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16 Apr 2024

Understanding the Difference between PG and Hostel

We often hear about the terms hostel and PGs. While both of them are shared living spaces, in essence, there are distinct differences between them. From pricing and amenities to offering personal flexibility, they differ significantly. Understanding the difference between PG and hostels is the first step towards making the right choice between them. Let's look at the aspect more closely herein so the newly relocated will have the best shot at choosing what fits them better.

PG (Paying Guest) Accommodations

Paying Guest

Paying guest accommodations are sophisticated living spaces, mostly for professionals and students. A private person or institution runs PGs, providing lodging and other facilities in an organised manner. The difference between a PG and a hostel lies in the amenities. PGs offer complete facilities, from Wi-Fi, electricity, laundry, and water to meal plans. They also offer different types of rooms, such as private, double sharing, triple sharing rooms, and more customised options. However, they provide a common living area for everyone to use.



Hotels refer to the accommodation houses run by universities, colleges, or official authorities. They typically offer only one kind of shared accommodation. It requires living with fellow roommates irrespective of personal preferences. While basic amenities like food, bedding, electricity and water are provided, rules about personal freedom tend to be stricter. 

Individuals have to buy their bathroom accessories, pillows, and bedding. The biggest difference between a hostel and a PG is affordability. Hostels are suitable for students and job seekers living on a budget. They are ideal for people who don't mind social interaction and mingling with people.

Difference Between PG and Hostel


PG (Paying Guest)



A PG is a living arrangement managed by private people and institutions, often with meals and basic amenities provided.

A hostel is a budget-oriented, dormitory-style shared living space for travellers, students, etc.


PG accommodations often offer more privacy with fewer individuals sharing a room.

Hostels typically have shared rooms with multiple beds, offering less privacy.


Can be more expensive due to additional services like meals and laundry.

Generally cheaper as costs are shared among more occupants.

Period of Stay




Amenities such as home-cooked meals, laundry, and cleaning may be included in the rent.

Basic amenities are provided, but services like meals and laundry might be self-service or available for an extra fee.


Interaction is mostly limited to the roommates and perhaps a few other guests. However, community PGs offer chances for interaction. It's a personal choice to partake or not.

Hostels have a communal atmosphere, making it easier to meet new people.

Personal Freedom 

More flexible with personal freedom–Inmates can come and go without restrictions .

Less flexible with personal freedom. Hostels tend to restrict timings, food quantity, etc.

Conduciveness for Work and Study

More conducive to work and study due to privacy and curated spaces.

Less conducive due to disturbances from fellow members.


Personal security may be higher due to living in a closely-managed facility. 

Varies, but hostels often have lockers and key card access. However, they don’t take responsibility for lost items, etc.


Rules can be stricter, depending on the host's requirements.

Usually more flexible, but depends on the hostel's management.


Better suited for those looking for a homely environment and long-term stay.

Ideal for travellers, backpackers, and students who prioritise budget and socialising.


More personalised living experience and professional services. 

Opportunities for cultural exchange and making new friends. Management can be disorganised without professional help.


As private individuals manage PGs, they are more likely to accept grievances and act on them.

Hostels may not invite feedback or take action regarding any issues.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PG Accommodation

While a PG facility is better compared to hostel accommodation, there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with PGs.


  • A PG offers a complete set-up for a stay, where guests don't have to worry about electricity, Wi-Fi, water, or other utilities and their management. Provisioning meals makes it feel like home.

  • PGs are the best alternative to renting separate flats for single persons. They offer the convenience of flats in privacy and personal freedom.

  • A PG offers a conducive atmosphere in which to focus on work or studies without distractions. Social life is available at personal choice.


  • Renting a PG requires a long-term commitment—a minimum of 3-6 months of stay is required.

  • Some PGs mention utility costs on a usage-limit basis. So, one might spend more than planned.

  • The rules of the management stand final in most cases, leading to conflicts and disagreements.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hostels

Hostels are the ready-to-check-in shared living spaces for newly relocated people in cities. While they do serve a larger purpose, one must count the following advantages and disadvantages before joining hostels.


  • Hostels offer a budget-friendly stay option for students and job seekers on a tight budget while providing basic amenities.

  • They provide more room for socialisation, driving away boredom and earning good friends. 

  • Though conflicts may be possible with hostel management, the flexibility to end the stay at any time gives the flexibility of staying in a hostel.


  • Hostels are not for those seeking privacy and solitude.

  • Inmates may have to maintain strict rules regarding timings, usage of amenities, utilities and even food consumption. It limits personal freedom.

  • Hostels do not take responsibility for loss of belongings, cleanliness or any renovations.

Making the Right Choice in Hostel vs PG

The right choice between Hostel vs PG is a decision of one's requirements. If privacy and peacefulness are important, going for a PG is right. If budget constraints exist, then a hostel is a better choice. If you are looking for social interactions and a dynamic lifestyle, hostels fare well. While PGs do provide the chance, they're limited. 

Similarly, if you're new to a city, a hostel will be a good choice if you already have friends staying there. But go for a PG with respect to security and safety if the budget permits. If you want flexibility in amenities and living style, PGs offer that better than hostels, which tend to be monotonous and rigid. PGs are known for offering a home-like environment with basic and custom amenities along with meal plans. However, hostels are limited to routine amenities with no room for customisation.


The difference between a PG and a hostel is mainly rooted in affordability, flexibility and provision of various facilities. That said, the right choice is subject to individual preferences and availability. Generally, PGs are not available in all places except relatively large towns, cities, and metropolises. 

While hostels do not offer scope for customisation, PGs can go to any length to offer customised facilities. PG and hostel differences are pronounced in the degree of privacy. If you're staying for the long term and can support the budget, PGs are a better choice.

Related reading: Budget-Friendly PG Room Decoration Ideas


Which is good for ladies between hostel vs PG?

With respect to privacy, safety, and security, a PG is more suitable for ladies. However, do sufficient research before choosing a PG and know how they ensure the security of residents. If possible, take feedback from the already-staying residents.

What is better for travellers, hotel or PG?

Travellers require a stay for a short duration. So, a hostel is more suitable for their needs than PGs, which require long-term agreements. However, some PGs do provide accommodation based on daily pricing. Contact the respective PGs for more details.

What is the privacy of a hostel vs PG?

The privacy of a hostel could be better compared to that of PGs because a community shares hostels, and there are no strict rules regarding social interactions and boundaries. Moreover, they offer mostly single-type accommodation, limiting the possibility of more privacy.

How do PGs and hostels handle conflicts between residents and management?

Given their smaller, more intimate setting, PGs often take a more personal approach to handling conflicts. Due to their larger scale, hostels may have formal procedures involving management or authorities to resolve issues. Conflict resolution is quicker in PG settings but not in hostel settings.

What are the differences in the utility costs between PGs and hostels?

The impact of utility costs on overall affordability varies. PGs may include utilities in the rent, offering predictability. Hostels, with a focus on budget accommodation, might charge for additional utilities, affecting the cost for residents.

What specific amenities do PGs and hostels offer to support the work and study needs of their residents?

Specific amenities provided by PGs include quiet study areas, desks in rooms, and even Wi-Fi. Hostels might offer communal study spaces, though these can be less conducive to focused work due to potential distractions.

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