The 10 Different Types Of Hostels

Updated on: 26/02/2024 by Mike

In this article, we explain what the different types of hostels are. If you have stayed in many hostels like me, you will have encountered different types of hostels before.

The three main types of hostels are Youth hostels, Backpacker hostels and Boutique Hostels. All other types of hostels are a combination of these.

The 10 Different Types Of Hostels

Here's my comprehensive guide to the different types of hostels:

1. Youth hostels

Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark Amsterdam
Beautiful dorm room @ Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark - Stayokay is a HI Hostel.

These Hostels usually cater to students or young people and are normally supported by charitable organizations schools or universities. Hostelling International, or HI, is the largest such organization. These tend to be used for students on school tours or foreign students who spend a semester abroad.

2. Backpacker hostels

The RoadHouse Hostel
Common area @ The RoadHouse Hostel

These are the most common type of hostels and are designed to cater to budget-conscious travellers, particularly backpackers on a tight budget. They typically offer dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathrooms and communal areas, providing an affordable and social environment for travellers to connect and share experiences.

These hostels are run independently, providing a place to sleep for backpackers. Each Backpacker hostel normally has its own niche (such as running tours, events etc.). They normally have far more character and personality.  These hostels are my favorite ones. Also staying at one of these hostels, you will be supporting local businesses.

3. Flashpacker/Boutique Hostels

Best Hostels in Prague - MeetMe23
Super chic dorm beds @ MeetMe23 Boutique Hostel

A step up from traditional backpacker hostels, flashpacker hostels or boutique hostels offer more upscale amenities and facilities. They cater to travellers who want the social aspects of hostels but with a higher level of comfort and privacy.

Hostels have evolved greatly over the last 20 years and many hostels are now Flashpacker or Boutique hostels. These usually have a very high standard of customer service and have a more contemporary design. These hostels generally target slightly older and tech-savvy guests. These hostels will have many services/amenities that you would expect at a three-star hotel and are the most expensive type of hostel.

4. Party Hostels

Party Hostels attract young like-minded guests who want to have a good time during their stay. They are not overly concerned if the rooms are noisy at night. These hostels normally have an onsite bar and hold regular events such as Quizzes, Karaoke, and Pub Crawls. Hostels have large bars that will have live music or DJs some nights. A party hostel will either be a Backpacker or a Boutique hostel.

Cities with many party hostels include Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Krakow.

The exterior of the Circus Hostel in Berlin which is one of the best types of hostels
The exterior of the Circus Hostel in Berlin

Circus Hostel also happens to be one of the best hostels in Berlin for party-goers. Circus Hostel is also one of the best hostels in Europe. The hostel has its own Café and Microbrewery with special drink offers and home-brewed beer.

5. Eco-Friendly Hostels

Eco-conscious travellers may opt for eco-friendly hostels that prioritize sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices. These hostels may have initiatives such as recycling programs, energy-efficient facilities, and eco-friendly toiletries.

These are for the more environmentally conscious traveller. If they have an onsite restaurant, it's not unusual for these types of hostels to promote vegetarian and vegan dishes.

The reception area at Sleep Well Hostel in Brussels.
The reception area at Sleep Well Hostel in Brussels.

A good example of an Eco-Friendly hostel is Sleep Well which also happens to be one of the best hostels in Brussels. This hostel is located in the centre of Brussels and well within walking distance of most of the major tourist sites.

6. Themed Hostels

Themed hostels are designed around specific themes or interests, such as art, music, sports, or historical eras. These hostels provide a unique and immersive experience, appealing to travellers with specific passions.

This type of hostel is rare and only appeals to a very small niche of backpackers. If you are looking for a very unique hostel experience, you should try one of these types of hostels.

Hostels in Amsterdam - Train Lodge Amsterdam

The Train Lodge is one such hostel that offers a unique themed hostel experience. It's located near the Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station, which has all public transportation connections (bus, tram, metro, and train) that will allow you to visit all of Amsterdam's main tourist sites conveniently.

Hostels in Amsterdam - Train Lodge Amsterdam

The Train Lodge Hostel's sleeping carriages used to be the luxury cars of the Zurich to Rome night train until a few years ago. For backpackers seeking a unique experience, this is one of the best hostels in Amsterdam.

7. Activity Hostels

Generally speaking, these are sub-types of the other types of hostels. These are not for everyone and only attract guests within their particular niche.

Examples of these are:

  • Surfing Hostels
  • Snowboarding/skiing Hostels
  • Hiking Hostels
  • Yoga Hostels
  • Biking Hostels

8. Digital Nomad Hostels

With the rise of digital nomadism, some hostels cater specifically to remote workers and freelancers. These hostels often provide reliable Wi-Fi, co-working spaces, and quiet areas for work.

Coworking Space at Selina Cancun Downtown which is one of the best types of hostels
The excellent coworking Space at Selina Cancun Downtown

Recently I stayed at Selina Cancun Downtown in Cancun. This superb hostel has its own coworking space which is also open to the public. As a hostel guest, you get a 20% Discount. A weekly pass for the coworking space costs just €28.

9. Cheap Hostels

These are geared towards backpackers on a shoestring budget but normally won't have the amenities of highly-rated hostels in a given city. The dorm rooms will have a large number of beds in them, sometimes over 20 beds. These beds will not have an individual power-point, personal shelf, night lamp, or privacy curtain. And you may even be charged extra for linen. But they nearly always have individual lockers.

These types of hostels are often in the suburbs of cities a long way from the city centre. But the city where you are staying has a good public transport system, this often is not an issue.

Plus Prague is one of the best types of hostels
Spacious Dorm Rooms at Plus Prague

Plus Prague is a super-sized hostel that takes up an entire building and is located in Holesovice, one of Prague's most trendy neighbourhoods. The beautiful district of Holesovice has a lot to offer as there are numerous stylish cafes, bars, and restaurants to choose from. So there's no real reason not to stay here.

This is one of the best hostels in Prague. But the only downside of this cheap hostel is that it takes 15 minutes to reach the centre of Prague via tram. Plus Prague is one of the cheapest hostels in Prague because a bed in the 16-bed dorm starts at only €13.00.

10. Family-Friendly Hostels

Family-friendly hostels offer private rooms and facilities suitable for families traveling together. They may have family rooms, child-friendly amenities, and activities suitable for children.

Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Hostels

I hope that you enjoyed our guide on the different types of hostels. You will find all the hostel niches on Hostelworld. I recommend that you read the descriptions and guest reviews. Also, look at the photos carefully to see which niche the hostel falls under.

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I'm Hostel Vagabond aka Mike McGuinness. I've stayed in countless across the world. I set up Hostel Vagabond to share these experiences with you.

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