Now this is the million dollar question I am asked all the time! Well let me start by saying ahead of time that I usually prefer hostels when I travel, but there are the pros and cons to both.
Since I have been asked this question so much I am always looking for a way to simplify the answer and this morning as I was riding the metro in Paris I came up with the perfect answer!
A hostel is like taking public transportation and a hotel is like taking your own car somewhere. It is probably the most accurate description to describe the difference between the two. With a hostel, it is cheap and convenient, but at the same time you will sacrifice your privacy, a little freedom to do whatever you want, and you have to deal with a lot of people that you don’t know. A hotel on the other hand, costs you more money, but you have your own space, you are free to do what you want, and you don’t have to deal with people if you don’t want.
So you can see that choosing which on is better depends totally on the person you are, or if you are anything like me, then it will depend on the mood you are in on that day. For example, as I have gotten older, there are times when I love to be around a lot of people, but at the same time there are some days when I really need my space and not be bothered (sounds rude I know). So now when I am traveling I usually have 10 to 1 ratio, meaning that for every 10 days or traveling and staying in a hostel, I need one day in a hotel/ Airbnb. Now as I said before, sometimes I can go weeks without staying in a hotel just because I feel like being around people, but it all depends on my mood.
On a final note, main reason when I found that hostels were better for me was because after a long day or traveling and exploring another country and not speaking my language usually the whole day, the last thing I wanted to do was go to a hotel room and stay in the quiet the rest of the evening. And by staying in a hostel you don’t have that problem usually, because mostly everyone there is in the same situation and it is a great environment to find like minded people.
So hope this helped you out and remember that the main thing is usually to go out, explore the world and meet people and a hostel sometimes is the best way to insure you can do both. . . . . and no, you are not to old, so go out and enjoy and live!