Hosteling - Who else had this experience? At home Country? Abroad?

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    Sep 18, 2010 11:36 PM GMT
    Spending the night at a backpackers hostel, hence hosteling was one of the greatest experience I had in life as a single person. It was also a tremendous budget saver, as each hostel had a members kitchen, buying and cooking your own meals also gave a sense of adventure and independence, as well as a hot-spot for socialising and making friends.
    I was introduced to it by a mate as we cycled around the Isle of Wight in the 1980s.
    The old Youth Hostel Association (YHA) facilities were strict - check in after 4.pm, assigned a bed in a single sex dorm which you have to make yourself, emphasis in washing and putting away dishes and pans in the members kitchen, lights out at 11.30pm, then yes, the morning duty carried out by all members to keep running costs down. Such duties included washing breakfast dishes, sweeping dormitory floors, hoovering the lounge carpet, mopping the bathroom/kitchen floor, cleaning the windows, scrubbing the shower cubicles and so on. The YHA England & Wales then became a member of Hosteling International (HI) a global organisation allowing one to book a bed anywhere in the world where there is a YHA hostel.
    Youth Hostels became Backpackers during the nineties, and due to rising competition, such as in the USA the HI-AYHA had for the first time the Rucksackers North America as rivals, the morning duty was done away with.
    Down under, the HI-YHA Australia performed a kind of social experiment, the Dollar-or-Duty. As predicted, all travelers preferred to pay that one extra dollar, myself included.
    The rise of private hostels also rivalled the YHA, one that I spent a whole month in was at Jerusalem, Israel, where both men and women slept in the same dorm, many couples setting up a bedspace on the wide ledge under the window. It had an air of chaos, very different to the formalities of the YHA.
    The best ever hostel I ever stayed in was the HI-AYHA San Diego Downtown, when it shared the same building with the YMCA in Broadway in 1995, before moving to Market Street. With no curfew, I was able to have a night on the town as well as use of the kitchen as late as 2.00am. I made some good friends there. The largest hostel I ever stayed was the 624 bed HI-AYHA New York City, but I didn't rate this hostel highly because of its cramped kitchen.
    To sum up, I hosteled in the UK, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Singapore, Australia and the USA.
    Fantastic stuff!
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    Sep 19, 2010 12:39 AM GMT
    Hosteling is awesome. Never done it in the U.S. or mainland Europe, always been hotels for those, but I did it in Egypt and the U.K. and it was a great experience. It's not for everyone, but for the price and the experiences you get from it, it's totally worth it.
  • 2PecanDeBeurr...

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    Sep 19, 2010 2:09 AM GMT
    hosteling in Amsterdam was a great adventure. rooms were very clean and comfortable. the morning breakfast was fruit, juices, milk, soft rolls, europeon cold cuts(various salami, wurst, etc,), and boiled eggs. the host very helpful.
    also before going, i went to a gay bookstore and purchased a guide which has international and national listings.the listing shows the various hostel rates and rating.
    ask the clerks they can help you. with this guide, you can contact the hostel, inquire about reservations/availibility/guidelines.
    j.c
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    Sep 19, 2010 3:22 AM GMT
    I've stayed at many hostels and find them a great place to crash for a night or two on a budget, especially in an expensive city.

    They are not 5 star but have a tolerable mattress, kitchen and bath. Expect a little noise though. There has always been a multitude of resources available on "things to do" and have at times even traveled with some of the people I've met there.

    Travelling for a marathon, I will stay in a hotel. I appreciate the solitude and comfort.
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    Sep 19, 2010 3:38 AM GMT

    I always stay in hostels whenever I travel. Hostelling in Europe is way more popular than in Canada, which is again more popular than in the US. Hostels in Germany are the best. They are mostly clean. Buffet breakfasts are included. And if they serve meals, they are affordable and essentially all-you-can-eat too.


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    Sep 19, 2010 3:42 AM GMT
    ive stayed in two hostels. Both were in Peru and both were pretty cool. I went to Peru in 2008 and the hostel i stayed in there was nice. It was tropical themed so like everything was made from bamboo haha the courtyard(it was a pretty big hostel) had all these trees and a spa in the middle of it. The second time i went to Peru this past summer i stayed in a hostel at the base of Machu Pichu. This one was way nicer and overlooked the streets of the town i was in. Super cheap too and the people running it were super nice and also our tour guides for the hike up at machu pichu. =D
  • monstapex

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    Sep 19, 2010 3:46 AM GMT
    Whatever you do , do not stay at any of Eli Roth's Hostels.They eat people there .
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    Sep 19, 2010 3:48 AM GMT
    monstapex saidWhatever you do , do not stay at any of Eli Roth's Hostels.They eat people there .


    they dont eat them, they auction them off for people to torture and kill... there's a difference icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:24 AM GMT
    . . . I have had great experiences at hostels in Werfen, Austria (a castle that I think appeared in the movie Where Eagles Dare), a villa in Florence (Villa Camerata), a big house in Namur, Belgium, and so on . . .
  • BlackBeltGuy

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    Sep 19, 2010 5:01 AM GMT
    did it in the US and i loved it, met so many awesome people seriously
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    Sep 19, 2010 5:14 AM GMT
    I've stayed in a hostel in San Francisco once just out of college when I was looking for a job. It was a great experience. Lots of cool people to meet, cheap and nice room, and great location right by Union Square. I'd totally stay in another.
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    Sep 19, 2010 5:52 AM GMT
    I recently stayed at a hostel in Cork, Ireland. Would not recommend it. The room was not exactly sanitary, and for the price I could have gotten the comforts of a B&B. Some of the staff were not very friendly either. The only plus was that it was right in the heart of town.
  • drypin

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    Sep 19, 2010 8:07 AM GMT
    In 1995 I traveled across the UK for 2 months, then the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic and France for 4 months with my bicycle, staying in hostels all over. In general, I found them clean, located in cool places, and filled with others who value travel on a budget and are glad to share their experiences of what to see or not to bother with.
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    Sep 19, 2010 8:12 AM GMT
    Loved Hosteling.. did it in Spain!
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    Sep 19, 2010 10:14 AM GMT
    One year some friends and I did a 3 week trek around Nepal. We stay in "Tea Houses." Anyone else experience TH. It's a cross between a Hostel and B$B. I'm talking mostly 2-3 room houses. I recommended trying it if you're into trekking for several weeks. It was a break from tenting. The people were great. Surprisingly most spoke some english.icon_razz.gif
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    Sep 19, 2010 10:28 AM GMT
    noren said . . . I have had great experiences at hostels in Werfen, Austria (a castle that I think appeared in the movie Where Eagles Dare).


    Did you have to hang on to the gondola roof with your ice axe? icon_eek.gif
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    Sep 19, 2010 10:35 AM GMT
    I have stayed in Hostels in the USA, New Zealand, Bolivia SA, Mexico, Costa Rica. (Have not been to Europe yet.)
    They are all similar in that they are a basic, inexpensive place to stay. You meet people from all over the World !!
    Wooden frame bunks are better (quiter) then metal frame bunks because they squeek less.
    Do NOT leave valueables unattended in your room, as most anyone can get into a room.

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    Sep 22, 2010 10:56 PM GMT
    There are good hostels and bad hostels. I stayed at one in Dublin that was as clean and comfortable, with really plush linens and comforters, like you'd find in a great hotel. Of course you still shared a room with six beds, but it was very comfy.

    I've also stayed in hostels that were trashy, smelly, and felt unsafe.

    You have to be discerning when you pick a hostel.
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    Sep 22, 2010 11:22 PM GMT
    I've done hosteling in the states and bordello-ing abroad........
    The former is very cool the latter, well, be prepared to earn your keep in ways you never smelled or expected...........

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    Sep 22, 2010 11:25 PM GMT
    Mahalo to all for their experiences! I will be staying at a hostel for the first time in October in the DC area. I was hesitant, but my friend Janie convinced me. I'm saving about $3,700 over what I usually spend for this conference that I go to annually.
  • MikemikeMike

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    Sep 24, 2010 9:05 AM GMT
    I just heard on the news tonight bedbugs are up 500% over the past few years!!!!!icon_evil.gif
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    Sep 25, 2010 11:18 AM GMT
    Back in the day (20+) years ago, I left Boston and spent a year backpacking.

    Traveled to Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan (Briefly) and Hawaii.

    Tahiti - fantastic better than you can imagine
    New Zealand - stunningly beautiful
    Australia - just what u imagine and the Mates are awesome. G'day!
    Bali - beautiful, hot, exotic, my mate ended up in jail - icon_sad.gif
    Singapore - really nice - great shopping, food, very nice people
    Thailand - simple awesome -
    Malaysia - Great food, great people, great beaches
    Japan - was too crowded - we left
    Hawaii - spent month on the big island - Loved it.

    Slept on beaches, sides of roads, tents losman (basically a home stay in Bali), hostels and hotels.

    Backpacking was on the MOST fascinating and enriching adventure of my life and I encourage everyone to do it at least one.

    Just pack up, take off and experience the world. Awesome.

    The hostels (getting back to the question) for the most part were clean and safe but there were a few dicey ones. With the internet and mobile phones apps they bad ones are easily avoidable now.
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    Sep 27, 2011 2:34 AM GMT
    I stayed at Point Loma in San Diego and San Pedro south of Los Angeless for a week each when I took a 3 month motorcycle ride of the western states in 2001. The CA hostels were great, close to the beach or right on it. You can't do better than San Pedro if you want to go to the beach. There was a combination of college students and international travelers at those stops, always a lot of international people in the summers. One or two older retired types but the mix will vary depending on the location and time of year, etc.
    Also stopped at Pigeon Point and got a special lighthouse tour by the assistant manager, up to the lighthouse deck. They shut that down in its entirety 6 months later so I feel very privileged to have accessed the 100+ foot spiral stairway, and to hike up to the top just as the fog ceiling was starting to clear the top of the lighthouse. An amazing experience, and one that I got from practicing random acts of kindness.

    At San Diego I took an Australian bud out to Blacks Beach and got him into the groove of the nude beach thing. I was always making good friends in the hostels because there people have a strong sense of adventure.

    I enjoyed it tremendously. Between hostels, camping, and visiting friends and relatives I was able to go out on the road for 3 months straight for under 5K total cost and 60% or more of that was gas at $175 to $2.25 a gallon for the motorcycle.

    Hostels let me stay in nice places in the urban settings, and they let you eat out of the grocery store in most of them, make breakfast there, and sometimes cooperate with others that are fixing a dinner that evening. Its another great way to shave costs to nothing. If they serve meals then they are super inexpensive still and you can still drop in and sit and talk with people.
    Its a great way to travel stateside, to be sure.