Europe and hostels

I arrived tonight in Austria for a week in Bavaria. However, I have to admit that I had a total princess moment of panic in the car on the way to Stansted this afternoon when my musical director revealed that we were heading for a hostel for the first two nights. The discussion concerned whether or not we were supposed to have packed our own bath towels, something which I admit had never, ever occurred to me. My first trip to Europe was when I was 28. I never did the thing where you hang around for weeks in youth hostels and take a Eurail pass all over the continent. On my first European trip I was a week in Portugal at a conference, with a solo room in a four star hotel, and then a week in East London in a two-room suite at a newly-built college dormitory with a private kitchen/living area and bedroom plus bathroom, and maid service. I just somehow managed to completely miss that whole young and grotty backpack around Europe thing. And at my age, and with my current level of overwork and slight spoiled-ness (flying economy plus on trans-atlantic flights) I was not feeling much like roughing it.

I am, however, happy to report that the “hostel” has lovely single, en-suite rooms which means that the only way you can tell it’s not a typical hotel is that it has a set of single bunk-beds in the room instead of a double bed. Oh, and there is no bad paintings or cheesy artwork hanging above the bed. There is, however, free wi-fi and a flat screen TV in the room. I’m guessing this is not the hostel norm, and I’m getting spoilt.

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4 responses to “Europe and hostels

  1. I’ve never done the Eurail Pass Backpacking Experience either, but I have stayed in a few hostels… I don’t think I have gained much for having had the experience, though. Mostly, these are not so dodgy as to become a Good Story, but just uncomfortable enough to interfere with my ability to sleep or relax with the knowledge that my belongings and passport won’t disappear in the night. My one exception being the Kaohsiung Crackhouse Adventure, but that’s an Asian hostel story, not a European hostel story, and, well, Never Again. I’d pretty much always take a cheap hotel over a hostel if at all possible, and that was even true when I was 22.

  2. He Merry, Yeah most Hostels are great. Try to read reviews and check ratings before you go on the net. Cheap hotels or hostels are the same sometimes, depends on the country you go to

    You might want to checkout TFTHostels.com I just started a beta version for this site 2 weeks ago. All hostels from Hostelworld, Hostelbookers and Hostelsclub on 1 site. So cheap hotels and hostels on 1 site.

    Happy travels

  3. Heh, that my Kaohsiung crackhouse impersonating a hostel had gorgeous photos and tons of positive reviews on the net… I was not prepared for what I found, that’s for sure.

    I think that I’d pick a hostel over a hotel in three situations: if I was traveling with a larger group (or a family with small children); if I wanted to save money for something else and was really only going to sleep there – i.e. get in very late, leave early the next morning (and they had a safe for valuables); or if I went to a very expensive country, like Norway or Japan. I’d go back to most of the hostels I stayed in either of these countries, but for the rest, there’s often not enough of price difference from a lower-grade hotel but a decent difference in amenities. And I’ve never been anywhere that had a tv and wireless in room… maybe European hostels have gone way up in quality in the last few years, but then I’d imagine they’ve also gone up in price.

    I know lots of people like the communal aspects of hostels, but I generally find while traveling that I’m more interested in relaxing on my own at the end of the day than hanging out in the group dinning room/tv room, etc.

  4. Not to mention the horror/slasher fillums exploiting those no-privacy aspects of hostels…. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450278/

    I’m too old to stay in anything other than OK hotels with good locks. And that includes anything resembling tents and “camping out”, an American pastime for delirious nuts.

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