Need Some Local Travel Advice? Be Sure To Check Out A Hostel

While luxury hotels offer a unique kind of comfort and amenities, today's hostels are in a league of their own when it comes to providing local insights and travel hacks. If you're looking for genuine local advice and a finger on the pulse of the city, make a beeline for the nearest hostel, even if you're not bunking there!

Hostels primarily cater to budget travelers. Usually, they offer shared accommodation and a more social environment, contrasting the often isolated privacy of a hotel experience. Facilities can include social common rooms, shared bathrooms, laundry facilities, complimentary breakfast, communal kitchens, and, of course, free Wi-Fi. Sometimes, they even have roof terraces or pools! They're usually geared toward young adults and are located in prime city locations for a fraction of the price of a hotel. Since their inception, hostels worldwide have built their entire business model around offering affordable yet quality experiences. The staff there can guide you to the best cheap eats, attractions that offer good value, and sometimes free activities that may not be in your travel guide. 

Social, experiential, and travel perks of hostels

Hostels sometimes organize group tours or social activities for their guests. These excursions are a fun, economical way to have an immersive experience with travelers in a new city. Whether it's a local pub crawl, a historical walking tour, or a trip to a nearby attraction, these hostel-curated tours can offer you a unique perspective of the place. You may even be able to join if you aren't a guest.

Many hostel employees are locals who have extensive knowledge about their city. Unlike commercial tour guides who sometimes offer rehearsed lines, these locals provide organic insights. They can guide you to hidden gems, lesser-known spots, and authentic local experiences that mainstream tourists might miss out on. Hostel staff are usually updated with the latest happenings around town. After all, things change — restaurants close, new attractions open, events pop up. They can provide real-time advice that might not yet be updated in online travel forums or guidebooks.

Hostels have an inherent culture of sharing and camaraderie. According to Hostelworld, over 60% of their customers tend to be solo travelers, and one in five of their travelers prefer hostels that offer free social experiences. Clearly, the hostel environment is social, laid-back, and casual, making it easier for travelers to approach the staff or even other guests for advice. This relaxed atmosphere encourages open communication, ensuring you get the best tips and maybe make some friends along the way. 

How to get advice, even if you're not a guest

If you're not staying in a hostel but want to get some travel information, here's how. First, just walk in. While it might feel a bit intimidating, most hostels are welcoming. Start with a friendly greeting, mention that you've heard hostels offer great local advice, and proceed with your inquiry. Engage in a genuine conversation. Don't just bombard them with questions. Maybe share a little about where you're from and your travel experiences. This will make your interaction more pleasant and might lead to them sharing more insights. 

If the hostel is busy or the staff is attending to guests, wait for an appropriate moment or come back later. If the advice you receive is particularly beneficial or the staff has gone out of their way to help, consider leaving a small tip or purchasing a snack or drink there, if it's an option. It's a polite gesture and good hostel etiquette, showing you're not just there for free advice.

In a digital age where we often rely on apps and online reviews, the humanity of local travel advice can make all the difference. Hostels tend to be overlooked by those who choose other accommodation options, but they really are a goldmine of local insights. The next time you're wandering the streets of a new city and see a hostel sign, remember it's not just a place for budget accommodation; it's a hub of local advice and amazing connections.