Hostelling has been a really eye opener in my last three holidays and visits to Europe.
Sleeping in a dorm with seven other travellers, sharing facilities and space was certainly a shock to someone used to living in his own room. There was no way to feel comfortable if you did not socialise with the other travellers. However, the forced socialising brought real benefits of its own.
It’s inexpensive and unpretentious and forced me to adapt in a number of ways, which in turn, has allowed me to enjoy myself a great deal more, as Mike will explain to you in the video below.
Improved social confidence:
If you enjoy company and friendship, but feel slightly nervous away from the people you know, then hostels are a perfect stimulant for socialising. Anyone who is experienced in hostelling will tell you that the mutual dependence when it comes to living side by side with the aim of exploring a new city will bring people together common experiences and diverse backgrounds.
Once my first hostel holiday to Budapest was over I saw the benefits in my day-to-day life. For example, when I went for a training course at WordCamp Manchester 2017 I found that my networking was improved by the ability to strike up small talk and build up to more relevant topic-related conversation. This was because I felt comfortable that whatever reservations I had in attending this unfamiliar event alone were shared by many others who were there as well.
As an obsessive planner this is a very strange choice for someone like me. However, there’s no way to deny that the pleasure of the unexpected has been integral to my experience of hostels, especially if you meet someone who has been there a few days and can recommend things which you may not have heard about online or in your travel brochures. In Dublin, I had come to see the Guinness Storehouse and the Temple Bar district. But instead on the first day I went with two Venezuelan roommates to Croke Park, the spectacular 83,000 seat home of Ireland’s two largest native sports: Gaelic football and hurling.
I appreciate an authentic piece of local culture in any destination, and that visit to Croke Park gave me an insight into a unique Irish cultural tradition in one of the most historic and beautiful sporting venues in the world.
High quality of relationships:
Although you may only meet people in hostels for short periods of time I have found that people will go from 0 to 100 quite quickly. By this I mean that they will recognise your vulnerability as you recognise theirs. It is not an easy way to travel and the mutual struggle created a lot of empathy with other travellers in the cities where I visited. So people would be more willing to listen to your intimate concerns about your journey and I found that I genuinely wanted to get to know these people that I met.
Also, once you become comfortable with these people you will want to know as much about them in the short time that you are able to spend there. This means that the days will be more interesting and you might get further inspiration for travelling, especially if you are doing a sizable amount of travelling and you want to find places where you have contacts.