Hotels vs Hostels: What’s Best for the Solo Tourist?

Credit: Edvin Johansson

Planning your next vacation? Choosing the perfect accommodation may be the most important pre-travel task. While hotels are a popular choice for many travelers, hostels are a unique alternative. Here we present the key features, advantages, and disadvantages of staying in hotels versus hostels, helping to make an informed decision on the best lodging option for you.

Related: What’s Stopping you from Traveling Solo? 10 Ways and Solutions to Plan that Perfect Vacation


What is a Hotel?

Hotels are establishments that offer lodging to travelers and occasionally permanent residents. They can have meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, stores, and other amenities that are available to the public to use.

Key Elements of a Hotel


Privacy is a huge part of a hotel. Having your own room and bathroom means nothing has to be shared, and you will not have to worry about any personal items going missing. There is also the benefit if you need to be alone, there will be no one accidentally interrupting you. This is because hotels are often more business-centered, and pride themselves on providing rooms for busy workers. 


There are lots of amenities to choose from at a hotel, beginning with parking and including room service, hot breakfast, pools, fitness centers, and many others. Most hotels do not have all of these, more likely a combination of different amenities. Lots of them do have a TV and coffee maker though, which differs from a hostel. Hotels pride themselves on providing the best for their guests, and amenities are no exception. 

Also Read: Booking an Airbnb – How to Get the Best Experience

Large Price Range

Though hotels are usually more expensive than hostels, they come in a range of prices from relatively cheap to quite expensive. If you’re willing to pay money for a private room, then you shouldn’t have a problem finding a suitable hotel in a price range of your own choosing. Hotels also tend to cost more, just because you are the only person using the room and amenities, where in hostels the costs are split over multiple people. 

Best For:

  • Couples
  • Families/Large groups
  • Luxury Travelers
  • Relaxed Trips
  • Short-term Trips/Weekend Getaways


Hotels vs Hostels - Hostel Room
Credit: Marcus Loke

What is a Hostel?

Hostels are usually inexpensive lodging facilities that have dormitory-style rooms and can offer shared meals and planned activities. They are often geared towards younger travelers, but many have different types of atmospheres, such as more of a party hostel compared to a relaxation one.

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Key Elements of a Hostel

Communal Spaces

The main aspect about hostels is their community-like spaces. You will live in a room with a bunch of other people, sharing not only living quarters but bathrooms and kitchens as well. There are options to get a bed with privacy curtains or your own room, but most hostels use bunk beds to house their guests. This can be a great option for an outgoing traveler, but might be a little overwhelming to someone who stays to themselves. 

Budget Friendly

Since all of the amenities are shared, the prices for hostels are usually quite cheap compared to hotels. This allows travelers to stay longer, and still not spend as much. If you’re tight on money this is the perfect option because you can travel the world without breaking the bank. Though you should be aware that some hostels do not take payment in credit card, rather they operate on cash. The best thing to do is research the hostel you’re looking to book and figure out their payment options. 

Read More: What to Pack? A Complete Guide to the Right Clothes and Gear

More Personable

While hotels are more focused on providing you sleeping quarters and being a more “professional” place to stay, hostels are usually travelers just like you. They end up knowing a lot about the area and can provide maps or great locations to check out during your stay. Along with the staff, the other travelers staying in the hostel will also be quite friendly, as they are in the same position as you. This creates a rich environment perfect for making new friends and having a community to interact with. Though at times this can become overwhelming, it’s nice to have others looking out for you, especially if you are traveling alone. 

Best For:

  • Budget travelers
  • Backpackers
  • Long-term travelers
  • Party lovers
  • Solo/Gap Year travelers

Which is Better?

Hotels vs Hostels: What’s Best for the Solo Tourist?
Credit: Andrea Davis

In reality, it all comes down to what you prefer to live in and what you are comfortable with. Some people are more introverted or need time to work, so they might be more inclined to get a hotel room at a higher price. Others may love to hang out with new travelers and make friends, and not have a problem with living communally and will always choose a hostel. 

Check Out: 10 Ways to Be Safe While Staying at an Airbnb

Because there are so many options within each category, there is surely a space just for you that accommodates your social preferences as well as your needed amenities. 

Whichever option you choose, always make sure to research the best options using websites like or so your vacation will be the best it can be. 

Alexandria is a News Editor, writer, and reader of all things literature. She graduated from the State University of... More about Alexandria Wyckoff

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