HOSTELS. In all capital letters I might add. I absolutely love hostels. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I have the money, one day I’d sure love to stay in a five star hotel with a restaurant you need to dress up to enter, a spa and maids and butlers waiting on my every need. That sounds like the life. But right now, I am a student, and I can barely afford to buy food let alone a night in a five star hotel. (any of you got $5,000 laying around?) So I stick to hostels. And honest to god, I love them. You are bound to get some bad experiences in hostels, as you would in a hotel, but don’t let that discourage you from trying again and again and again. I’ve stayed in good hostels and bad ones. When I went to Edinburgh I stayed in the Belford Hostel, it was £19 for 2 nights. or for you americans, $32. it was a converted church. There was a common room with a television, a bar, a big kitchen and lots of tables for eating, watching movies, blogging and anything else you needed. The people running the hostel were very nice. They were accommodating on everything. We were able to leave our luggage at the hostel for a pound and towels were a pound as well. Linens were provided and the beds were very comfortable. Lockers were there for your use and store your valuables. Everyone at the hostel was really nice. People from all over the world were there. Aussies, French, Spanish, eastern Europeans, Americans and more. I met some extremely friendly people are the hostel and its got to be one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in.
Now I stayed in another hostel in Japan. I was only there a night, but one night was enough. The beds were very uncomfortable. You had to make them yourself, which I don’t mind doing but most hostels have housekeeping. Each bed came with a pillow, but the pillow was one of those that’s made out of those little beans/pills. it feels like rice. we joked around saying our morning breakfast was in the pillows. It was insanely uncomfortable and there weren’t any extra pillows. Now I always bring my pillow pet with me to hostels because you never know. The next morning we were up at 6AM. I don’t know about you but I’m not a morning person. Maybe if morning was at 12 PM I would be. All the sheets and duvets had to be stripped and thrown on the floor. We gathered our stuff and got ready to go. The showers weren’t available in the morning only at night. This is a huge problem for me, firstly because I have very curly hair and sleeping on wet curly hair is a huge no-no. Secondly, showering wakes me up. It gets me ready to go for the day. Not being able to shower kept me in sleepytime mode for much longer than usual. In a dorm of about 16-20, there were 2 outlets. 2! Everyone was fighting for one. Especially since our drive home was hours long. The hostel attendant, excuse my language, was a total bitch. She was a Nazi. She chose two boys and to girls. One from each ethnicity. And she had us clean the entire hostel! About 40 people stayed there that night! We had to fold all the sheets and blankets in such a pristine way that she barked at us if it wasn’t perfect, which it wasn’t most of the time, by her impossible standards. She showed us how to fold the duvets in Japanese, not even trying to speak English. We did it the way she told us and she threw the duvet on the floor telling us it was wrong. Finally, what felt like century later we got the sheets folder and got the hell out of there. Just when I thought things were finally getting better, I discovered these itchy bumps on my legs. Yes, I had been the lucky one to get bed bugs. I was extremely pissed off. Not because of the bugs, I can deal with them. But because the hostel owner was so bent on keeping the hostel clean and pristine yet there were bed bugs! If I knew better Japanese I would have cussed her out right there and then. Screw culture norms. In the hostel there was a gym and a common room, but no bar, no television, no games or anything. To be fair, the hostel is on a mountain and usually people stay there to see the mountain and hike and swim and kayak but as we were in rainy season, none of those happened. So despite this, I continue staying in hostels. You are bound to find some bad ones, but when you find the good ones, you strike gold. To make sure you strike gold, do your research and search for some of these things, they can really make the difference between a lousy time and a great time.
-Lockers; for security reasons.
-Small or large dorms. personally, I prefer small, makes things quieter.
-Common rooms, helps you meet new people and make new friends
-A good kitchen. Making your own food and really save you some big money, so make sure theres a big kitchen for you to make some grub
-meals included. some hostels include free breakfast. Any meal that you don’t have to pay for is more money in your pocket for you to spend traveling
-Security. The more security, the better in my opinion. it makes things a little safer and a little more comfortable.
-Housekeeping; the last thing you want to do before you head off is make your own bed. Make sure theres housekeeping you get you out of the hostel earlier and faster to explore the city.#
-check out times; I cant stress how important this is. On your last day, checking out at 9 AM is much worse that checking out at 10AM, 11Am, or 12PM
-Wifi; especially if you’re like me and attached to your phone. make sure theres good wifi so you can check in, keep up with friends, check maps and lastly, blog.
-lastly, cheaper isn’t always better. Don’t be afraid to spring for the hostel that has housekeeping and breakfast for a few extra dollars. your wallet may not like it, but I guarantee you, its better than bed bugs.
Til next time.