Hostels and Budget Accommodation in Western Europe

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Types of Budget Accommodation in Western Europe

For the purposes of this article, we'll include France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Monaco in Western Europe. Other European countries can be found in other regions including Northern, Southern, and Eastern Europe.

Western Europe has a variety of budget accommodation options available for travelers. Students and backpackers often stay in hostels, which offer a social and fun setting for an affordable price. You'll also find budget hotels and guesthouses throughout Western Europe. If you're traveling as a couple and plan to stay in a private room, prices in hostels and budget hotels are typically comparable. The main difference between the two options is that many hostels usually offer kitchens where you can prepare food and common areas where you can hang out with other guests, while hotels are more private with more in-room amenities such as televisions and a daily cleaning service. If you're on a particularly tight budget, having access to a kitchen can significantly cut down on costs, as restaurants are quite expensive in Western Europe. Hostels often offer social events and activities as well, so whether you're traveling alone or just want to meet other travelers, the social setting of a hostel appeals to many people. Budget hotels are typically more popular with couples and people who want a more private setting. They are often quieter and come with amenities that you might not find at hostels.

Major Hostel Chains in Western Europe

Western Europe is one of the most popular backpacker destinations in the world, so there is no shortage of hostel chains in the area. Some of the most popular are listed below.

Generator Hostels

Generator Hostels is a large chain in Europe. The chain offers guests a variety of social activities and the prices are competitive. The chain has been around since 1997 and it continues to grow as a fun option for budget travelers.

St. Christopher's Inn

St Christopher's Inn is another well known chain in Europe. The hostel began in London in the mid 90's and today it is located in at least eight different countries. Each hostel is partnered with a Belushi bar where you can buy affordable food and drinks. The combination of bar and rooms make this a social and fun place to stay for young travelers who want to have a good time.

Wombats Hostels

Wombats Hostels typically offer a comfortable and clean option for budget travelers. They offer any number of amenities and the value is good. There are locations in several different countries, and these hostels typically have fun and social atmospheres.

A&O Hostels

A&O Hostels isn't as well known as some of the other major hostel chains, but it is an affordable option that caters to all types of travelers including families and school groups. Most of the hostels are found in Germany, but you'll also find hostels in other countries.

Traveling Alone

Many people head to Western Europe to backpack independently. This is a relatively easy region to navigate on your own and there is no shortage of other backpackers in the area who would like to meet other travel companions. If you're traveling by yourself, the most affordable place to stay is usually a dorm in a hostel. The size of the rooms can range from just a couple of beds to dozens of bunks. Price is often lower in the larger rooms, but the noise is predictably louder. If you're hoping to meet other travelers, look for a hostel that hosts activities for guests, has a lot of common space, and has a kitchen, as meal time is a common time to meet fellow guests.

Looking for a Party

Some travelers head to Western Europe specifically for the nightlife. There are hostels that bill themselves specifically as party hostels. The hostels often have nightly pub crawls, on-site bars, and music. If you're looking for a good night's sleep, then these hostels are best avoided, but if your goal is to hit all of the best bars and clubs, then these hostels are for you.

Dorms vs Private Rooms

Many hostels in Western Europe offer both dorms and private rooms. Dorms usually have bunk beds and a shared bathroom. Dorm beds are the cheapest option for solo travelers or alternatively, a small group might fill a whole dorm room. Private rooms appeal more to travelers with companions. Some rooms have twin beds while others have double beds. Both shared and private bathrooms may be available, but be prepared to pay more for a room with a private bathroom. Do note, that just because you're in a private room, it doesn't always mean you'll escape the noise of a social hostel. If peace and quiet is a priority for you, you might do better in a private hotel room.
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