When dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a student, I stayed in youth hostels around Europe, which were pretty basic. The dorms were like prison cells with bunk beds so hard and decor limited to bed and cupboard. You shared with strangers and had gruel for breakfast. You showered communally. They were not attractive in the slightest. It's hard to think of it now, but I used to hitch-hike too as far afield as Vienna. I wouldn't recommend that now, but students in those days were made of strong stuff, the world was a different place, and we coped.
Kay and boyfriend departed from Heathrow two days ago for Bangkok on a two decker Airbus, every luxury at their fingertips. They're on a six-week backpacking tour of Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam. This is the room they've got in a hostel for the next five days in Bangkok. Ok, it's a bit minimalist, but has TV and attractive lighting AND an ensuite shower. AND privacy. Oh my word, what we would have given for that in my day.