Hostel vs. Hotel: Why Redditors Are Ditching Hostels and Airbnbs for Hotels

Young Backpackers In Hostel


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Beds in hostel room

Hostel Takeover

When it comes to travel accommodations, deciding between a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb can be a big decision. If you've traveled to Europe, you're likely already familiar with hostels (or, if you've seen the film series "Hostel," terrified of them). Typically known as dorm-style rooms that are shared with other people, hostels have traditionally been cheaper than hotels, and can provide great opportunities for meeting other travelers on the fly. 

However, as hostels and Airbnb listings jack up prices to keep up with inflation and the rising costs of living, a growing number of Redditors are opting to book hotels over hostels. We did a deep dive to find out why. 

Related: Enchanting Historic Hotels in Every State

Suitcase delivered standing in hotel room. concept of Hotel service and travel

Hotels Can Be Cheaper

As pandemic restrictions increasingly loosen and more people get the itch to travel, the demand for budget accommodations has grown. According to many users on the r/Shoestring subreddit, hostels are no longer the cheapest lodging options in 2023. "Long-time traveler here. Hostels were once cheap," writes one Redditor, adding, "Years ago, ten dollars per night for a hostel bed was pretty typical in Europe, even in big, famous cities. Times have changed. For the worse." 

Another writes, "Yeah, I was in Rome and Florence in April and July last year. Single bed hotels were about $20 cheaper both times in both cities. I stayed in the crazy nice parts too!" 

Related: How to Start a Profitable Airbnb Business

Business people checking-in at hotel reception desk

Hotels Offer Privacy

Unlike hostels — which typically require travelers to share rooms and showers — hotels offer private rooms and bathrooms. This means guests don't have to share their living space with strangers, and can instead enjoy a sense of privacy and peace of mind. While many travelers (especially younger ones) choose hostels for the social aspect, hotels provide a level of comfort and luxury that can make a trip more enjoyable. 

"If you're traveling with a partner/spouse, it's almost always worth it to split a hotel room rather than pay the same price for a bunk bed in a room with ten people," one commenter writes.

Fresh white bedclothes and towels on bed

You Don't Have To Clean Up After Yourself

One of the key benefits of staying in a hotel is not having to worry about cleaning up. Unlike Airbnbs and other short-term listings that often have a laundry list of check-out instructions (despite charging a cleaning fee), hotels have staff that take care of everything from making the bed to tidying up the room. In short: You don't have to stress about doing all the dishes and taking out the trash before checking out. "I’ve been screwed too many times by Airbnb, so I will not use them again," one Redditor writes.

Family in luxurious hotel.

Hotels Usually Offer Cleaner and Safer Stays

Generally, hotels will offer a higher quality stay than hostels in terms of cleanliness and safety. Since hotels typically have higher safety standards and more extensive cleaning procedures compared to hostels, this means rooms and common areas are kept clean and routinely sanitized to maintain good air quality and minimize the spread of germs. Hotels will usually also be equipped with more security features, such as keycard access, 24/7 front desk staff, and CCTV cameras to ensure the safety of guests and their belongings. 

When staying at a hotel, your likelihood of encountering shenanigans is also minimized: "I'm no stranger to having food stolen, seeing nudists exercise their rights in mixed dorms, hour-long showers, snoring disorders, etc," one user writes about their experience staying at youth hostels. Yikes! 

3d rendering,3d illustration, Interior Scene and  Mockup,interior render bedroom modern style,decorate the headboard.

Comfort Above All

Since hotels usually provide high-quality bedding, pillows, and towels, you can expect a higher level of comfort and relaxation when staying at one. Hotels typically also provide amenities such as room service, laundry service, and fitness centers that are often not available in hostels, or may be limited in scope. 

"I'm always blown away by how easy it would be to update some hostel with decent amenities/infrastructure," another user writes, adding, "I get [that] not every hostel can have the most comfortable beds, but privacy screens that actually give you privacy in a shared space doesn't seem that hard." 

Many shampoo and soap bottles on a bathroom shelf.

Forgot Toiletries? Don't Sweat It

Since hotels often provide a range of complimentary essentials such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors, toothbrush, and toothpaste, you don't have to stress if you forgot to pack any toiletries. While some hostels may also offer basic toiletries, the options can be limited and of lower quality, and many may not have a 24/7 front desk like hotels do. 

"Stayed in Dublin, a dude comes in at like 1am, turns on lights, and then proceeds to ask in full volume if he can borrow any of our towels and soaps for a shower," one Redditor writes. Don't be like Dublin dude — just avoid all that hassle and stay in a hotel.