When you are traveling for weeks together, you need to rest well. And for that you need a comfortable bed and hot showers. This is very much achievable with one simple app. Hostel World. Registration is free. Download it on your cellphone and iPad because this will be your savior throughout the holiday. There is a possibility that you might have to make last minute reservations or plan an impromptu detour.
HW gives you Hotel, B&B and Hostel listings. Now, they are all going to look inviting and appealing until you do a thorough check. Make sure you use the filter options before you even start going gooey over the first option you are shown.
Here are some of the basic filter settings I use:
- Cost (up to €25) – please don’t pay more than that unless you are out on the road without a place to go. I have lived in some fantastic places for as little as €15 per night.
- Rating (60% – 100%) A 60% rating does not necessarily mean it is bad. A 100% rating doesn’t mean it is shit expensive. I have booked a hostel bed with a 100% rating for €16 per night.
- 24 hour reception: If your flight / bus / train is arriving late into town, you want a hostel that will take you in at an unholy hour of the night. It will also mean that you are billed from that afternoon but at least you won’t be sleeping at the bus station.
What you should also check for are local taxes (some are included, some not), breakfast, linen and WiFi. Read the reviews before you book a bed. People who’ve stayed there before will generally have written about cleanliness, the staff, and accessibility of the location. Read a few reviews before you finalize the hostel.
What’s the best you can get out of your hostel stay?
If you are arriving in town before 2PM (the common Check-In time for hostels), leave your bags in the storage room. Hostels don’t charge for this. Feel free to roam around and explore the city before coming back to the hostel to rest. Free Maps! These also come with excellent advice from the staff. Do chat with the hostel staffers because they are usually very friendly and will tell you about all the cool places to visit and where to go for cheap beer 😉 Hostels sometimes have bike rentals for the day and it is an excellent method for exploring the city. You can take a ride around town on a lazy Sunday morning wh.en it is all quiet and peaceful. If you are staying for a long period, you can also use the laundry facilities at the hostel for a nominal charge. Most hostels provide trunk sized lockers under the beds. You can either rent a lock or carry one yourself. Unveil your inner MasterChef! If you want to save on food, your best option is to cook. When I lived in Paris, my weekly grocery bill was a measly 10€, 14 if I added a bottle of cheap wine. But if I were to eat out, a bare minimum meal cost was upwards of €15. So, stop at a supermarket and use the kitchen in the hostel. Get talking and you will end up making some friends. Maybe you can cook together. In Nice, my roommates and I didn’t cook well but we bought some excellent wine to wash it all down. Hostels also have discount cards for gift shops, museums, etc.
Don’t over-think about living with unknown people because they won’t remain strangers for long. You will meet some fantastic people and might even end up traveling together.