Hotels and hostels both provide accommodations to travelers, but while the two provide a dry place to stay, the similarities end there. In most cases, hotels are the more luxurious of the two and, therefore, more expensive. At a hotel, a traveler can have his own room and bathroom as well as maid service and other amenities. Hostels are generally used by younger travelers with less money to spare, and those visiting one will most likely be required to share a room as well as bath and shower rooms. A person staying at a hotel will have his bags carried to his room, fresh towels delivered, and his bed made up daily, but none of this is likely to be included in a hostel stay.
Hostels are most often associated with backpackers looking for inexpensive, temporary shelter as well as a place for a shower and a meal. Some will include a hot meal or beverage in the accommodation price and most will provide a kitchen area where guests can cook their own food. During a hotel stay, one is on his own when it comes to finding places to eat, unless a meal is included in the package. In the past, rooms were set up dormitory fashion, with communal showers. In recent years, however, some have started offering single rooms and bathrooms, while shared, might accommodate only one guest at a time.
Some hostels will allow guests to work in exchange for a discount or even a night's stay. When staying at a hotel on the other hand, visitors best not attempt to check in without cash or a valid credit card. Also, the management may turn away guests who are less than clean, while hostel owners are used to backpackers and long distance bicycle riders showing up in need of a shower.
A hotel will often provide guests with mini refrigerators, wet bars, cable television, wireless Internet service, telephones, irons and hair dryers. The accommodations in a hostel, on the other hand, while minimal, are not unpleasant, and they rarely include any extras. People who stay there often have some interesting tales to tell, and a community room is often available where guests can mingle and shoot pool or watch television. In a hotel, visitors probably won't get to know the person staying in the room next to them, and the goal is typically privacy and quiet.
Some hostels don't supply linens, which means that guests are required to bring their own. In addition, many, especially youth hostels, require their guests to abide by their rules, which include a curfew. This may also include no drinking or smoking. Since the accommodation is more communal, travelers might need to guard their property and may want to sleep with their cash and credit cards.
Both hotels and hostels offer a bed and roof to weary travelers. Extra amenities are up to the individual so, it's important to note, that visitors usually do get what they pay for.