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Why Hostels Are a Traveler's Gift

A place where you'll find a touch of the entire world.

By: Tiffany Young + Save to a List

When you're on the road, sometimes you sleep in tents, sometimes you sleep in cars, and sometimes you'll be lucky enough to sleep on a bed in a hut. But some of my favorite beds have been the ones calling for me from cheap hostels.

Finding comfort in a room with 4 people (or more) and sharing a kitchen with 5 different dishes being cooked up doesn't always suit everyone. So not all would rank this kind of living "5-stars", but that's why it's special. It brings together the people who are looking for the world under one roof. As some of the more affordable forms of shelter for travelers on a budget who want to experience the most out of where they are, hostels are truly a gift.

Atlantis Backpackers - BBH in Picton, South Island, New Zealand. Personally, one of my favorite hostels. I wish I had taken more photos. This home is a story itself with painted collages on the walls by visitors, pins on a map of where travelers came from, and items leftover from around the world. Also, in the best way possible, the staff could talk your ears off.

It's nice staying in a private room with a flat screen TV, king size bed, and personal bathroom, but sharing a space and getting to know the travelers, owners, and the staff from all over the world makes the experience much more personal.

To this day, I'll never forget the night where our room of 8 strangers partied all night in Auckland or walking out the back door to the beach at Coromandel or the many friendly conversations and advice I received from seasoned travelers during dinner time. Something about hostels just naturally makes you feel more keen to lay on a bean bag under a little bit of shade as the staff plays a little reggae.

Sunset from our room at Fox Glacier Inn & Pod Hostel in Fox Glacier, South Island, New Zealand. Fox Glacier is a very small town, so from a previous trip I have also stayed in the hostel right next door called Ivory Towers Backpackers Lodge...fire place and hot tube included, you can't go wrong ūüėČ

There is no "proper" way to enjoy a hostel (except for the common etiquettes i.e. clean up after yourself, don't steal, and shoot a nice smile when you can.) Go in with a very open mind. Share stories and advice. Listen hard. And thank your host and staff.

Don't worry, for half the price and the right find -- the views can still be incredible.

YHA Wanaka Backpackers in Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand for a weekend ski trip on Treble Cone. My first time boarding down an entire mountain...ask me about my bruise.

PRO TIP: One of the main things I learned from staying at a hostel is that you can't choose where you stay by judging the photos. Put into consideration, location, price, and what you need. As long as the sheets are fresh and the toilets are clean, you can make a very good living out of a quaint home that is there to welcome you.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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