So What Exactly is the Difference Between Staying in a Hostel vs Staying in a Hotel?

So you’re thinking of planning a trip and one of the first things that probably comes to mind is “Where should I stay?” When it comes to planning, choosing your accommodations can be a bit tricky but it’s a crucial part of any vacation.

Options like Airbnb and HomeAway have grown in popularity over the years. However, a hostel or hotel are usually in the mix as well. So how do you figure out which one is right for you?

The first step is determining the major differences between a hostel and a hotel. The main difference between a hostel and a hotel is that a hotel offers individual rooms with ample privacy whereas a hostel is an inexpensive alternative with a dormitory-style look and feel.

You can figure out which one to choose for yourself and still have fun while you travel.  This article will breakdown the difference, benefits, experiences, and general tips when it comes to deciding between a hotel or hostel. 

Let’s get started!

How to Know Whether a Hotel or Hostel is Right for You – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Your first thought when going on a vacation is a place to sleep and relax whenever you are done from a fun day. Your thoughts are also the pricing of it and if you can catch a discount.

How do you lower your suggestions and figure out what you are willing to deal with or even pay? It’s all about how much time you really are going to spend in that room you are paying for.  

When it comes to traveling, it’s best to look at hotels/hostels ahead of time and also its reviews. Based on the kind of trip or vacation you are going on will help you lower your options.

Whether You Choose to Stay at a Hotel or a Hostel, Make Sure to Research and Book Ahead of Time


When you think about traveling, I bet you are thinking more about what to wear and all to do. But these honestly are the easiest and can come last, believe me.

Start searching for many hotels or hostels that will fit your vacation. Know what you are willing to pay and the area you will want to be in, as far as not having to spend money on a rental car, an Uber, a cab, etc.

The earlier you book your room, the more money you are possibly able to save and discounts you can catch.

Check Out Reviews and Ratings for Hotels and Hostels Near Your Destination 

Reviews tell a lot about a hotel and hostels.

How past guest feel is usually accurate to their experience at a hotel. Always read and pay attentions.

Ratings tell a lot too. This can help you lower your search and help you know what you do not want to deal with on a vacation or trip.

Which Travel Accommodation is Safe and Inexpensive?


Separating each other, what could you find out about both? The two major factors when it comes to choosing travel accommodations usually center around the cost in relation to your travel budget and the location.

We know that hotels can be expensive sometimes. We know that hotels are usually safe because of the security it has and the key cards that have to be used to access the building

Hostels are usually cheaper. It’s mostly set like a dorm rather than an actual one person bedroom or studio room. Hostels usually have keys, rather than key cards.

Are You a Single Traveler or Traveling in a Group?

If you are traveling alone, this can help you decide on how you spend your money. You can save more when choosing a hostel, but if you are with a group it’ll be best and easier to spend the cost of a hostel.

Knowing rather you are vacationing or backpacking can also help. Hostel locations range from urban areas to state parks.

When vacationing you know you need money and that you plan this. Backpacking is more of a saved experience around the world with little money and more sources on surviving without a hotel. Most backpackers would choose a $10-17 dollar hostel before a 50-65 dollar hotel.

Knowing the Difference from a Hotel and Hostel and What Comes With Each


Hotels are sometimes more expensive, depending on the setting of the room, as far as the bed size, set up, floors, and critique of it.

They also come with different amenities, from conference rooms, own personal bathrooms, computer rooms, pools or Jacuzzis, continental breakfast, iron, etc. Hotels usually have key cards, rather than actual keys.

Hostels are inexpensive with a dormitory setting. It is possible to get a private room, which amounts to the same price a hotel would.


It can come with exclusive passes to places around the area of the hostel. You get to meet new people from different countries.

Hostels are more of a social place and very popular, especially in Europe. It comes with a meal pass, which would likely be a wristband. The bathrooms are sometimes for the whole community of the hostel or separate for each room.

Which One, Hotel or Hostel, Would Benefit You, Your Experience, and Vacation?

Being a First-Time Traveler


If you are a first-time traveler, a hotel may the best fit for your comfortability. Especially if you are out of your comfort zone, your own city or state.

It’s very easy to be uncomfortable around people you may not know. Let alone, it’s easier and will be difficult for you to sleep in the same room with someone you may not know or been around, especially if there aren’t any policies about theft or harm.

Hotels can also be more recommended for families and couples who would rather have privacy.

Hotels are also a good choice if you don’t plan on traveling with all of your things, as far as towels, blow dryers, soap, etc.

A hotel is set, stone, and safe.

Backpackers, Single Groups Should Choose Hostels


Backpackers usually don’t make use to their rooms and won’t stay there any more than 2 nights, which they could save the money they have by getting a $10-20 dollar a night hostel.

It’ll be easier for a single group of people to choose a hostel when it comes to saving, splitting the pay, and fine with sharing a room with whomever.

It also helps the experience of mingling and getting to know other people around, especially if you’re new to the place you are traveling at.

A hostel is what you make of it.

Tips on How to Choose

  • Know the type of vacation you are going on. It will help you choose rather you want to be in a hotel or hostel.
  • Plan ahead of time so you can satisfy your budget with the many early booking discounts.
  • Always go on the main site of the hotel or hostel you choose. This would be more convenient in case there is a problem or a complaint and you need your money back. Booking a hotel or hostel from another site other than its own can cause you to lose money due to the fact that other sites always have a booking fee to its site.
  • Try to compare and contrast a hotel and hostel. What does each what have, what kind of things can you get that would be worth your money and what benefits does it have? Any extras?
  • Look at reviews from its own site and other sites of the hotel and hostel. Most reviews will honestly come from other sites.
  • Pay attention to the settings of a room and rather you’ll be comfortable it.
  • Also, pay attention t the fine print on websites or receipt to know rather if you have a problem, it can be solved or if you could possibly get your money back.
  • Get familiar with your surroundings and know information or history about it. Your safety should be very important to you, especially if you are somewhere where no one will be familiar with who you are.

Final Thoughts on Choosing a Hotel or a Hostel

Save yourself the trouble and plan ahead when choosing a hotel and hostel. If you never been in a hostel, I won’t say choose a hotel if you are okay with risking and experiencing.

But if you take the time to plan your vacation and choosing a hotel or hostel, you more than likely can’t go wrong and will enjoy yourself. Just remember to pick based on your comfort first and then your budget.

So live a bit, enjoy yourself and safe travels on whatever new adventure you are heading too. Good luck!

Have you ever been in a hostel, or than a hotel (not the same thing)? Maybe you always wanted to try it but always chose a hotel because people say it’ safer or easier, right? Well, don’t be afraid to share your experience in a hotel and hostel in the comments below.

Kali Cochran

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