Wait a minute… Hostels are for kids in their early twenties trying to save money so they can stay out all night, right?
Not at all. Well, not totally. Yes, some hostels can be full of partiers (*cough* Edinburgh) and I am usually far from being the youngest person present. But did you know that there are no age restrictions on hostels?
The easiest way to find a hostel is to Google your destination city plus the word "hostel." Before staying anywhere, I also do an internet search for the name of the hostel plus the word "review." Otherwise, Hosteling International (HI) is the authority on hostels around the globe; they offer certification for their participating hostels to ensure quality accommodations. Some HI hostels require memberships, which varies from country to country, so check with Hosteling International to see if you’ll need to purchase a membership. You can buy a membership on-line or in-person upon arriving at your hostel. If the hostel you’re interested is not a member of HI, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a great one; it just means that they may not adhere to HI standards. I’ve stayed in plenty of quality hostels that had no affiliation to HI.
Double-check the cleaning hours while booking a hostel. Odd hours for cleaning means you will not have access to your room or even the facility during the day. I remember going to a movie in La Rochelle, France just to get out of the cold because it was winter and the hostel was closed during the day.
Bring your own sleepsheet. Some hostels will forgo laundry and sheets to bring down costs. Verify ahead of time if you’ll need one.
If you’re up for a little adventure, want to meet some well-traveled folks or are just looking for ideas of where to go next, try staying at a hostel. Yes, you may be older than your roomies, but an open mind and friendly smile is a guaranteed passport to a conversation… plus, travel is all about getting outside your comfort zone!
When was the last time you stayed in a hostel?
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Former travel disaster, now a serial traveler, travel safety advisor, and author of The Travel Safety Handbook. Poster boy for learning from others mistakes. Now I provide travelers with the tools to focus on their travel goals; I advise business travelers,prepare study-abroad students and equip families with the knowledge to return home successful with memories that will last a lifetime, not horror stories. Follow JC on his blog at Travel-Safer.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
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