I’ve always thought hostels were smart. Toilets in the hallway so the flush and/or smell don’t disturb people sleeping – genius. At least I thought it was a good idea until I woke up needing a wee at 3am, and realised with deep regret that I got stuck with a top bunk and a dodgy ladder to navigate in the dark. Shifting awkwardly in the darkness to avoid tripping over someone’s bag and praying that you don’t fall on someone sleeping. How would you even explain that?

Hostels are a necessary struggle. Yes you’re in some close quarters with strangers, but you did also save a good amount of money by staying here as opposed to a hotel. Hostel kitchens are beautiful things. Damn right I won’t pay £17 for your restaurant pizza when my supermarket one cost me £4. Happy days.

Whilst hostels are perfect for people looking for affordable accommodation, I’ve recently discovered the ultimate, greatest thing about hostels. It’s not the bunk beds or the kitchen, or even the board game cupboard that every hostel I have been to seems to have. It’s the people.

It’s the amazing type of people who invited me out to watch a football match at a bar after knowing me for 5 minutes, who lent me money when my purse was stolen, and who made me feel less lonely in a city that I didn’t know. Having suffered from mental illness and intense anxiety, I was so scared to travel on my own, to stay in a room with people I didn’t know. But I can’t express how glad I am that I did. Travelling opens you up to a new way of life, but it also gives you the opportunity to meet funny, like-minded people!

If you’re reading this feeling anxious about hostels, don’t be. Booking a bed in a hostel on my first solo adventure was one of the best decisions I have made. Not only have I saved money, to spend on chocolate or whatever, I’ve heard insane stories, been inspired countless times, and had the time during my trip enriched so much.

Big love for hostels.