I have often said that even if I had all the money in the world, I would still choose to stay in a hostel over a hotel. (Seriously, I'm not just saying that).
1. They Are Cheap
Yup, depending on where you are, and the time of year it is, you will pay between $8-$40 for a bed. Compare that to $80-$400 for a hotel — it's a way better deal. And really, how much time are you going to be spending in your room anyway? There's so many new things to see!
2. Location, Location, Location
Most hostels are located in the centre of the city (aka prime location) allowing you to walk out the front door and continue to walk everywhere you need to go. There is often no need to spend money on car rentals or even public transit, plus it gives you the opportunity to soak in some local flavor after dark because you don't have to worry about getting back to your hotel in an expensive cab.
Your room charge will usually cover breakfast, which is often some sort of fresh carb from a local bakery. Who can say no to a fresh croissant?
Despite what you might think, the amenities at a hostel are actually quite nice. You usually have access to a kitchen, which means you can cook your own food — another dollar saver — and many hostels even have their own restaurant or bar. There is usually free or cheap Internet available 24 hours, and a common room where you can relax and swap stories. These common rooms also usually have a well-stocked bookshelf where you can take or trade books free of charge. Some of the nicest bathrooms that I have EVER been in have been in hostels!
Think about it, you are surrounded by tourists who don't want their stuff stolen, and who are looking out for each other. Most hostels are run by fellow travelers and front desks are usually manned 24 hours. Many will supply you with a locker to lock your stuff up for extra security (bring your own lock as they are not always supplied).
6. Free Travel Advice, Tour Guides, and Nightlife "Coordinators"
The guys and gals running hostels are usually travellers themselves, and so are not out to scam you and make a buck. They are the perfect people to ask advice about tours, where to eat, what to see etc. Some will even take you around or coordinate bookings for you (at no extra cost!). Usually a few nights a week, the people working at the hostel will round up everyone they can and take them out on the town. If you are a solo traveler, or not familiar with the area, this gives you a fantastic opportunity to safely experience the city's nightlife — and make new friends.
7. Meeting People Who Ask You Where You've Been and not What You Do
There is nothing more refreshing then meeting someone new and being defined by where you have been, where you are going, and what adventures you have had instead of being defined by a job that may not have anything to do with who you really are or what you are passionate about. Learning about the person in front of you, and sharing a genuine moment while at the height of a new-experience-high is my favourite part about staying in hostels. This is how I have made some amazing lifelong friends, and I would never give that up.