For more than 15 years, I’ve been staying in hostels during my travels. While this has saved me a small fortune and enabled me to travel longer, it still raises a few eyebrows when I mention my fondness for hostels to my armchair traveler friends back home. Methinks they envision a dirty, flea-ridden “truck stop” for backpackers, or a den of vice and sleaze, or, worse yet, a place of abduction and murder, courtesy of Eli Roth’s Hostel. Perhaps a combination of all three?
As a point of fact, hostels are budget-friendly gathering places for like-minded individuals, couples, and families. Many of my fondest travel memories stem not from the sights I came to see but from the Jugendherberges in which I hung my hat for a night or two or three.