Posts Tagged ‘hostel’


Weekend in Cape Cod? Anyone?

August 13, 2010

The Nantucket YHA

Maybe you were a big “Dawson’s Creek” fan. Maybe you like to tell jokes with the word “Nantucket” in them. Maybe you just like beaches.

Whatever your reason for wanting to spend some time on Cape Cod, now you can do it for a little less. Starting September 6th, you can get US $25 off a stay of three consecutive nights at a YHA Cape Cod or island hostel.

While there you can bike ride, swim, kayak, play some volleyball, have a bbq, and just listen to the sound of the waves coming in. Ahhh. Nice.

For more details, check out the Nantucket hostel Facebook page.


How About an Ice Climbing Holiday?

February 24, 2010

Watching the Olympics makes me want to ski fast, jump high, catch some air and twirl until I don’t know up from down. It makes me want to figure out where I put my athletic genes and see if I can dust them off and do something wildly dangerous, or at least something that doesn’t involve a keyboard.

Rampart Creek Hostel

Combine the desire to do something physical with the need to do something affordable, and you wind up with a list of nicely-priced hostels in areas that allow you to try something new.

First, how about some ice climbing? The Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel in Banff has over 150 ice climbs within 30 minutes drive. According to their website, “This concentration of ice is unparalleled in Canada and quite possibly the world. Climbs range from a few for the timid or beginner up to those for extreme (or insane) climbers, with new mixed routes popping up each year.”

Banff Alpine Center Hostel

If you want more than one activity to choose from, try the Banff Alpine Center. Rated one of Hostelling International’s top ten hostels, the Center offers skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking and mountain biking, not to mention two kitchens, two fireplaces, Internet access, a restaurant and pub. So if 30 minutes of hiking is all you need for the day, you’ll have plenty of indoor activities and company to keep you amused.

To book your hostel, transportation and anything else, talk to a Travel CUTS student travel expert. I’ll have some more ideas for you tomorrow.

Break a leg!


New Whistler Hostel Opens in July

February 15, 2010

The New HI Whistler Hostel

If watching the Winter Olympics has gotten you thinking about a trip to Vancouver or Whistler, you’re in luck. HI’s brand-spanking-new Whistler hostel is set to open July 1, 2010, and you can book your spot right now.

The new building looks gorgeous and offers a cafe, bbq area, ski/snowboard/bike storage, games room and an excellent location, close to the mountains.

Talk to a student travel expert and book your Whistler trip today.


Hostels for Beginners

August 18, 2009
How about staying in a boat/hostel for a few nights? Try the Eastern Comfort hostel in Berlin.

How about staying in a boat/hostel for a few nights? Try the Eastern Comfort hostel in Berlin.

If you’re headed abroad for a short-term stay, say two weeks or less, a hostel is an ideal place to crash. There are plenty of other travelers to socialize with, generally clean restrooms, a kitchen for preparing your own cheap meals, and sometimes they offer perks like television, free Internet access, laundry or sightseeing discounts.

In a large city you’ll likely have a dozen or more hostels to choose from, ranging from huge hotel-like structures with their own bars and restaurants, to the smaller, mom-and-pop places that may not offer as many amenities, or even hot water. In smaller locations, say deep in the Australian outback or in out-of-the-way South American villages, your choices will be more limited, but not necessarily less comfortable. One of the nicest hostels I’ve come across is the Prarie Hotel in Parachilna, South Australia; population: 7.

Your best bet for finding a good hostel is to ask other backpackers for recommendations. If you don’t have time though, go through Hostelling International, as they only give their seal of approval to places that meet their standards. (Although those standards do seem to vary here and there.)

You need to have a HI card to get a discounted price, but if you’re going to be traveling for more than three weeks during a year, it will pay for itself in discounts. You can pick one up at any Travel CUTS shop, or online. The HI website has a list of hostels by city, so you can get addresses and plan ahead. There are other discount cards for other chains, like VIP Backpackers, so you do have options.

When packing for your hostel stay, there are a few essentials:

  • Plastic bags, both big and small, are perfect for packing any shower items that might drip or leak, as well as dirty clothes, muddy shoes or snacks.
  • Flip flops make great shower shoes (as in going to and from, or during if the floor’s too creepy).
  • Most hostels give you bed linens, or let you rent them for a few dollars, but it can’t hurt to bring along a simple sheet. Check your local thrift store and get something you won’t mind throwing out before you return home. You can sew the sides of the sheet together to make a sleeping bag out of it, or leave it in tact to use at the beach, out camping, or on a bus or train ride.
  • A small flashlight is ideal for late-night trips to the bathroom. Try to find one of those small things that attaches to a keychain.
  • Finally, a clothesline is compact and can be hung just about anywhere so that you can handwash and dry clothes.

When choosing a place to stay, also remember that you have the right to look a hostel over and see a room before you hand over any money. If you walk into a place that feels sketchy or makes you uncomfortable, walk back out and look for something else.

The hostel culture is perfect for travelers who can eat, sleep, and shower anywhere. But even if you’re not sure that sounds like you, give it a try for a few nights. It’s laid-back, friendly, and you’ll meet people and have experiences that you’ll remember forever. You’ll probably get some great stories out of it too, so share the best, and worst, of what you find.


Stay in a Castle, or a Jail

July 6, 2009

Carbisdale CastleAs long as you’re traveling, meeting new people and jumping into new experiences, you should make the most out of every night by staying somewhere that will offer you more than just a place to sleep and a warm-ish bathing opportunity.

Even on a student traveler budget, you can stay in some very swanky places. The castle in this photo right here is just one of them, but not a bad one to start with. Carbisdale Castle in Scotland has the usual bunk beds and dining area, but it also has a collection of fine art, a statue gallery, and some rooms that may be a wee bit haunted. If that interests you, ask to stay in The Spook Room.

Also in Scotland is Loch Lomond Castle in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and Rua Reidh Lighthouse (which is a lighthouse and not a castle, but still very cool and only £10 for a hostel bed).

Stahleck hostelIf you’re sticking to the continent, no problem. Germany, Italy, and Switzerland have castle hostels as well, all affordable prices. Jugendherberge Burg Stahleck in Germany (pictured here) is located above the wine-grower’s town of Bacharach in the Loreley Valley and beds start at £17.40 a night. For more German castles, visit this page and do a search using the handy “Castles” checkbox option.

For castle hostels in the Netherlands, start with Kasteel Westhove. And if you’re more of a chalet person, then the Chalet Martin in the Swiss Alps is for you. Beds start at £12 a night and you can’t beat the view.

jail hostelThe only downside to castle living is that after staying at one, you’re going to want to leave your usual dorm-style accommodation to the commoners. If that’s the case, how about a couple of nights in a jail? After that, even a thin, plastic mattress will seem pretty good. The Ottawa Jail Hostel in Canada was a working prison for more than 100 years before being taken over by travelers. It does offer wi-fi, and you probably won’t have to eat any gruel, but you can pretend that you’re a hardened criminal and stalk the corridors looking shifty.


Europe’s Best Beachside Hostels for Student Travelers

June 11, 2009

London’s Times Online was kind enough to put together this list of Europe’s fabulous seaside hostels.

Once you’ve had enough of the museums and churches and other historical sights, try one of these relaxing and affordable getaways. (See the Times for the full list.)

The Pink Palace, Corfu, Greece

The Pink Palace, Corfu, Greece

This hostel features a massage service, free WiFi, PlayStation, free parking, and a swimming pool all for 20 Euros a night in a dorm room.

How about some time on the French Riviera? Two people can split a room here for 55-110 Euros a night. You’ll have Armani on one side of the hostel and Louis Vuitton on the other, which is about as close to either of those brands as I’ll ever get.

PINK PALACE, Corfu, Greece
This hostel seems to make it on every list: Most Popular Hostels, Best Party Hostels, Most Famous/Infamous Hostels, you name it. There’s really no point in traveling to Greece if you aren’t going to spend a day or two here, if only to be able to tell people you did. The 24-hour bar alone is reason to give it a try, but they also offer boat excursions, kayaking, a jacuzzi, pool table, ping pong and more.


Get a Free Night (or Two) in London

April 6, 2009
The Generator Bar - Because everyone looks cool when they're blue and glowy.

The Generator Bar - Because everyone looks cool when they're blue and glowy.

I love London. It’s full of history and pubs and English boys with skillfully mussed hair who shout “Oi!” and use sexy slang. The last time I was there I stayed at the Generator Hostel in Russell Square, a couple of blocks from the British museum and close to the downtown theater and nightclub area.

The Generator is similar to a BASE Backpackers, with a bar right in the building that offers great drink specials. The lodgings aren’t plush, but if you’re looking for a good time in an excellent location, this is the place for you.

And now you can get a night or two at the Generator for free by booking one of these Topdeck tours with Travel CUTS (only if you’re booking a trip from Canada; sorry Americans, this deal isn’t open to you). With other tours you get a free stay at the Umi Hotel in the Notting Hill area of London, which is equally cool, but maybe not as wild.

With Topdeck you can choose between a EuroCamping tour (sleep under the European skies!), or a EuroClub trip, where you stay in hostels, cabins, castles & yachts. 

Summer is coming, people, and your student days are coming to a close. Start planning your travel adventures now while the deals are still good!