Navigating European Hostels
Summer is upon us!!! For those of you jet-setting to Europe on a budget, the best place to stay is a hostel. They are inexpensive, safe, and a great way to meet other travelers. Hostels are not like what you see in movies. They are not disgusting and dangerous but rather pretty clean and a great place to rest after a long day of exploring a new city. At lot of them will have nightly activities, bar crawls, or other activities to do for free or for cheap. But not all hostels are the same. Here are some things to look for when booking your hostel stay.
A youth hostel.
Make sure the hostel you're planning on staying at is a youth hostel. This means it will only be travelers under a certain age (usually 30) This is super important to make sure you don't have any weird old guys who snore/ fart/ burp/ choke on their own saliva in their sleep with a nasty foot infection who come in a 3 am belligerently drunk and haven't showered in god knows how long-- are staying in your room. Trust me on this one.
An in-room locker.
Keep your belongings safe and secure while you spend your days exploring. I never had anything stolen from me but other people in the hostels reported their cash, laptop or passport being stolen. On that note, make sure you bring a personal lock or Euro coins to actually lock the locker.
Chances are when you are traveling in Europe, the last thing you want to deal with is lugging sheets and a towel in your bag. Save the valuable space for other necessities and make sure the hostel offers sheets and towels. Most hostels have sheets but you have to pay about 2 Euros to rent a towel. Do it. It's worth it.
A given. Using cell data in Europe can be hella pricey. The wifi at the hostel might be one of the only times you'll be able to use your phone to communicate with your friends and family.
Just a good way to save money while traveling. It is usually milk and cereal but it's better than nothing. Some hostels will also provide free dinner or super cheap dinner which is an awesome perk. Some hostels will also have a community kitchen so you can buy groceries and prepare your own food.
A bedside outlet.
Keep your phone close to you while you're sleeping so you can browse before bed and turn off your alarm in the morning before you wake up the entire dorm at 6 a.m.
Hostel bars can be LIT. and the drinks are usually much cheaper than at other bars. Some hostels will even let you go to their bar even if you aren't staying there. Hostel bars were my favorite place to meet fellow travelers and even find people to explore with during the trip.
Proximity to the attractions you want to see.
Going to Paris and the #1 thing you want to see is the Eiffel Tower? Make sure your hostel is not all the way on the other side of town. If the things you want to see are all spread apart, consider booking a hostel that is near public transit. Your feet will thank you later.
Not every hostel you're going to come across in Europe (and in your price range) will have all of the amenities. You may have to pick and choose what is the most important things for you but these are all important things to consider when choosing a hostel. As always, read reviews from other travelers when booking or email the hostel if something is not clear on the website!
My favorite site for booking a hostel is hostelworld.com
They have real reviews from other travelers, detailed photos of the accommodations, the distance from main attractions, and a list of everything the hostel has to offer.
Have you ever stayed at a hostel before? Have questions about staying in a hostel for the first time? Let's chat in the comments!