For a traveler who can’t afford expensive hotels, hosteling is an affordable alternative. Keep in mind that, in cities such as London or Paris , all hotels are expensive. Here are a few tips to traveling in the hostel system.
Learn To Get Along With Other People
You are generally going to be sharing a dormitory style room with 3 to 9 other people. If you are a loner, set in your ways, and unwilling to compromise, then this might not be the best choice for you. On the other hand, it might afford you the chance to learn some important social skills and develop some tolerance.
Use An Online Guide To Find The Cheapest Place
There are several online guides to hosteling, and you can use them all. If you are an internet user who likes several window tabs open at once, then this will be a relatively simple task. You can also check the hostel’s website, and see if they are offering a lower rate.
Read The Online Reviews
Hostelz offers its own professional reviews, along with reviews from users who have stayed at the various hostels. Most other online booking agencies allow hostelers who booked through them to post comments. Read them and interpret them as you see fit. If you are a discerning reader, you will be able to tell when a former guest is flaming the hostel online because they have a very particular axe to grind, and when someone has earnest concerns. The more genuine reviewers tend to list their likes and dislikes dispassionately, avoiding the hyperbole.
Request Any Special Needs Right Away
If you ask for something like a lower bunk at check-in, there is a 40% chance that you’ll get it. Email the hostel right after making a reservation, and that chance just went up to 90%. Keep in mind, some hostels don’t reserve the bunks, it’s just 1st come, 1st serve, but most will allow you to request this. You may also want to email them if you are arriving late (after 6:00 p.m.,) or you may find that your bed is no longer available.
Make Sure It’s Accessible
Specifically, you want to make sure that it is easy to get to using public transit (or, if you are driving in, that there is parking available). There are many hostels that offer an unbelievably low rate. Once you try to get to the place, you may find that the reason for the low price is that it’s a bit far from the action, or even difficult to get to. A good rule of thumb is that you don’t want to be too far from a subway, tram or train station. A good example of this is the Generator Hostel in Berlin. It is on the east side of the city, not at all close to Alexanderplatz , the Brandenburg Gate or the airport. However, it is located right next to the Landesberger Allee station, which means you can access all of these areas from the hostel with little effort via S-Train, tram or underground.
In addition to saving money, which is so important in any economy. When you stay at a hostel, you’ll also meet other travelers and you might enjoy the trip more than if you were traveling alone.