If You Are Nervous About Staying in Hostels….

by brian on March 6, 2009

First let me say our get together in New York City last night was incredible! Those of you who missed it, I am sorry you did.

I’ll have pictures of that over the weekend. If you were there, please send your pictures to me asap and I can incorporate them into any future blog posts.

One topic brought up last night by last by loyal reader Nicole and her friend Sylvia was staying in hostels.

The dorm room style with multiple beds is not the only option in hostels. You CAN have a single room, all to yourself, with a private bathroom in a hostel! Just depends on the hostel you pick.

Two advantages over hotels:

A single in a hostel can still be cheaper than a 3 star hotel…with the same amenities. Anywhere from 20%-60% cheaper.…even more.

The hostel has the advantage of being able to make quick friends and providing resources for cheap or even free activities and events, like tours, museums, bars, clubs, etc.

So don’t throw out hostels because you don’t want to have 5-10 people breathing your air at night. There are other ways to save costs and be COMFORTABLE in a hostel.

Some more places I’ve stayed in:

This is St. Christopher’s Inn in Paris. I stayed here for about $30US a night. A new hostel, just opened in the last year, you can tell they took the mistakes of other hostels and learned from them.

They had a bar/restaurant on the ground floor of the building and free WiFi. Free breakfast (toast, coffee) included. No kitchen for your own cooking.

First, bright airy rooms. Then each bed has a pull curtain for privacy.

 If You Are Nervous About Staying in Hostels....
The lockers that hold your valuables are under the bed and can be locked with a combination lock. They make a lot of noise when you pull them out and open them so you will disturb others if you need something when everyone else is asleep. I affectionately call them “shark cages”.
 If You Are Nervous About Staying in Hostels....
In Athens I was at a hostel called Athenstyle for about $26US a night. Very nice place and since Athens was quiet (except for the protesting farmers!) I had the 4 bed hostel room to myself for the 5 days I was there. Only thing: 5 Euro ($6.33US) to wash one load of clothes! Too, too much Athenstyle!

They provided free breakfast (toast, coffee) had a full kitchen for cooking your own meals and a rec room downstairs for playing pool and screening movies.
 If You Are Nervous About Staying in Hostels....This type of room is called an ‘ensuite’ because the bathroom is in the room. Meaning you don’t have to walk down a cold hallway half naked with your towel and toothbrush.
 If You Are Nervous About Staying in Hostels....
Claudio, a cool Italian from Milan working at Athenstyle. You’ll find that most of the people working at hostels in Europe are not locals, but travelers who decided to stay in a foreign country and found work at hostels. Definitely adds to the international flavor when you’re in Greece and the guy who checks you in is from Italy, Argentina, Canada, etc. If You Are Nervous About Staying in Hostels....

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

rhonalala March 6, 2009 at 9:35 PM

Thanks for this post! It is sooo helpful. I am planning a weekend trip to Paris in May and I will stay at the hostel you recommended. I trust your opinion.


brian March 7, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Glad it was helpful. Gratifying to know. If you already know your dates for May, book the hostel now. Especially if it is going to include weekends. Weekends were full in the winter when I was there, so when the warm weather comes for May, it will be packed quickly.

Nice spot though, close to two train lines and in a quiet residential neighborhood.


smlacava March 9, 2009 at 10:18 PM

Hey, thanks for your comment on my blog. I really like the angle you’re going with on yours. People don’t realize that traveling doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Even in Japan, where traveling is expensive, you can outweigh the cost by staying in a cheap hostel. And hostels in Japan are SOO nice and clean, like everything else. Also, taking the night bus to travel with is great. People think of America’s Greyhound buses when I say night bus (i.e., smelly, disgusting buses). Night buses here though are a great relatively cheap way to travel!


brian March 10, 2009 at 12:32 AM

I stayed in the middle of Tokyo in Asakusa for about $30US a night. Had a great time and the place was clean with a kitchen, fridge and free WiFi. I was set and had all I needed.
Night buses in Japan and in Europe the overnight trains are the way to go. Completely agree!


Suzanne March 10, 2009 at 6:21 AM

I think Hostels are perfectly fine. But you have to come prepared. First for me … bring small can of disinfectant spray and your own pillow case. Flip flops are a must in the bathroom.
Lastly, try and time the use of the bathroom to be right after it is cleaned.

My last experience in a hostel was on in Manatiales Uruguay where I shared with 5 others. I got the top bunk with a view of the ocean. Also, the bedding sheets were in a sealed bag (meaning laundered). There was a pool, bar with DJ, free breakfast and tasty dinner (at a small cost).

Definitely worth it.


brian March 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Great points! I didn’t know you went the hostel route in South America. Very cool.


jess September 27, 2009 at 9:18 PM

My biggest fear is getting bed bugs!! How do you prevent that? I had a friend of a friend who stayed at a hostel (I forget where exactly, some European city, haha.) and ended up with bed bugs!


brian September 28, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Get recommendations from other travelers, read reviews online and whenever you stay in a hostel, take a sleep sack. Thinner than a sleeping bag but you can lie in it on your hostel bed with no problem. Look at the Travel Store on this blog or look here: http://astore.amazon.com/ndwt-20/detail/B001AIHFUO


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