Sydney’s YHA has fantastic views over Sydney Harbour
Staying in hostels in Australia
Australia has many hostels with some of them being in highly sought after locations such as at famous beaches, in the outback, on tropical islands, in the ski fields and in the major cities and towns. You can easily see the extent of them if you visit booking sites such as HostelWorld.
I wish I could say the days of dodgy, dirty and dingy dwellings has disappeared but I can’t however, on say that, many hostels nowadays are in buildings with lots of character or have been purpose built. They are also usually near public transport making it easy for you to get around. I do think things have improved because hostels now are offering many services to get the traveller in. These include free wifi, coffee shops, restaurants and bars, air-conditioning and heating, pools and sometimes a free weekly BBQ. Most have a communal kitchen, lounge area and a laundry. And for these reasons many people stay in hostels as they travel Australia, not only overseas visitors but Australians themselves.
Staying in hostels in Australia is an experience, particularly if you haven’t stayed in one before. Although there are many positives to staying in a hostel as I’ve just mentioned there are also some negatives. Here is my take on it.
Sharing makes it cheaper
Hostels are able to offer affordable (or cheap) accommodation because you have to share a room with others. You will find the number of beds in a bedroom or dorm (dormitory) can range from 4, 6, 8 or sometimes more people. Some dorms can be same-sex while others can be mixed dorms. The more in the room the cheaper it can be. Also, beds are mostly bunk beds of varying quality. For those travelling in pairs or with a family some hostels have twin, double and family rooms. I would compare what is available on booking sites such as HostelWorld. I have found hostels this way a number of times.
Dorm living is an experience if you aren’t use to it. Get ready for no privacy. Be prepared for people changing in front of you, those coming in late (and possibly drunk), those getting up early to catch transport or to go to work, lights being switched on and even bonkers. The worst to have in your room are snorers. I had a friend who always seemed to get a snorer in his dorm. With lack of sleep he became crankier and crankier and so he decided to pay a few dollars more and stay in a cheap motel. Also, always staying in dorms can lead you to not eating very well as you only have access to a limited kitchen. And even though it is great to go out to eat this can dwindle your savings. From staying in dorms I have written an e-cookbook, Travellers Fare – Fast & Fabulous Meals for Travellers to help you make quick and cheap meals to keep you healthier while staying in hostels.
Choosing a hostel
As I mentioned hostels are offering a lot of services so you will choose them to stay in. Before you commit to one ensure you are happy with what you are choosing. Have in your mind the things you want out of your hostel. If you want it to be as cheap as possible then choose that hostel. However, ask yourself what are you wanting? Do you want a bed in a 4-bed or a 12-bed dorm? What about being in a same-sex or mixed-sex dorm? Do you want a hostel with lots of services, ie. free wi-fi, coffee shop, pool, etc? Does the room have individual lights above beds or a lockable locker to keep my things safe in? Are you wanting a party hostel or a quiet one cause you need to get up for work the next morning? Think about these things before you book one. Looking at what is available on booking sites like HostelWorld will provide a lot of information and allow you to compare and then book what suits you and your budget.
Staying in hostels in Australia
Not everyone is suited to staying in a hostel no matter what services or fantastic location it is in. However, if you can put up with living in close proximity with other people you just might meet some great friends!