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New Zealand Travel Tips & Questions

What is a hostel?

Simply put, a hostel is an accommodation type which offers shared dormitories and is typically used by those travelling on a budget. However, the reality is that beyond this basic definition hostels come in just about every variety possible. Once-upon-a-time they were almost exclusively used by young people but these days a hostel's guests can be made up of people of all ages as well as all kinds of travellers - those travelling solo, in couples, travelling with kids or travelling with a group of friends. As well as being found in the major destinations such as Auckland and Christchurch you can find smaller boutique hostels all over NZ.

Most hostels have some type of common area for guests to mingle but some have heaps such as a games room, a TV room, a rooftop patio, gardens, a bar and so forth. Facilities also come as basic standard bed and bathroom or with such things as a kitchen, laundry and pool and all kinds of things may be included in the price such as breakfast, free shuttles, organised hostel-based activities and tea and coffee.

Dorms – which typically have bunk beds – range in size from 3 to 16 beds or more and almost all hostels these days also offer private rooms which may have their own bathroom or come with shared facilities. As the cheapest accommodation choice, hostels used to offer little in the way of luxuries but today, along with standard hostels, you can also find boutique or flashpacker options which can feature all kinds of little extras.

Besides the price factor, hostels are typically social places where travellers purposely come to meet others from all over the world but quite what vibe they put out will depend. Some are party central while others gear themselves more to those seeking a sociable but tranquil hideaway so choose carefully to ensure you get what matches your needs.