A youth hostel is a place which provides accommodation that is relatively cheap compared to others. Its target market are cyclers, backpackers, and hikers. Simply put, most of these people are the young, active ones who are usually travelling. Like any other hostels, youth hostels are budget-friendly. The set-up is a common bathroom, kitchen, and lounge. Some may even offer rooms which divide males among the females, but there are also times that they are mixed.
Youth hostels primarily began in 1909 when a German teacher named Richard Schirrmann thought that his students would learn more if they stayed in a place that is convenient and comfortable at the same time. It just so happened that there was a storm that night so they stayed in a farmer’s barn. Later on, Schirrman opened a hostel at Altena, Germany.
Youth hostels have emerged from the different parts of the globe now particularly in UK, Australia, India, Ireland, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, Japan, China, and a lot more places. Almost 80 countries have youth hostels which now equate to 4,000 around the world.
In China for example, there are almost 1,300 youth hostels. From the top cities in China down to the small and low-key cities, hostels can be found. Here is a list of highly-rated youth hostels from the top cities in China:
- Chinese Box Courtyard Hostel, The Great Wall Box House, Peking Yard Hostel, The Classic Courtyard, Fly by Knight Courtyard Hostel
- Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel, Beehome International Youth Hostel, Rock & Wood International Youth Hostel, Blue Mountain Bund Youth Hostel, Mingtown Etour International Youth Hostel
- Han Tang Inn Hostel, Shuyuan International Party Hostel, Han Tang House, Xiangzimen International Youth Hostel, Warriors International Hostel
4.) Chengdu, China
- Nova Traveller’s Lodge, Chengdu Mix Hostel Packpackers, Chengdu Traffic Inn, Chengdy Lazybones Backpacker Boutique Hostel, The Loft Design Hostel
- Kundming Upland International Youth Hostel, Kunming Cloudland International Youth Hostel, The Hump Hostel, IC Holiday Shun Cheng, Lost Garden Guesthouse
Like any other hostels, youth hostels and China have their own pros and cons you have to consider in case you are thinking of staying at one. Make sure you do your research first. Hostelling International’s website may help you with this. The website URL is http://www.hihostels.com/. You may either contact them through phone or e-mail regarding your inquiries. They also publish youth hostel guides annually which you may access.
Basically, youth hostels are cheap. For sure, you would pay a less amount here than you would do in a hotel. But do not expect too much for this amount. There would not be any turndown service every day. But not to worry as Hostelling International has provided standards that the hostels are mandated to meet. Inspection of cleanliness, safety, and comfort are done often.
In choosing a youth hostel, make sure that it would depend on your need. If you need to shop frequently, a downtown or city hostel is suitable for you. If you are a hiker, better stay in a countryside hostel. Also, try to find out the amenities that the hostel offers. Some have amenities such as cafes, bars, playgrounds, and lounges where you can watch TV. Perhaps, as you relax in the TV lounge, you would be able to interact with other people and exchange stories with them.
With regard to food, you may want to inquire whether the hostel serves breakfast. Most of them do, and you just have to tell them your preferred time in case you have to leave before they serve the breakfast. If you want, you may also cook your own food but most of the time, the kitchen is a communal area for everybody. Better ask prior to your arrival what utensils are already available so you may know which ones you still have to bring.
Then again, do not expect too much with youth hostels. There could be a lack of privacy as everything is communal. Also, you may encounter noisy roommates you have to deal with. Though sometimes, youth hostels have time slots when people are required to be quiet. There could also be an issue with the security of your items. Make sure you use the lockers assigned to you.
Those are essentially the basic pros and cons that you need to know about youth hostels. Evaluate first according to the standards mentioned so you could have a wonderful experience in your travel wherever you want to go.