What Are Hostels Like? Are They Safe? My First Experience in Costa Rica & Philippines

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in a hostel while traveling, or you want to hear someone’s first experience, you’re in the right place. After following travel, blogs, and travel influencers for many years, I finally took the plunge and have gone on solo trips to countries while staying at hostels. The first country I went to is the Philippines, and the second was to Costa Rica. I’m writing this shortly after my trip to Costa Rica.

As you may expect, your mileage may vary. This is not a conclusion that all stores are like this. Obviously, the situation can vary depending on the country and type of hostel chosen. Let’s keep it positive in the comments, and I hope you find some value in this and have your own experiences or tips to share there.


Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in central America, so that may have something to do with it. But I felt pretty safe. It was my first time driving a rental car in a foreign country, and my drive from San Jose to La Fortuna was smooth. The roads were paved, scenic, and I found the tourist city of La Fortuna just fine.

As I discuss later, my hostel La Choza Inn was awesome and filled with a lot of young, college-age travelers who were solo or traveling in groups of two or three. Many were all-female. Based on the nomadic nature of the area, they would often bump into eachother in different hostels as they traveled. When asked, all of them said they never felt unsafe. Your mileage may vary, and it’s always good to be cautious, but I found that encouraging.

They were smart about it, so if there’s a place they heard wasn’t safe, like Jaco, they would avoid it. They’re really not “alone” because they bump into so many fellow female travelers at these hostels, which lets them move in groups, get tips, and even cook together.

In fact, I found many them less risk-averse than me. A group of Austrian men were eager to visit the couple bars and nightclubs in town to party. I wasn’t as sure about going out at night. However, walking the town with them and a few Americans, a Londoner, and a couple other people, I found the town and bars to be pretty safe. They were packed with 50/50 locals and international people, and I didn’t get into any issues, fights, or dangerous situations. In fact, the next night, a group of about four German women and their male friend begged me to go out with them again. The male friend would leave when we were dancing to go outside for food or a rest since it was draining dancing. He clearly felt completely safe leaving the girls to dance on their own or move on their own in the venue.

Both hostels I stayed in Costa Rica were gated. The first one, Costa Rica Backpackers, in San Jose had double gates to get in, security cameras on all major areas, and their parking garage had a locked door that the clerk would open for you. I felt pretty safe with that level of security. You had a camera trained on you when you rang the door bell. There was a homeless man up front begging for money, but I just gave him a little money, and that was that.

costa rica backpackers hostel

My second one in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, also had a full door gate. Young travelers are flowing in and out constantly, so there’s someone at the front 24/7 to buzz people in and out. Only people staying who flashed their wrist band were let in, no guests. You were also provided a key to your dorm room. I felt pretty safe there. Even though it was slightly sketchy outside when it was dark since there was nothing nearby, a two-minute walk would bring you to the city center or a brightly lit area. The vibe of everyone there was friendly, courteous, welcoming, comfortable from the fellow travelers to the employees to the locals, so I didn’t feel unsafe at all.

Just people still trying to figure it out

Part of me imagined that anyone traveling in a hostel for long periods has figured it out and achieved the dream of a profitable, remote job or business that fuels their love of travel. That they were in a different league from me. Yes, I know it’s a bit naïve because obviously, there’s also a lot of other possibilities. But that’s what I expected for some reason, and at least what I found in Costa Rica was A lot of people from countries all over the world just trying to travel with the resources in the situation they have. 

Many didn’t have it figured out. Instead, they were figuring it out so they traveled. They had savings. They were taking time off to figure out what job they wanted or to go back to school after university.

They were people who are just here for your standard vacation for a week or two. There are people with seasonal jobs in construction who are able to take off for 2 to 6 weeks at a time. There were people who had been let go from work, so they decided to take a gap year or gap month. There were others who were finishing their study abroad and decided to extend it for six more weeks so that they could live cheaply and cook for themselves and be with their classmates as they explored Costa Rica (these were Germans). He won’t know until you ask around and get their stories. Be social. Also, I found this whole revelation humbling. You don’t need to wait until you’ve made it somehow with some profitable business. Who knows how long that will take or if it ever will. Many of the people who were visiting, probably would love to have a remote job, but they don’t and I also found that heartwarming. There are people in between jobs or just sick of their boring hometown, and they just use the savings they had. 

I actually felt a little inspired and sad for them because the reality of the situation weren’t a group of people who had made it. There was a variety of people, some a little lost and young with their career,, some who had figured out a short hack to travel longer, and some who were clearly still struggling to figure out what career they wanted to do or where do you want me to focus in life. I felt most for the latter group. One young person said she worked in a retail job for many years, and she’s had a lot of our jobs, and she was planning to return and go to grad school for physical therapy. Another was just the college student who wanted to visit herself on her own. And another was similar, but just wanted to get out of her small town with nothing to do in Florida.

One thing that is a through line is that we all wanted to travel and experience the world. Obvious but so powerful.

If I didn’t go to a hostel, I would have never got into all the stories and perspectives. Well, I did also learn a lot from other people taking tours I purchased. Most of them were more well-off people who were staying at Airbnb or hotels with family and friends. So, their experiences were similar but more about vacationing with their partners or family later in life. It’s a bit of a different upscale vibe.

Once again, your only issue may be occasional homeless men if you appear a bit too friendly. I was pointed to a pelican on a tree in the town center, engaged in conversation, and then asked for money by one. I think I saw an American couple get roped into something similar, but they kept their distance, thanked the man, and walked away before the man could ask for money. Honestly, not a big deal to avoid them like this American couple if you really wanted to.

Demographic make up

If you’re looking for an international make up of fellow visitors to the country, this is the place. You’ll find locals outside as you walk around and explore. But a hospital will give you the community of people who are in a similar boat to you that you can socialize with.

While their make up obviously skews young, 18 to 35, there are older people here. I’ve seen the occasional resident here, who is 40 or 50+.

The countries these people will be coming from vary depending on the country you’re visiting. In Costa Rica, I got a lovely international mix, mostly people from Germany, Canada, Australia, Brittany, and the US.

You’ll find solo travelers, usually men, or groups of at least two women, or a group of several men and women. Those are most common, but there’s other groups there. There was an old gray haired man with a giant backpack who kept to himself in his room and on the couch. There was an older brown haired woman who did the same and revealed to me that she works at night because of the time zone differences, and the peace and quiet.

Usually the younger groups tend to socialize and intermingle quite naturally in the common area or lobby. But that’s completely optional. It’s up to you.

hostel in costa rica
Not everyone in the hostel were women. There just happened to be a group of women passing through the night I took this photo in the kitchen. Inspiring bunch. They are all from so many different countries and traveling on their own or in small groups. They formed a network and bonded at the hostel together, even cooked together to save money.


I was escorted to one of several dorm rooms when I checked in for my San Jose hospital. There was one bed left, and as soon as I entered, I smelled a stench. It was the smell of a man who sweated a lot, and didn’t shower and left that odor on the bed. It wasn’t a dealbreaker. If I had to, I would get through it, but That wasn’t pleasant at all, and even the clerk escorting me noticed the smell. He mentioned something quickly that I didn’t hear, probably some comment that he would get that fixed another day potentially.

As I went to the bathroom, and then back to my room, I found someone jumping into the bed that was assigned to me. I went back to the clerk and he apologized for the mistake. Seems like someone had taken my bed. I was half cheering inside because that meant no stinky bed.

So that’s one thing you wanna look out for. I was already kind of half expecting anything, so I wasn’t too surprised. A few years ago, I was watching a video by the blonde broad, who has extensively traveled the world. She admitted to eventually getting away from hostels, because someone took a shit in the bed above her one night. That eventually turned it off.

Now, hopefully, you and I won’t have to experience anything as crazy as that. But I guess my point is to expect some weirdness, especially when the prices aren’t that affordable.

As you see, with all my other points in this article, I still think that hostels are a must for anyone who wants to have a certain travel experience and are in a certain stage in their life. I’ve done the Airbnb, or fancy hotel thing and frankly, well, it’s cleaner and nicer, it can be pretty boring and lonely just staying there alone in your room, at least with someone like me who wants to be social and actually meet more people and hear their stories. If you opt for the hotel in life, as you might expect, I recommend doing it with family or friends. I’ve seen a lot of people do it that way, and that helps a bit with the social nature of things.

Anyhow, he escorted me to one of the last dorm rooms with an empty spot, which was usually an all girls dorm. I was already late at night, so everyone was quiet, and the lights were off. I quietly and politely climbed up to my upper bunk bed, pulled the shade covers, and felt fairly comfortable. Not a hostels are like this, but the entire wall on the left side of me was a mirror, so that was pretty cool. And then the bunk bed had curtains so that you can close them up and you’re essentially in your own sealed off private chamber. I’ve been in hostels without those curtains, and I prefer the curtains for a little more privacy.

Usually, each bunkbed has a power outlet right where you are sleeping, but it depends on the hostel and infrastructure.

There is some apparent and semi-occasional city noise, which made it a little difficult for me to fall asleep, but I soon got over and fell asleep. For me, it’s not that big a deal, and I was tired.

When I was in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, it was a different story. There was a bar and night club, right near the hostel, which meant that there was pumping music until about 2 AM The house that I stayed was within a two minute walk from the town center, which I really liked. But the noise definitely made it more difficult to sleep. Also, the beds were on the second floor right above the kitchen and open lounge area, which had several large tables for people to eat and chat. As you might expect, there is often a group of people chatting in an animated fashion late into the night (to about 11AM). The employees working at the hostel did try a few times to keep them quiet. It kind of worked, but kinda didn’t, because they would say yes but then they will get so caught up in conversation again that they would start talking enthusiastically.

I wonder if the noise from the nightclubs created a reason to make less noise in the rooms. I could be wrong about this theory, but my roommates usually weren’t a problem. They were all asleep by 11AM or at least trying, with the lights turned off, trying to ignore the club noise. The only problem I had was occasional rustling as someone went to retrieve something from their locker, take a shower, or one time when they got up early at about 6AM and decided they would turn on the lights for the whole room.

I actually ended up joining them in their conversations and went out with them because I figured I might as well join them and experience something new rather than just try and stick it out and try and fall asleep. I personally tried to whisper and keep it quiet. They were generally pretty open and welcoming to me. I would say, although quiet time started at 10, they were talking to 11 PM, or what time, midnight. Then they would go out.

When they came back from the clubs late at night around one or 2 PM, they would be quiet if they individually went back upstairs. That happened the first night. The second night, the group of Germans stuck together, and they started chatting and eating the leftovers in the fridge because they were still hungry. The employee running a hostel at night got pretty mad at them. I kept telling them to be quiet, and the kitchen was closed. But I don’t think they fully understood. They just moved some of their food back to the fridge, continued to eat, and whispered.

Out of the probably 30 to 50 people staying there, it’s probably only a small group that likes to stay up at night. I know because in the mornings at 7 AM when there’s a free breakfast, I see all the flights of other people that I didn’t see at night, which tells me that they were early to sleep in early to rise. Part of me feels that’s all right. So maybe I don’t have to be some late night partyer to be cool.

So long story short, it can get noisy, and there may be some partiers and charity people. But it’s maybe not as bad as I was expecting in my mind. Those loud people would still taper off by around 11 PM which isn’t terrible for my sleep schedule, they were in the minority, and they weren’t these distant, super cool, smooth nightlife people that I could relate to. They were just people who wanted to have a little fun and see what it’s like to go to a club or bar. When we were out, they were mostly just dancing and jumping up and down to music they liked, nothing crazy.

The costs

Probably one of the greatest benefits is the affordability. I got a really good breakfast included every morning with scrambled eggs, flavored beans and rice, toast and butter, and pineapple, fruit juice, and a banana. That’s included with lodging for about US$15 a night. That is insane. In the USA, I can expect to pay upwards of $50 USD a night for rent, no breakfast included. It was so low that I almost didn’t believe it, and thought it was a trick. My bunk bed was basic, and so was the bathroom and shower, but I didn’t mind. There was a beautiful open garden and kitchen area. Things were clean enough for me. 

If it wasn’t for the car rentals, Costa Rica would be dirt cheap, and so amazing. I’ve been told by others, some locals, that I want to car is a must, and give you the freedom and flexibility you need, Which is why I got it.

It turns out that a lot of the other people are staying there and just taking public transport. It’s lengthier and more arduous. Expect to spend one and a half or two times the time it takes to get to places in the car. You’ll be waiting a lot and have to show up on the schedule, but I hear that’s pretty cheap as well. Depending on your desire for convenience or call savings, it could be worth it rather than spending $100 a day on a rental. If I come back here, I’m seriously debating trying that public transit thing.

I met this beautiful modelesque Swedish girl and her sister. I expected her to be traveling in luxury but she said she was using public transit and it sucked for the reasons stated. She told me I shouldn’t have too much regret for taking a car, it’s easier.

Would I do more and how much?

I definitely feel like this won’t be the last time I try a hostel. The experience was unique and amazing.

I’m sure I would get sick of it after a while, probably sooner than later. I heard others complain about the taxing nature of hostels after a while. The longest I heard someone stay in one was one month, and he seemed to like them more than me. And even he admitted that he needed to ask for private rooms in the hostel just to get some peace and quiet.

I don’t think most people plan on staying in hostels for an extended period of time. While some could do it for a while, I don’t know how I would like to deal with the constant roll of the dice of daily turnover of roommates and their potential issues: snoring, partying, loudness, staying up, being rude, smelling badly, and so on. I think I got lucky so far, nothing terrible has happened, and I have had a decent time. I have met a couple people who have done longer dorm stays (a month or more) who requested a private room to get away from the dorm experience.

I think there’s a time and place where too much isolation or boredom leads to hostels being the perfect place to socialize and meet people. I work for home alone, so I was ready for a bit more socializing. But some of us want some people and quiet after a while.

If you took away the noise at night and potential unexpected negative experiences, which really didn’t happen that much or affect me too much, I could probably bear with it longer. But I can see myself wanting to jump back to my own private place after a couple weeks or sooner. 

Some part of me would want some peace and quiet, and there were certain ebbs of noise, talking, and socializing that you can’t avoid. And that’s totally OK to not always love hostels.

It’s a young soul’s game in a way. You can avoid the loud groups and be on your own but you may still hear them.

If you have the luxury of traveling for that long, you could do hostels until you were sick of them and then go to Airbnb‘s and hotels. And from what I can tell, very few of these travelers were doing an indefinite or really long extended stay. Therefore, things were fine. Most people there are likely coming out from the mindset of that this is a temporary lodging situation to them.

The social nature and noise of hostels probably varies by country and the infrastructure. Some of the Philippines hostels I stayed in didn’t have a lobby or living space area to socialize, a kitchen where the guests can cook their own food, or the only area for socializIng was the table area for ordering dinner at an extra cost. This reduced the lively socialization or noise that I saw flow up at 7 to 9AM, 6pm to 11pm in Costa Rica. Instead, the people in the Philippines were more in their own groups of one or two or three. You could socialize but you were more likely to have to go up to them. You wouldn’t get the large groups singing a song or anything.

How was the Philippines different?

I’ve been talking a lot about my time in Costa Rica. What about the Philippines?

I stayed in a hostel in Cebu, Boracay, and Bohol. I found that these lacked an infrastructure for a common, living room social area. This lead to less group social conversations, card games, and group cooking. Instead, my conversations with people were almost always one on one with someone near my bed, in passing, or in a dining area if they had one.

Bohol CoCo Farm was the amazing hostel I stayed in Bohol, but their common area was kind of more like a “you have to order food to sit at these tables” vibe, so it was a little less crowded. Sure, there were occasionally people who would sit there to charge their phone without ordering, but not as many. Any although I did bump into a similar international make-up of young people from places like Germany, I had to approach them much more often and they seemed a little less welcoming or willing to talk, though still friendly.

Despite all this, I still think there’s still a level of social nature to these things that you can’t get elsewhere. Even in the Philippines, I could not go through a hostel without someone talking to me even if I didn’t want to talk if I stayed there long enough. I think there’s a certain curiosity and social nature to hostels that I don’t always get even in social meetup.com groups or activities in the USA. I can definitely go some places in the USA without being talked to even if I want to be talked to.

The Philippines hostels also seemed a bit more spacious, especially when you got out of cities. Some had very open spaces or ceilings and a single level of bed rather than bunk beds. When I went into Cebu city, then, I encountered the standard 12 bunk beds stuffed in a room – that was the only hostel I didn’t like that much. It was good for sleep, quiet, and not much else; the bathroom was dirty, the shower was broken, and the window was cracked.

If I had to choose, Costa Rica had better hostel experiences because of the social nature and well-decorated infrastructure, though both provided similar vibes.

Better countries or places for hostels

The places in Costa Rica I visited seemed to be more geared towards 2 to 4 days of tours or vacation. Hence, you may arrive and meet someone who has already been there for two days and this is their last day. So there’s a lot of turnover. I feel like I would like it more in a country where  people stay for longer periods, like two weeks to eight weeks. That way I can bond with them more. I’m sure there’s some country like that. Let me know in the comments. I think I would like that more because I sometimes start to bond with certain people and then they have to leave for the next destination. That said, the upside is that if you don’t like someone, you can rest assured they’ll be gone soon.

If I like someone, I don’t like someone, I can take the time to connect with the ones I know and form a deeper relationship. And hang out with them more. But I would say most of the people here have a high turnover, in and out situation, unless they are in a group together that are visiting for a long time. Those groups do exist here too, like a group of Germans and Austrians I met.

While some may thrive or enjoy this hi and bye situation, I think it’s maybe a tad too much of a “I’ll never see you again” or I’m just here briefly to go on my tours vibe. That may just be my opinion. I met some cool people I clicked with when we just spent a few hours playing cards one night, but then, they had to wake up and leave the next morning. Now the ones I don’t connect with, I can care less. But the ones I do, it is nice to hang around them longer. I’m sure there’s some other country where longer stays are more common. I wonder if there’s some way I can replicate this social vibe in the USA, and the closet I can think are USA hostels or some type of hobby meetup club or rec sports club. 

Variance by infrastructure 

I would venture to argue that the culture of a hostel has a lot to do with its infrastructure.  The one in San Juan only had an open lounge area that was open to the sky that had a pool in the center. The seats were far apart and there were many people in the lounge during the day, it wasn’t conducive to chatting much at night. Hence, I felt like people were all just ready to go to sleep, and it didn’t have too much human noise.In La Fortuna, they literally had a built-in common area for chatting and tables, which lent itself to some people over talking when others were trying to sleep, and staying up a little too late.


Wherever I go, I usually have to approach since I don’t get approached often. And if I do approach, I don’t always know how warm and welcoming people will be. Hostels have generally been great for socializing for me. People are often from different places and welcoming if you want to join them for a talk or card game or whatever else they are doing.

I also do get approached first on occasion. People are social here if you open yourself and hang around the social areas. You could also be isolated and keep yourself to yourself in the corner on your phone, which I have seen. But why do that? It’s almost crippling yourself.

I was nervous and scared of rejection for a moment or two, so I can understand keeping to yourself. However, I figured I am here to socialize, learn people’s stories, not to hide away and be a recluse. Although I didn’t approach with the most confidence and other shy people approached after, we were welcomed. 

This situation is one of those choose your own adventure scenarios because there are people who just walk through and choose to not stay in the social areas or only go there for food and water. There are people who are there one day, and decide to just briefly stop by another day. 

I figure the worst they can say is no. And if you’re respectful, they will be too. I asked a German group what card game they were playing. If they didn’t want me, they could’ve just gave an answer and left but they invited me to join and I ended up hanging out with them for a few hours and then we went out to a bar/club after.

There was definitely one man from the USA I met at a Costa Rica hostel in La Fortuna that was trying to be super social. I felt like he wanted to make the most of his two week vacation, so he was being overly social to every person he met, trying to join and converse with everyone in the area. He was quick to approach me and then leave if he was done with the conversation. All the more power to him. While it was a little much for me, I can see how exotic, international, and short-lived that experience would be since he’d be returning back to something mundane or repetitive for the rest of his working year, so I can see why he more of this free, I will never see you again, lively personality. He wasn’t doing anything offensive; he may have just been expressing himself more honestly. He was pretty good at talking.

The magic of a social, welcoming hostel lounge and slow days

I forced myself to hang around the kitchen and open table area from around 6 to 10pm on nights. That was clearly where socializing and groups formed. I would sometimes feel awkward alone, so I would charge my phone while standing near a heightened table/bar area. On occasion, I would summon up the courage to chime in to a conversation nearby if I heard something I could add value to. And sometimes, I would walk up and talk to groups, introduce myself, or ask what card game they were playing or how they knew each other.

I felt awkward in moments because sometimes, the groups were cooking or keeping to themselves or they were mostly or all females. I was doing a bit more than others who sometimes didn’t even enter the lounge that day. But I told myself, might as well try. I tried not to just stand awkwardly doing nothing before an approach near them too often and just go to my phone again if it didn’t work and approach quickly.

The beauty of the experience is that people were more welcoming and friendly than I am used to, and it often worked.

I was invited to play various card games, including an American one, a Canadian one (Golf), and an international one (this one was with Germans). I was invited to play a game called Tinderblox where it is basically Jenga but with building blocks that build a mock fire. It all came from going up to a group and initiating something. Sometimes, it was something small like chiming in to give tips to a place I had been or asking about where they had visited or where they were from. This morphed into a longer conversation or sometimes they would come back later and invite me to a game. One person even invited the group to watch her see someone else get tattooed.

One time, I was just on my phone and a woman from a large group of women invited me to eat watermelons with the group. It was a very kind and welcoming thing that I appreciated. We ended up going around in a circle playing this quiz game where we describe our favorite color, animal, and type of water and why, which was then broken down into what our sexuality is like and what we want our partners to be.

Coming from a childhood where I wasn’t always that welcomed or had many friends in school, I really felt this was so appreciated and that this was one of the warmest, most welcoming places I had experienced.

Now, there are some slow days. That is, there was one day where I could see the writing on the wall. There was barely anyone in the kitchen and dining area. That day, I called it quits and just went to bed a bit early. That’s totally fine. Don’t beat yourself up about that. Let things unfold naturally. There are plenty of people who are content with their travels and just see this as a resting stop so they go on tours or adventures in the day and then they crash and go to sleep here, not trying to socialize much in the common area.

Out of the dozens of people I met, no one was mean, didn’t like me, held a grudge, rude, or anything like that. Perhaps, the travel puts people in a better mood or I got lucky. Maybe some didn’t like me as much, it’s hard to tell, and they didn’t talk as much to me. And that’s okay. 

My final thoughts

My stay in hostels was a magical experience, though, not a perfect one. There are obvious trade-offs like loud music from a nearby club or the city or young people chatting that keep you up. There are benefits in place of that, including incredible affordability and a unique avenue of meeting young people in a similar boat as you. 

I still overall enjoyed it, and definitely would do it again because it just gave me such a unique experience. The infrastructure is conducive and open, which leads to an easy avenue to meet fellow young people who love to travel who are so warm and welcoming. I met so many people of different backgrounds and stories that I wouldn’t have met elsewhere. La Choza Inn in Costa Rica was one hostel that lead to some of the most welcoming, warm, friendliest, unique experiences I’ve had. I miss it, though I couldn’t do it forever, which is why it’s almost designed for a high turnover, backpacker tourist culture. I hope to find other places that embody a similar vibe at home or in the future of my travels because it lets me meet unique people in interesting ways. 

I also got a unique experience, interacting and learning from all these people of different countries and cultures that I won’t have. You might be thinking, well, you’re from the US, don’t you get a huge confluence of cultures and nationalities there as well? You do, but not in the same way, and not from these countries. Even though I’ve lived for a bit in DC, Miami, New York City, I rarely bump into a German, and if they are, they are usually German-American. Yeah here, I’m able to interact for hours with a group of young Germans, while we play cards, small talk, and go out. On the same thing, it was for many other nationalities, like Australian. In the US, it depends on the region, but there is often Latin influence, Asian influence, and some random groups like Ethiopian in DC, but you sometimes have to search them out to find them.

And to build off that, I think it’s reminded me that the USA is just a small portion of the world. And there’s also which of other cultures, people, ways of thinking. It’s helped me take myself out of that small minded view that the USA is the world. Heck, if things don’t work out in the USA, I can always move somewhere else potentially where the people are friendlier or more open minded, and the climate is better.

I am so glad that I chose hostels instead of a typical Airbnb or hotel experience that I was very much considering. Not only is it much more affordable, the facilities aren’t too bad, and it’s allowed me to meet so many people and stay in touch with some on social media. I recommend it if you have never tried it. Try hostelworld.com to find hostels with good reviews.

Final advice

Choose a place with high ratings on hostelworld.com so you can avoid a lot of the potential downsides of a hostel experience, like loud noise, bad roommates, or smells. Be prepared for them even when you book, because you never know with hostels. Expert the chance of certain things with hostels, like rude roommates, loud noise, bad bathrooms. I was fortunate enough to not experience that much of this, but you can’t be surprised when it happens to you. Likely, it won’t happen often, especially if you choose a good one.

Try them out, especially if you’re young. It could be a unique, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience that can teach you a lot about the world and people, while forging memories.

Choose a hostel with the right infrastructure that allows for socializing if you want to socialize. Try and be more social and hang around these areas. I forced myself to hang around these areas more than other people, and it paid off some of the times. Expect people to bring cards or other social activities here because they’re sometimes expecting to socialize in their time here. If you go to the right hostel, meet the right crowd, on the right night, you can forge some good friendships or discussions. I have a few cool memories, including one night where we played this game of revealing secrets to each other, which got more and more sexual in nature! That was unique. Another time, I played numerous card games from all over the globe.

Do you research and feel safe because there are plenty of safe hostels. Don’t fall into the limiting belief that they’re all dangerous.

Stay in touch with people you really connect with. Yes, it’s sad that you’ll probably never see many again. But you never know! Perhaps, that person will be your friend and resource when you’re traveling to their country or you bump into eachother in the most unexpected way in the future. Or you even become long-term friends!

Let me know if you have any other tips or stories about hostels from other countries because I want to learn more myself and so does our community!

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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.

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