One of my favorite parts of planning a trip is finding a fun place to stay. Usually, that means a hostel.
It used to be that hostels were cheap because they offered very little. You got a spot on the floor for your sleeping bag, or maybe a tiny bed, and there was a kitchen you could use to cook some noodles.
Now, many hostels are part of national or international chains (HI, Base, Nomads, St. Christopher’s) and the increased competition means they’re offering you more perks.
Keep this in mind when you’re looking for a hostel and be sure to read all the fine print about what you’re getting for your money. They may offer free breakfast, bike rentals, walking tours, movie nights, laundry, Internet access and other activities.
If you’re in a big city, chances are most hostels will look about the same and offer the same services. Head out a bit farther though and you could come across some really unique opportunities. How about staying in a renovated prison? A lighthouse might be fun, or a train, a castle, a treehouse or a boat.
Check out this Hostelling International video of 100 hostels around the world to get a better idea of what’s out there. HI isn’t the only place to stay, it’s just the first video I found.
Unfortunately, I’ve only stayed at three of these locations, but after seeing the photos I’d love to get to Bahrain, Bratislava and Brumund.
The most important thing to bring when staying in a hostel (besides flip flops for the shower), is an open mind and reasonable expectations. Your hostel may not be exactly the way you imagined it, but with the right attitude you can quickly turn a disappointment into an opportunity.
For example: Wi-Fi isn’t working? Then I guess you’ll just have to spend the evening talking with that hot chick in the lounge. No change for the laundry? Maybe the cute guy in the kitchen has some coins he can spare.
So where are you going to stay next?