Hostels aren’t just for young partiers anymore.
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I have stayed in hostels in Berlin, Amsterdam, Lima, and Cusco. When I travel solo, I don’t need much. I don’t want a shared or dorm room, nor do I want to share a bathroom. I want a hostel in a safe area, and most importantly, I want a quiet place to get a good night’s sleep.
I do want to save money, and hostels generally run about a third to a half of what a budget hotel charges. For example, the hostel I chose in Lima, Enjoy Hostel, was about $25 USD per night. Many include breakfast. Most don’t have spas or swimming pools. They tend to be informal places, and a great way to meet other travelers of all ages. I have found the staff to be very helpful with recommendations for restaurants, tours, banking info, etc. While I was in Lima, I discovered that Avianca would only accept a paper boarding pass for my trip to Cusco. The front desk staff allowed me to use their printer.
Hostels tend to attract a younger crowd, although that’s changing as more and more boomers hit the road.
Hostels are a terrific way to save on your travel costs. But, if you’re expecting The Ritz, you will be disappointed.
Here’s how I pick a hostel.
- Sort by ratings, highest first.
- I start with the highest rated first and work my way down the list.
- Under Facilities, I choose child friendly because they don’t (yet) have an old fart category. I figure that will probably be more quiet.
- Under Room, I choose ensuite room.
- Pick a hostel and go to the house rules. I look for a curfew. If the place doesn’t have one, the chances are pretty good that you’ll have loud people arriving in the middle of the night.
- Once I have selected a hostel that’s in my desired area with a private room and a private bathroom, I get down to reading the reviews. I read the lowest ratings first. If I see any that mention noise, I look for another hostel.
Many hostels don’t have secure lockers to store your stuff, or safes in the room to store your passport. I carry everything I don’t want to lose with me, either in a money belt, or a day pack that can be locked and can’t be cut open with a knife or a razor. I bring a cable lock to attach my luggage to something immovable in the room. And I always bring silicone earplugs.
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