want to explore a new destination. A benefit of a hostel is that the common areas are filled with like-minded people who are unfamiliar with the city, but enthusiastic about experiencing and exploring. Most likely, they’ve also done some research and might be able to introduce you to an attraction that you never heard about; like an obscure museum or local craft brewery.

Meeting travelers from across the globe is the ideal opportunity to start building a travel network for future trips.

2 There are no Strings Attached

Couch Surfing is cool, and definitely the best option for shoestring travel, but a major downside is that you often have to plan most of your activities around your host’s schedule. You may get roped into activities that clash with your original plans, and even be expected to host couch surfers or attend meet-ups in your home country.

Similarly, some Airbnb accommodations may also have certain restrictions on when you could return or leave each day, as well as how often you could use the kitchen or bathroom. Hostels also have rules, but they’re generally far more lenient than shared homes.

caribbean hostel room view

3 Hostels are Better than Cheap Hotels

High priced hostels can sometimes cost as much as an inexpensive hotel or motel in the same city. This might seem like a good reason to choose the more affordable option, but the reality is that cheap hotels are cutting their cost somewhere. This might mean dirty rooms, sub-par service, or worse.

Budget hotels are also usually located in areas with low land values, so they may be far away from trendy districts and difficult to access reliable public transport.

4 Hostels offer Structured Activities for Guests

It’s easy to check into a hostel with no real expectations or plans, and end up spending the perfect three days in a city.

This is because hostel staff, along with teams of volunteers come together to curate a variety of activities from pub crawls, hikes, and walking tours. The collective local knowledge of the organizers means that these activities are always a perfect blend of the top things to do as well as off the beaten path experiences.

Montana Travel

5 Sharing Meals with Other Guests

An additional way to save money while traveling is to pool together with other guests for lunch and dinner. This can range from putting up to buy a pizza, or buying ingredients to make a meal in the communal kitchen.

Either way, not only is it money saved, but it’s also an enjoyable meal with interesting company.

To get another perspective, here are Five Reasons to use Airbnb.