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What is a Hostel?

Hobo Travel Tips
By Andy the HoboTraveler.Com

ISSUE:  060
DATE:  March 06, 2002
TIP:  What is a Hostel?
LOCATION:  Arequipa, Peru

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Dorm beds?
Heavens NO


Good conversation and fun.?
For sure.

Antonio from the Netherlands said,
“A place where you get stuck”

I ask a friend, a world traveler, and guidebook writer
for his definition of a Hostel. I think it is clear and
correct in spirit.


A hostel is a place where people from all around the world will go
to find an inexpensive but friendly night's accommodation.
The hostel's warden, or caretaker, will often require their guests
to perform a small chore to help with the upkeep. They often
provide kitchen and lounge facilities where international travelers
will gather around to share a meal or a story. Accommodations
are very basic, not always private, and can be as minimal as a
bed and pillow without bedding.

I don't know if there really are any musts to a hostel these days
as the distinction between a guest house and hostel have
definitely been blurred. For me, to be a true hostel, you
should provide kitchen facilities.

Michael Koeppel
bureaucrat, writer, photographer, traveller


As a person that has traveled for years
I have struggle with this question:
“What is a Hostel?”

I like to think in bottom lines. I never feel I can explain something
correctly until I can say it in one sentence. The task of
explaining a hostel in one sentence has alluded me for years.
But I am ready for the task. Here goes...

“A bed, kitchen, and a common room filled with the
conversation of travelers that makes it difficult to
leave because you feel you have arrived home.”

My goal as I travel is to find this place in each city. It doubles
the enjoyment of the city, and I leave with lots of friends. I have
lived in places where the owner despised travelers and they
place was dirty and difficult. But by some stroke of luck they
provided these three things for the traveler. They place
could becAme very popular in spite of the owner.

If you are planning to backpack the world,
and plan on being away from home for over a few weeks.
There will come a time when you would either like to
go home or have some friends around. A good hostel
will provide this. And like your home, you will receive
the help and advice of friends to guide you on your
travels when you leave.

I could name 100’s of words for places to sleep.
The goal is to find a place that is safe, friendly,
and provides the services that you need. If you
remember to search for the place that has:

1. A cheap bed.
2. A kitchen free to use by the guest.
3. A common area filled with travelers talking.

You will enjoy your trip.

I have stayed in a few places that are part of Hostel
organizations. I had to pay a couple dollars more because
I was not a member. I am not a big fan of these organizations
but they are helpful and do provide guidance. But if you
stay in these Hostel listed in their books you will miss out
on some of the best places in the world. There are small family run
hotels that you will remember for the rest of your life,
that are not in the guidebook, not a member of an organization,
just a great place to live.

I have created a new webpage to list places that provide:

1. A cheap bed.
2. A kitchen free to use by the guest.
3. A common area filled with travelers talking.

These places are not my choices or a guidebook writers choice,
but the favorites as provided by the visitors to the webpage.
The do not need a webpage, or speak English, they
do not need listed in the guidebooks. They should be
a places you call your:
“Home away from home.”

Please submit your favorites:


Andy was here.    X

Hobo’s mark your locations so we remember.
Have fun! Life is Good!

As always, these are suggestions. Please realize I am
giving guidance, and there are always other opinions.
“One mans paradise, is another mans hell”
This way we do not all go to the same place.

Article written by Andy the
On year 4 of Hobo trip around the world.
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