By, Matthew Kim
Whether you’re traveling across the country, or heading overseas to Europe, hostels can be an efficient way to save money on your trip.
For those of you who don’t know what a hostel is, no, it isn’t everything you’ve seen in the horror films about people getting abducted and having awful things happen to them.
While that may be true in some rare cases… for the most part, a hostel is a relaxed accommodation area that provides cheap bunking and food for travelers.
But, there are a few things you should know before deciding to stay in one. Here are 6:
1.Know where you’re staying: Before you even leave, do your research. Know exactly where you’ll be staying and what accommodations are provided. Know if the hostel is co-ed or if you’ll have dorm mates. There are several types of hostels: flash packing, family, party and much more. Hostels.com will give you a great look into everything you’ll want to know about a specific hostel and what they provide. They even have ratings on service, cleanliness and atmosphere. One example of a great review is the Beagle Houseboat hostel in Amsterdam. It has a good location with an affordable price and good ratings for all other categories.
2. Know how much it will cost: Rates are incredibly cheap. For the hostel listed above, which is in walking distance from Amsterdam’s Central Station, listings start at around $1.50 per person, per night. Prices in the United States are a little more steep with nights in New York City costing around $35 to $40 per person, per night. Going back to food, staying in the Hamilton Heights Garden Apartment hostel in NY comes with free BBQ.
3. Know what to pack: Bring your own sleep sheet, which is two sheets sewn together that forms a thinner sleeping bag. You can buy them for as cheap as $25 dollars on Amazon. Aside from that, make sure you bring an ample amount of clothing, a padlock, some sort of Swiss Army knife, and a pair of headphones. For a few other traveling necessities, you can check out this blog.
4. Know what to expect: This isn’t the Ritz Carlton. Don’t expect to walk into the bathroom and see marble floors or a fancy shower head. Many hostels are family run and accommodate average bathrooms that are kept up with semi-regularly. Chances are, the hostel won’t be the cleanest place you’ve ever stayed, but that’s why you’re paying half the price of a night in a hotel. Expect noise. When you gather groups of people into an apartment/townhouse sized area, there’s bound to be racket. Accept it for what it is, or go join in on the fun!
5. Understand hostel dorm etiquette: When you first walk into your room, if there are people already staying in the hostel, say hello and introduce yourself. You’ll be seeing them a lot over the next few days, or however long your stay will be. With that being said, give your dorm mates space and keep the areas you use as clean as possible. Make sure you’re keeping track of your belongings. After all, you don’t know who these people are in the slightest. But, make sure you share what you’ve got. The more giving you are, the more your newly found friends will accept you.
6. Enjoy yourself: If this is your first time going on a trip and staying in a hostel, soak in the experience. There are a lot of differences between hotel and hostel stay, but you should appreciate them. Staying in a hostel will boost your desire to get in touch with those around you and encourage you to come out of your enclosed shell while on vacation.
I hope you all are encouraged from reading this to go out and try staying in a hostel yourself!
For a few more tips about hostel stay, visit this blog post from IndianaJo.