Youth hostels are a great way to save money on accommodation for persons traveling on a severely limited budget. Youth hostels provide cheap, sociable accommodation in which guests can rent a bed and share bathroom, a lounge, and a kitchen with other guests. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex; and although private rooms are available in some youth hostels, this is a rarity, as youth hostels are designed to be cheap for both the occupant and the operator.
In a few countries, such as the UK, Ireland, India, and Australia, the word hostel sometimes also refers to establishments providing longer-term accommodation, where the youth hostels are sometimes run by Housing Associations and charities. In the rest of the world, the word hostel refers only to properties offering shared accommodation to travelers or backpackers. These two latter tend to be the most common patrons of youth hostels.
Every year, thousands of young people from all over the world travel throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and America to see new sights and explore new regions. The emergence of youth hotels has made this a lot more affordable for many young people. And it has created a booming industry in many parts of the world. The independent hostel industry is growing rapidly in many cities around the world, such as New York, Rome, Buenos Aires and Miami. This is reflected in the development and expansion of dozens of hostel chains worldwide.
The recent eruption in independent hostels has done much to make traveling safe and less costly. Many youth hostels are located in or close to trendy or central parts of the cities they are in. This means travelers no longer have to worry about spending exorbitant sums just to have ready access to the best areas of a city. For young people trying who are more interested in being out and about, and just need a place to rest their head for a few hours, this is especial welcome news.
The traditional youth hostel format involved dormitory style accommodation. Some of the newer youth hostels include en-suite accommodation with single, double or quad occupancy rooms, though to be considered a hostel they must also provide dormitory accommodation. In recent years, the numbers of independent and backpackers’ hostels have increased greatly to cater for the greater numbers of overland, multi-destination travelers (such as gap-year travelers, and rail-trippers).
The quality of such places has also improved dramatically. While a few hostels do still insist on a curfew, daytime lockouts, and/or require occupants to do chores, this is becoming a rare exception rather than the rule, as hostels adapt to meet the changing expectations of guests. The worldwide web has also changed the way the relation between youth hostels and consumers of youth hostel services. Persons are now able to use the web to find youth hostels, which puts great pressure on independent and chain youth hostels to keep prices under control and services up-to-date. Given how extraordinarily proficient young people are with the web, it behooves every youth hostel to offer the good value for money.
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