Affordable accommodation for everyone.
Hostels are a great place to stay if you want to save money or find your budget limited. They are often very sociable places and you get a wonderful opportunity not just to explore the towns and countryside but also to make new friends. In a hostel you are usually renting a bed, and this is often a bunk bed, and sleeping in a dormitory-style room. You have to be prepared to share a lounge or sitting area, a bathroom and almost certainly a kitchen. Most hostels have rooms for sleeping which are mixed or single-sex and if this bothers you it is vital to find out before booking or arriving what the arrangements are for that particular hostel. Some places these days do indeed have private rooms which might be singles, doubles or even quads. You should also check to see if the hostel provides a hot meal included in the price.
Many hostels have people working for them as managers, desk clerks or housekeeping staff in exchange for free accommodation. Most of the people using hostels used to be young, student types who could only afford modest accommodation, but today you will find a wide range of occupants and travellers within the hostel buildings. Many hostels provide cots and are eager to attract families so if you are travelling alone or with friends you need to be comfortable with having children around the building. When staying in these places you still need to be prepared to be sociable and mix in with the other travellers. This social aspect of the hostel is one of its great attractions.
Today there are many more independent hostels as well as those run by organisations such as the YHA. These are catering for the increase in travellers who want to go overland and visit various destinations within a country or even travel across borders to take in a mix of different countries.
Many hostels do have a policy of sharing books, DVDs, CDs and other such items. This is a godsend for families (which many hostels happily accept) and the traveller who is wishing to avoid carrying too much luggage, especially cyclists and walkers.
Hostels range considerably in size and this will affect the facilities they can offer. Larger hostels such as Canterbury provide parking, a cycle store, wifi, ensuite rooms, picnic meals, TV, a laundry and a drying room. Obviously smaller hostels will be more basic. There are several hostels in Kent and many, many more spread throughout the UK. And if you travel abroad you will find hostels all around the world. A very useful place to seek out your UK and worldwide hostel is french.hostelworld.com .
The quality of hostels has improved considerably in recent years and although some still insist on a curfew or being locked during the day, or asking visitors to do household tasks but this is now atypical as hostels respond to the higher demand of their guests.
So, if you are looking for affordable, fun and sociable holiday accommodation give a hostel a try!