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Staying At Hostels While You Travel Is An Amazing Way To Experience Canada

Make new friends, stay in unique spots, and have the time of your life!

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Calling all wanderlust adventurers! Ready to talk about hostels as an ideal travel solution? We all love to explore the world, but no one enjoys racking up travel expenses, right? Well, that's why hostels are an incredible way to experience Canada, so let me tell you about some of their impressive perks. 

Even as a Canadian, I still get fascinated by our big, beautiful country. There are tons of stunning parts of Canada that you're probably dying to see. Even though European and tropical trips are cool, you'll never find mountains and wildlife like in Alberta and BC.

Hostels are an awesome lodging choice for many reasons. If you ask any traveller, they'll tell you about their wonderful experiences there. So, before you say anything, let me show you how great hostels can be if you’re looking to explore more of Canada.

Enjoy a social environment like no other 

image of hostel

It's impossible NOT to meet new people when staying in a hostel. HI Ste-Anne-des-Monts, Sea Shack features outdoor bands that come and play all summer long, and the parties at the Tiki Bar can go on until sunrise. If you're an extrovert who enjoys spending time with interesting people, this stop is definitely for you. Honestly, you can make some lifelong friends through these shared social spaces — I definitely have. Speaking of good times and tasty drinks, HI Banff Alpine Centre has a fun on-site bar. Lodge life in Banff lets you sing your heart out during karaoke and jam nights at the Storm Cellar, plus guests get free local bus passes to explore nearby attractions and meet locals. Equally as entertaining, HI Toronto doesn't just have the indoor Cavern Bar where you can attend concerts, open-mics, and trivia nights — it's even got a summertime rooftop patio bar where you can soak up the sunshine.

Would you rather meet new friends while staying active? HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre, a massive chalet-style building with cathedral ceilings, can accommodate you. Here, you can check out Lake Louise, go skiing, or hike local trails before relaxing on big, comfy couches by the stone fireplace. Even if you're an introvert, there are several quiet spaces where you can find complete zen. Want to lie down on a comfortable hammock surrounded by peaceful nature sounds? HI Ste-Anne-des-Monts, Sea Shack has your back.

Join in on free activities with your new hostel-mates

When you're staying in a hostel, there are lots of activities you can take part in. Tons of them organize game nights and trivia nights where you can let loose without spending a penny. Love drinking beer and exploring cities on foot? Join the free pub crawls and walking tours at HI Vancouver Central or HI Montréal. In the quirky and quiet neighbourhood of the West End, HI Vancouver Downtown even lets you enjoy free yoga, rooftop BBQs, and bike rides around Stanley Park. At hostels throughout the Rockies, you can cozy up to an evening campfire surrounded by mountains. I find that every place has something to do that keeps the excitement going.

You can have food your own way

Who says you have to dish out at expensive restaurants while travelling? Maybe in a regular hotel, but not with most hostels. In fact, hostels like HI Whistler in BC and HI Jasper in Alberta have brand-new, fully equipped kitchens plus on-site cafes. Here's an added bonus: many hostels actually offer free daily breakfast.

Basically, you and the other guests can prepare a feast to enjoy together, or be fed a good meal at the restaurants and cafes in the hostels themselves. The options are endless because it's totally your choice at a way better cost.

Every hostel offers its own exciting experiences

It's true when they say no hostel is ever the same as the next one, and that means different adventures at each stop. Looking for inspiration? You can go ice climbing basically right out the door at HI Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel (and relax in the wood-burning sauna afterwards); spend the night in a jail cell at HI Ottawa Jail; go mackerel fishing, snorkelling, and sleep in a landlubbing boat at HI L'Anse-au-Griffon, Griffon Aventure; go surfing or whale-watching at HI Tofino; or go horseback-riding with the resident horses at HI Rossburn, 9 Finger Ranch.

Honestly, my favourite thing about hostels is that the features are different at each spot. Some will have hiking trails and animals right outside while others will have more nightlife than wildlife out the door. If you're someone who likes a change of scenery, then staying in hostels during your trip will give you all the variety you need to be happy.

One-of-a-kind locations

Whether on the shores of the Pacific Ocean at HI Tofino, in a ski town like at HI Banff Alpine Centre and HI Fernie, or along a river like HI Maligne Canyon Wilderness Hostel, hostels can provide spectacular scenery. If you want easy access to magnificent views, then lots of Canadian hostels will give you just that. At HI Mount Edith Cavell Wilderness Hostel, you can take in Angel Glacier and Cavell Meadows, whereas HI Yoho National Park, Whiskey Jack Wilderness Hostel lets you marvel at a massive waterfall right from the front porch.

It's up to you whether you prefer staying in city centres for the best urban vibes and restaurants, or lodging in the most remote, exclusive areas surrounded by Mother Nature. Like I said, every place offers a totally different experience.

The affordability will help you save money for other parts of your adventure

bedroom with bed

It's no surprise that hostels are a much cheaper way to travel, especially since there aren't the cleaning fees involved with Airbnb and VRBO. When you're booking flights, paying for food, and covering activity costs, things can add up pretty quickly. With hostels, you can save a lot of money during your trip, or use that cash on other fun stuff while you embark on the ultimate adventure.

Plus, even if you aren't into the shared-bedrooms situation, there are many hostels where you can get a private bedroom and ensuite.

You'll learn expert advice from travellers like you

When you're surrounded by people who are interested in travelling, you'll get the opportunity to hear about their travel stories. This is the best opportunity to share tips and tricks with people who have stayed in hostels and pretty much been around the globe, too. You're bound to find your next adventure just by learning from those around you.

Keep in mind that staff working at hostels are travellers, too — many of them from different parts of the world. This means they can also share their experiences and stories about each destination, and they're excellent resources for activity tips and off-the-beaten-path recommendations.

So, by now, you're basically ready to book your cross-Canadian adventure ASAP, right? Well, HI Canada is the biggest hostel network in Canada. With over 50 hostels from coast to coast, they're part of a global network of 3,000 hostels with established quality standards.

HI Canada features a variety of unique hostel locations that will let you live out amazing experiences. They're known for being fun, welcoming, and accommodating. Not only will they make you feel at home, but they'll give you the adventure of a lifetime too.

To learn more about HI Canada, visit their website. Check out their Instagram for awesome photos and their Facebook for more info!