What is the difference between hostels and hotels?


There is only one letter of difference, but make no mistake: hotels and hostels are very different travel experiences!

There is so much to consider when choosing a place to stay on your next vacation. It should be within your price range and within a reasonable distance of your desired travel activities, and you should also watch out for those signs that you are staying at a bad hotel. You even have more than one option when it comes to types of hotels. With the growing popularity of hostels, you might have wondered if a hostel is the right choice for your next trip and what exactly is the difference between a hostel and a hotel, anyway?


First of all, hotels have been around much longer. Hotels, as we know them, came into being during the 16th century. The word comes from French Hotel. The concept of the inn is much more recent. The terms “hostel” and “hostel” are often used interchangeably, as hostels were first created with students in mind. A German elementary school teacher named Richard Shirrmann, living and teaching in the early 1900s, believed his students needed a designated place to stay during overnight excursions.


The origins of hostels as accommodation for young people continue until today. The hostel scene is aimed particularly at the youngest (but certainly not as young as elementary school students). Backpackers and college-aged explorers make up a large portion of their clientele. Youth hostels cater to them both with their prices – youth hostels are much more economical than most hotels – and their general environment. Hostels often present themselves as very social places, where you can meet other travelers from all over the world. They also generally have a very relaxed environment.

And it can be positive or negative, depending on your preferences. Hostels usually have a lounge where you can spend time with your fellow travelers. On the other hand, however, you probably won’t have your own room in a hostel, and you almost certainly won’t have your own bathroom. Hostels often have four to 20 beds in a single room, usually arranged in bunk beds. You will probably also do the dishes in a community bathroom down the hall, comparable to living in a college dormitory.

Hotels, on the other hand, are often more luxurious and much more private. You and your travel companion (s) may have rooms to yourself, with an in-room bathroom, and you are more likely to meet guests of all ages (depending on hotel cost and location). atmosphere of where you are on vacation, of course).

TripSavvy also points out that hostels are often smaller businesses, with more down-to-earth staff and management. This can provide a stark contrast after staying at many chain hotels. Although, admittedly, hotel chains are often among the hotels with the best customer service.


Step into a hotel room, and you’ll usually find toiletries waiting for you, along with clean towels, a mini-fridge, and maybe a bathrobe or hairdryer. As technology has evolved, you will also likely find a TV with a plethora of channels and maybe even Smart TV capabilities. Hostels, however, generally don’t provide “extras” like these (hence their lower costs). Their sitting area can have a TV and possibly table games. Hostels also usually have a kitchen in case you want to cook for yourself. Lack of amenities can be a good thing though, as it means hostels pay less attention to the ‘stuff’ and more to the customers themselves.

A similarity between the two? Hotels and inns are usually located in or very close to travel destinations, unlike motels, which are often located right by the roadside, meant to be an overnight stopover on a trip. Learn more about the differences between hotels and motels here. But while hotels try to be a part of your travel experience, with things like pools, bars, and shows, hostels often don’t have much to offer in terms of on-site recreation. But hostels could sponsor events, such as parties or tours, in the destination city. And both will be filled with useful information on things to do in the area.