Hostels provide very reasonably-priced accommodations and will put you in touch with travelers from around the world as well as with locals. Just as hostel guests range in age and travel style, there is no such thing as a typical hostel. The accommodations can be anything from a dormitory room that sleeps 30 to a private room in a castle, and everything in between.
Hostels may be located in an urban high rise, a restored building in the center of Paris, or a 5-mile hike from a remote village. Most hostels worldwide now have WiFi, even computer terminals, and other modern conveniences.
You will find people of all ages in hostels, including families and seniors, though generally you will see a younger crowd in the 18-35 range. In recent years hostels have developed sophistical booking systems, with online reviews by people who have already visited, so more information is available to help you make the best choices, and making arrangements is extremely easy.