What Is A Bunkhouse? Your Travel Questions Answered

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If you have never stayed in a bunkhouse, but love traveling, especially in the outdoors, then a bunkhouse might be a good lodging option for you.

Never heard of a bunkhouse? More or less, bunkhouses are basic lodging accommodations for adventurers looking for an inexpensive place to rest for the night.

Interested in learning more about bunkhouses? Then you’re in the right place.

What Is Staying At A Bunkhouse Like?


Staying at a bunkhouse is an experience that is not quite ideal for ordinary tourists. Rather, bunkhouse lodging is geared towards outdoorsy types.

As with hostels, hotels, and other overnight accommodations, bunkhouses vary greatly from one to another. Many bunkhouses are little more than a large room with several beds. Others have entertainment facilities, kitchens, and lobbies.

Furthermore, some bunkhouses provide blankets and pillows, however, most of them do not. That said, most bunkhouses are frequented by hikers, campers, and lovers of the great outdoors in the midst of their adventures (which means these customers are already carrying their own sleeping bags and pillows).

Benefits Of Bunkhouses

Renting a bed in a bunkhouse for the night is generally cheaper than any other form of lodging accommodations. Many bunkhouses charge less than $15 per night for a bed.

Again, it is important to understand that bunkhouses are marketed towards groups exploring the outdoors and individual nature lovers who are used to roughing it and sleeping outside in the elements. For these sorts of individuals, a bunkhouse is a lovely lodging option for a night of well-earned rest.

That said, one of the greatest benefits of bunkhouses (for outdoorsy types) is that they are often situated in exciting nature-based locations such as State and National Parks as well as highly-frequented nature trails (like the world-famous Appalachian Trail).

So, once you’ve made it to the bunkhouse, you’re already surrounded by pristine nature (which is what you came to see in the first place). For the type of travelers who enjoy being outside, there are few lodging options more convenient than a bunkhouse.

Is Food Included With Overnight Stays At Bunkhouses?

As you have probably gathered by now, bunkhouses are about as simple a lodging option as there exists. So, it should come as no surprise then that most of them do not include food with your overnight stay at their facilities. Instead, lodgers are expected to provide their own food (as well as pillows and bedding in most cases).

All things considered, however, bunkhouses that do offer food (and bedding) are beginning to spring up here and there. And, even if the bunkhouse you choose to lodge with doesn’t happen to provide food, many of them do have kitchens for you to prepare whatever food you have brought with you.

It is also important to note than many bunkhouses (especially the ones that are not located in the middle of nowhere) are situated directly beside local pubs. This convenient arrangement makes it quick and easy to find some grub if you don’t feel like packing your meals with you.

All things considered, make sure to inquire to the bunkhouse you are booking with if they provide food or not in order to be properly prepared for your trip.

The Difference Between Bunkhouses and Hostels


It’s pretty obvious that bunkhouses and hostels are pretty similar. They are both extremely affordable lodging options in comparison to traditional hotels or even motels. And, to further complicate things, many folks do indeed use the two words interchangeably.

So, what exactly is the difference between hostels and bunkhouses?

For starters, hostels are rarely located in the middle of pristine nature, as many bunkhouses are. Even more, hostels, for the most part, provide bedding whereas bunkhouses tend to require you bring your own pillows and sleeping bag or blankets.

Another significant difference is that hostel rooms have a much higher standard of comfort than bunkhouses which are frequented by pretty rough customers who are used to sleeping outside under the stars. This includes furniture, TV, and more.

In addition, bunkhouses never include private bathrooms and showers. Hostels on the other hand very often offer private bathrooms and showers for an extra charge.

Lastly, hostels are often part of a chain, or organization of lodging facilities, whereas bunkhouses are usually stand-alone establishments fun by individual owners or families.

Is a Bunkhouse Right for Me?

By now, you have probably come to the decision on your own, whether or not a bunkhouse is right for you to stay in while traveling.

However, if you are still in considerations, here are a few points to consider:

  • Do you enjoy being secluded in nature?
  • Are you ok with packing and cooking your own food?
  • Are you ok with providing your own bedding?
  • Do you ok with sharing a bathroom and shower with multiple people?
  • Are you planning on trekking through the wilderness?
  • Are you traveling a group?

If the answers to each of the above questions is a “yes” then you are more than likely a prime candidate for lodging at a bunkhouse! If you answered no to any one of these questions, you should reconsider booking a stay at a bunkhouse.

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