Just Peachy Thoughts: Hostels

In February, I traveled to Europe (London and Paris), for the first time. I was just mere weeks from returning from my two-week Thailand trip, and didn’t want to spend a ton on room and board. So instead of booking a hotel, my friend and I booked a hostel instead.

A hostel is an inexpensive lodging accommodation, usually geared toward young travelers. It usually has dorm-style sleeping arrangements and a common area. Hostels are super popular in Europe and are highly recommended if you’re wanting to save some euros. Here is my pro & cons list:

Pros:

  • Price!
    • The price is usually right and cheap for a hostel versus a hotel
  • Social:
    • The hostels I stayed in were six girls in one room. It allowed us to talk and ask where people are from. The hostels I stayed at also had a bar, so it allowed for even more mingling
  • Kitchen space:
    • If you’re looking to save your coins even more, you can cook your own food in their kitchen space
  • Breakfast:
    • Most hostels also include a free breakfast. Don’t expect an American sausage, bacon, and grits meal, but maybe a croissant, cereal, and yogurt instead. But my motto is: “If it’s for free…it’s for me!”
  • Convenience:
    • I’m the type of traveler that likes to be in the room just long enough to shower and sleep. A hostel provided me a space to do so

Cons:

  • Privacy:
    • I live alone and haven’t shared a room since freshman year of college, so I’ve gotten pretty used to being alone. There’s hardly any privacy at a hostel. Now, some hostels will allow you to book a single or double room (if they have them), but of course those rooms are a little bit more expensive than a when you’re sharing a room with 6+ other people. Some hostels don’t have the privacy curtain on the beds either.
  • Bathrooms:
    • I lucked out with the hostels I stayed in being that they had full bathrooms in the room. One hostel had a sink in the main room area, a room just for the toilet, and a bathroom with just a shower and another sink in it. The hostel in Paris had a toilet with a sink in one room and a bathroom with a shower and sink in it. That hostel also had additional restrooms on the floor as well. Very convenient for two things:
      • 1: when there are a lot of people in the room and you just want to brush your teeth and someone else needs to shower
      • 2: For taking a #2….the bathroom outside the rooms are the best for those private moments 🙂
  • Risk of Theft:
    • While my hostel in London had a locker large enough to put my carry-on size luggage along with my purse in, my hostel in Paris had a locker just big enough for my tiny cross-body purse. While I like to believe the world is full of good people, theft can happen anywhere.  Check to see if they have lockers to lower your risk of your belongings being stolen by roommates or hostel staff.
  • Roommates:
    • A little different from privacy. I liked meeting my roommates and making brief conversations with people from all over the world. The only problem was you’re in a shared space. Lights on? Lights off? You can’t sleep when it’s not cold in the room, but a roommate needs the heat on to sleep? WHO DETERMINES THESE THINGS IN THE ROOM?!?!
  • Older buildings:
    • While I thought this aspect was really cool, keep in mind that a lot of hostels are renovated older buildings. By the way, a lot of hostels/buildings in Europe may NOT have air conditioning due to the cooler climate. So if you’re visiting in the summer months, a small fan might be vital to you!

Hostel survival guide:

  • Trip Advisor and Hostel World reviews! Read them
  • Helpful things to pack
    • Flip flops for the shower
    • Towels: Some hostels don’t provide or you will have to rent them
    • Eye mask: one of my roommates slept with their bed light on…
    • Earplugs: The bars CAN get social and loud…unless you sleep like a brick, ear plug may work so you can get to sleep before 2:30 a.m.
  • Book a room that is right for you:
    • Many hostels offer single-sex rooms while some offer co-ed rooms. Some offer single occupancy rooms while some will have you sleeping 20 people deep. Book what YOU are comfortable with
  • Entertainment:
    • Having Netflix on my phone with earbuds was a nice way to spend some quiet time in my bunk
    • Book, if you’re old school

Overall, I would totally stay in a hostel again (I think..maybe in a double or single room). I appreciated the lively, social feel of hostels, but as someone who lives alone and used to my own space, I kind of felt like an extra on Orange is the New Black. But I’ll try anything twice before I say that I hate it.

Stayed in a hostel before? What did you think?

Happy Travels!

JayMo

 

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