HoStels - experience?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Holadem, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello folk,

    I am going to need a getaway in europe this fall and winter, 7 to 10 days. I typically limit travels to places where I can crash with family and friends and in europe that would be France, Belgium and perhaps England. But I am looking to push those boundaries this time around - at minimal cost [​IMG]. Outside of business travel, professional conventions or quick weekend getaways, I find hotels to be a tremendous waste of money.

    I will be travelling solo.

    I checked the prices for one in Barcelona in september, just for kicks, and it's about $25 a day. Sounds too good to be true. So...

    Have you any experience with hostels? What should I look out for? While I have no problem sleeping on bunk beds and such, I DO have some concerns about hygiene and cleanliness.

    --
    H
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    4,457
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Is it uncommon for adults to use hostels? I thought they catered mainly to traveling students on a budget. But if not I hope you get one that's like the place in the movie Swimming Pool. [​IMG]
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,813
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Some will charge more if you're over a certain age. I've really only stayed at two official "hostels" in Italy. Both were a bargain and provided a great place to crash. They didn't have all of the amenities of a hotel (TV.. air conditioning.. pool), but they were a comfortable place to crash.

    I'd recommend picking up a travel book that rates places to stay. I'm sure some of them can be grungy.
     
  4. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    4,381
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    "on a little street in Singapore"
    Real Name:
    Yee Ming Lim
    I stayed in hostels while doing the obligatory European backpacking trip post-college.

    It's really a mixed bag: some are very clean and well-maintained, others less so. One tip is to bring your own sheets, since some basic hostels don't provide them with the basic price, will rent you some if you need them but in those cases the sheets may or may not be up to your standard.

    IIRC the travel guides (Lonely Planet, Frommers etc) have fairly useful write-ups on the hostels in major cities, and can be quite detailed.

    As an aside, most of the hostels I stayed in were official IYH hostels, which strictly segregate the sexes; in Salzburg, we stayed in a non-official hostel which allows mixed dorms. One night, whilst most of the occupants were sleeping, we were awoken by a drunken pair returning to the dorm, the guy was trying to find a cassette or something that he wanted to play for the girl he'd hooked up with, and was noisily searching through his things. She was simply getting amorous with him, and told him to "make love to me". They left the dorm shortly thereafter...

    Next morning, turns out another female occupant of the dorm was one of the guy's friends/travel companions (must have been platonic friends) and was embarrased to find out her friend had made such a ruckus in the middle of the night -- especially since she'd slept right through the disturbance...
     
  5. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I will be 27 at the time I plan on travelling and I am looking to go (back) to grad school :b

    --
    H
     
  6. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    4,457
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    See this is what you get when you don't post your birthdate in your profile. [​IMG] The pic I saw of you looked like a pro football player. [​IMG]
     
  7. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 1999
    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've been to about 50 or so different hostels in my lifetime. I just stayed at 2 different hostels in Frankfurt a month ago - and I just turned 34.

    First off, there is no age limit when staying at hostels - although you may end up feeling old depending on where you stay.

    The thing about hostels is that staying at one is like playing the slots - you never know what you're going to get. In fact the same hostel can have a completely different vibe depending on who is staying there at a particular time. It can be empty, busy, convivial, boring, younger crowd, older crowd, laid back, party scene, lights out at 10 PM or drunks stumbling in at 4 AM. It all depends.

    Your best bet is to check the Internet for Hostel reviews or stay at a hostel that is sanctioned by Hostelling International if you just want a quiet place to stay.

    A HI [Hostelling International] hostel has to meet certain criteria, normally has a no drinking policy, and has a lights out time of around 10 PM. They are usually more professional and cleaner than other hostels.

    In general the hostels in Europe and Canada are much better than the ones in the US - although there is nothing to stop someone from renting out their basement and calling it "Joe's Hostel", so you have to watch out.

    You need to have a certain mindset to stay at hostels. It won't be the Hyatt, and there are times when I've said to myself that I will never stay in a hostel again.

    But there are 3 main pluses to staying at hostels:

    1. Cost - if you are the person that travels a lot [especially for long treks] even budget hotels will grind down your budget faster than anything else. Staying at hostels will stretch your budget very, very, far.

    2. Meeting new people - this is probably the best reason to stay at hostels. You get to meet people from all over the world and become friends very quickly. Pretty soon you are seeing the sights together or going out to the pubs as a group. Pretty soon you are learning about different cultures, customs, and attitudes. You just can't replicate this experience anywhere else.

    3. Location - most Hostels are downtown in the heart of the city instead of some lonely Motel 6 off the Interstate in the middle of nowhere.
     
  8. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2000
    Messages:
    1,307
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would add also to watch what you bring into the hostel. They are a great bargain (we just got back from Guatemala where we paid $6/night for 2 people to stay in a private double room with a private bath...nicer than some of the hotels I've stayed in the US). But if you're going to bring your iPod, portable DVD, digital camera, and lots of expensive stuff, make sure you find a hostel with locked storage or a safe. Barcelona is notorious for property crime, so I would be especially cautious there.

    Totally agree with Jason L about meeting new people....ususally there are a few that have been in town for a while who can give you insights about the place and just someone to talk to in your own language or another language you understand [​IMG].

    Make sure when you order your copy of Lonely Planet or Let's Go that you get the most current version...lots of uncertified places can go downhill fast, especially if they have a steady stream of travelers coming in the door on the advice of an outdated entry in a travel book.
     
  9. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I never did get a chance to thank you guys for your excellent contributions [​IMG].

    --
    H
     

Share This Page