Ah how times have changed, and while I no longer hold swimming in a hotel pool as the ultimate luxury, I do still experience a childish rush of excitement every time I check in to a nice hotel. Yet given the chance, I would still exchange 1000 thread count sheets and down comforters for a bunk bed in a hostel. It all comes down to the experience. How many people have you met at a hotel? Did you decide at the spur of the moment to follow them to their next destination? Are you friends still today? These sorts of things never happen in the sterile environment of hotel corridors and deadlocked doors. Even the hotel bars are filled with martinis and other socially secluding drinks. Never has a seasoned traveler shouted, “Martinis all around!” I’d rather the excitement of a community six-pack a bunkmate bought at the corner store. I’d much prefer the siren’s song of a bottle of wine shared among strangers, all while comparing travel scars and bathroom scares.
Hotels are for being alone. Hostels are for being among friends.