Youth hostels, once considered a budget-friendly option for backpackers and budget-conscious travellers, have come a long way since their inception in the early 20th century. Along with the hype surrounding luxury hotels and resorts came the demise of youth hostelling decades ago.
But now, they are experiencing a resurg
ence in popularity. From humble beginnings as a way for young people to travel affordably, these backpacker hostels have evolved to cater to people of all budgets, whether they are going on holiday, on an adventure, or spend a night or two while visiting a friend.
In this article, we will explore youth hostels and take a closer look at what makes them such a popular choice for budget-conscious people. This will help you discover all you need to know to make the most of your youth hostel experience.
What is a youth hostel?
A youth hostel is a type of budget accommodation that is typically geared towards backpackers and other budget-conscious voyagers. Non-profit organizations often run these, and they typically provide basic lodging at a low cost. This can include dormitory-style rooms with shared bathrooms, as well as private rooms for couples or small groups, especially those on holiday. Several of these properties also have communal areas such as kitchens, lounges, and gardens where people can socialize and exchange travel tips.
What Differentiates Youth Hostels from Other Traditional Hostels?
When it comes to budget-friendly accommodation options, youth hostels and traditional hostels are often grouped together. But while they may share some similarities, there are distinct differences that set them apart.
Primarily caters towards the younger demographic
First, youth hostels are typically geared towards a younger crowd. They often emphasize communal living spaces, such as shared dormitories, which can make them perfect for young solo travellers or groups of friends who can rent out a whole hostel room and looking to meet new people, have a great adventure, and make connections. Traditional hostels, on the other hand, tend to be more focused on providing basic accommodation for voyagers of all ages.
High social consciousness
Non-profit organizations often run these hostels, and they typically have a more socially conscious approach than other types of hostels. This can include environmental and sustainable initiatives, as well as community outreach programs.
More laid-back atmosphere
Another key difference is the atmosphere. Youth hostels often have a more social and laid-back vibe, with communal areas for activities like games and movie nights. This can make them feel more like a home away from home rather than just a place to lay your head at night. Traditional hostels, by contrast, can be more schoollike or businesslike, with fewer extras and resources to play around with.
Smaller and intimate settings
Youth hostels have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for visitors to have a more authentic and unique experience. They are usually smaller and more intimate than traditional accomodations, and they often have more personality and character.
They also tend to offer facilities for self-catering, which can be a great option for guests looking to cook their meals and look after themselves
Focused on outdoor activities like in Lake District
Finally, they often have a more outdoor focus, making them a great option for travellers interested in going on activities like hiking, night camping, and exploring the great outdoors. They may have more outdoor spaces and equipment for these activities and may be located in areas with a lot of natural beauty.
The History and Evolution of Youth Hostels
Youth hostelling can be traced back to the early 20th century when a German teacher named Richard Schirrmann had the idea to create a network of accommodations for young people to stay in while exploring the great outdoors. In 1912, Schirrmann opened the first youth hostel in his school in Altena, Germany. Next, in 1919, Schirrmann established the German Youth Hostel Association, and the concept quickly spread across Europe.
During the 1920s and 1930s, they were popular among young people as a way to travel and explore new places on a budget. Some even agreed to assist with chores as a form of payment. The youth who stayed at these accommodations were supposed to develop resilience and self-reliance by experiencing different ways of life and contributing to the hostel’s upkeep.
Many lodgings were in beautiful places like the countryside, by lakes, and in the mountains, which made them popular with hikers and people who like being outside. The Lake District in England, for example, was a popular destination for youth hostellers.
After World War II, hotels and other places to stay became more common, and youth hostels lost some of their popularity. However, the 1960s and 1970s saw a resurgence in interest in youth hostelling as a new generation of travellers sought affordable and adventurous ways to explore the world. London, Scotland, and Wales, in Britain for instance, became popular destinations for youth hostellers who are coming for the holidays.
In the 1980s and 1990s, they evolved to include more modern amenities, such as kitchens and private rooms. This made them more appealing to a wider range of people, including families with kids and older backpackers. Scotland, with its natural beauty and stunning landscapes, became a popular adventure destination for youth hostellers.
Today, youth hostels are more popular than ever, with many popping up in popular destinations worldwide. Some of the most popular ones are located in Pembrokeshire, Wales, offering stunning views of the coast and the surrounding countryside. The hostel is a great base for exploring the area, whether you’re interested in hiking, fishing, or simply taking in the beautiful scenery in the day or night.
Overall, the development of youth hostels is a rich and interesting story that shows how travel and accommodations have changed over the past century.
With so many options available in popular destinations such as the Lake District, London, Wales, Scotland, and Pembrokeshire, the future of youth hostelling is brighter than ever for travellers of all ages.
The benefits of staying in a youth hostel
There are many things you can get out of staying in a youth hostel. Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a trip with your pals, or a solo journey in the summer months, these lodgings offer a unique and memorable accommodation experience. Here are just a few of the many benefits you’ll get from staying in a youth hostel:
A youth hostel offer budget-friendly accommodation options that are perfect for people on a budget. Whether you’re a student, a backpacker, or a family, you’ll be able to find a youth hostel that’s not bank-breaking.
These lodges are often found in some of the most popular places in the world. In and around the UK, for example, you’ll find some great youth hostels in London, the Lake District, Wales, Scotland, and Pembrokeshire. With them, you’ll be one step closer or a walking distance away from exploring the great outdoors, discovering new cultures, go to lovely shops, and creating lasting memories with friends and family.
Many youth hostels offer self-catering provisions, such as kitchens and dining areas. It means you can prepare your meals and save money on restaurant food costs. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with others over a home-cooked meal.
Several youth hostels are independent, meaning local communities or not-for-profit organisations run them. This helps to support those communities and promote sustainable tourism.
Meeting new people
Staying in a youth hostel is a great way to meet new people from all over the world and experience their culture. Several youth hostels have common areas, such as lounges and dining rooms, where you can socialise and make new friends.
Discovering new places
They can be located in towns and cities, as well as the countryside, which means that you can visit new places and discover new cultures. Whether you’re hiking in the Lake District, visiting castles in Wales, or taking a walk around the coast in Cornwall, there’s always something new to discover when staying in a youth hostel.
Learning about historical records
There is usually a rich history associated with youth hostels and many of them are located in historically significant buildings. This allows people to learn about the history and culture of the towns they visit.
They usually have family hostel rooms and structures for children, such as play areas and games rooms. This makes them an excellent option for families on vacation.
Perfect for solo voyagers
Youth hostels are also a great accommodation option for people taking a solo tour. They provide a safe and welcoming environment to meet new people, make friends, and enjoy the culture.
This is also one of the great things about these properties. They offer flexible check-in and check-out times, which can be a great option for people who want to make the most of their holidays. You can also book whole hostel rooms if you’d be going in a large number
How to Find and Book a Youth Hostel Online
Finding and booking a youth hostel online has never been easier. With the rise of digital platforms and online booking systems, people can easily search for and book youth hostels from the comfort of their own homes. Here are a few tips on how to find and book a youth hostel online.
Find youth hostel websites
Start by researching different youth hostel websites in the city you want to visit, such as YHA and Hostelling International. These websites have a wide range of youth hostels available across the globe. Each website has a search filter to help you find the right hostel for your trip. You can filter by location, price, amenities, and more.
You can also visit popular travel search engines like Google and TripAdvisor to discover youth hostels in the town or city you want to go. Just type in the name of the destination, followed by the word “youth hostel,” and you will get a list of available hostels.
Book your stay
Once you have found a youth hostel in the country that meets your needs, make sure to book direct for the best rates and availability. Many youth hostels offer online booking directly through their website, which is the quickest and most efficient way to book. Some properties also offer the option to book through third-party booking sites like Booking.com.
When booking your stay, pay attention to the details of your booking, such as the number of nights, the dates of your stay, and any additional services you may need. Also, read the youth hostel’s cancellation policy before finalising your booking.
Another option to find and book a youth hostel is to contact the hostel directly, either by phone or email and book direct with them. This can be a great way to get more information about the hostel, ask any questions you may have, and also get a sense of the hostel’s personality and atmosphere.
When booking a youth hostel, remember that many hostels fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons and holidays. Hence, it is always a good idea to book and pay as early as possible.
So, ready to book your youth hostel?
While you might be used to hotels and Airbnb, going for youth hostels gives you a unique housing option for your next visit. They have a rich history and have evolved to meet the changing needs of tourists.
With several great locations in UK cities and towns like London, the Lake District, Wales, Scotland, North Wales, Loch lomond and Pembrokeshire, youth hostels offer travellers the opportunity to explore the coast, great outdoors, discover new cultures, and create lasting memories with your loved ones.
So, why not go to YHA or search for any other youth hostel site today and book for your next adventure or special occasion with your kids or alone?