Hostels provide budget oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are generally cheaper for both the operator and the occupants; many hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk clerks or housekeeping staff in exchange for free accommodation. In a few countries, such as the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, India, and Australia, the word hostel sometimes also refers to establishments providing longer-term accommodation (often to specific classes of clientele such as nurses, students, drug addicts, or court defendants on bail) where the 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 travellers or backpackers. Within the 'traveller' category, another distinction can be drawn between hostels which are members of Hostelling International (HI), a UK-based, non-profit organization encouraging outdoor activities and cultural exchange for the young (formerly the IYHA), and independently operated hostels. Hostels for travellers are sometimes called backpackers' hostels, particularly in Australia and New Zealand (often abbreviated to just "backpackers").
There is less privacy in a hostel than in a hotel. Sharing sleeping accommodation in a dormitory is very different from staying in a private room in a hotel or bed and breakfast, and might not be comfortable for those requiring more privacy. The lessened privacy is also an advantage in some ways, because it encourages more social interaction between guests. Theft can be a problem, since guests may share a common living space, but this can be avoided by securing guests' belongings. Most hostels offer some sort of system for safely storing valuables, and an increasing number of hostels offer private lockers. Noise can make sleeping difficult on occasions, whether from snoring, sexual activity, someone either returning late or leaving early or the proximity of so many people. This can be mitigated by carrying earplugs.
The traditional hostel format involved dormitory style accommodation. Some newer hostels also 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 travellers (such as gap-year travellers, 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.
Independent hostels are not necessarily affiliated with one of the national bodies of Hostelling International, Youth Hostel Association or any other licensing body. Often, the word independent is used to refer to non-HI hostels even when the hostels do belong to another hostelling organization. The term "youth" is less often used with these properties. These non-HI hostels are often called "backpackers' hostels". Unlike a hotel chain where everything is standardized, these hostels can be very diverse, typically not requiring a membership card. As the hostel industry evolves, independent hostels and HI hostels are becoming more similar, with the word "backpackers" also now applying to many Hostelling International hostels.
The general backpacking community is no longer exclusively typified by gap year student travelers and extreme shoe string budgets. In response to demand, as well as increasing competition between the rapidly growing number of hostels, the overall quality of hostels has improved across the industry. In addition to the increase in quality, new styles of hostels have developed that have a focus on a more trendy, design interior. The phrase "boutique hostel" is an often-arbitrary marketing term typically used to describe intimate, luxurious or quirky hostel environments. The term has started to lose meaning because the facilities of many "boutique hostels" are often no different from hostels that aren't referred to with that label. Also, marketers and online booking websites sometimes include boutique hotels in lists of "boutique hostels," further diluting any specific meaning of the phrase.
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Author lives and works in San Miguel de Allende To view the complete article visit: Hostels in San Miguel de Allende
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