Hostels (or youth hostels) provide short-term accommodation to travelers, particularly encouraging outdoor activities and cultural exchange for the young. In certain parts of the world, hostels are commonly called backpackers, particularly in Australia and New Zealand.

In a hostel guests rent a bed (sometimes a bunk bed) in a dormitory and share common bathroom, kitchen, and lounge rooms. Private rooms are often available. The main benefit of a hostel is that one gets to meet other travelers from all over the world. Hostels are usually less formal and less expensive than hotels.

There are some potential drawbacks to using hostels, although most are the same as drawbacks that you could find at many hotels. Theft can be a problem since guests share a common living space, but this can be prevented by locking belongings up. Most hostels offer some sort of system for safely storing your valuables, and many offer private lockers.

One potential drawback to staying in hostels is difficulty sleeping because of noise, whether from snoring or someone returning to the room late in the evening. For this reason, hostels associations fix reasonable times for last admission and lights out, and people who find it necessary use earplugs.

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