Insider Tips for Hostel Wayfaring in Euro—More Adventure for Less Money
You LOVE traveling. You are an adventure junkie. You go and see sights that pretty much everyone you know wishes that they had seen as well. The problem is, these trips are NOT cheap. Or, at least, they usually aren’t.
Having travelled extensively as a backpacking wayfarer myself, I have always thought that everyone got it wrong. The point of the excursion is not the room you stay in, or even necessarily the place you go, but the trip itself! Which is why I’m going to share with you some of the tips and tricks my traveling buddies and I have picked up over the years—specifically for traveling on a budget using the hostels in Europe as your basecamps.
Hostels and quality
Hostels grew out of the desire and need for there to be safe, clean and affordable places for younger people to be able to afford to travel. The quality of hostels has come a long way in the last half-century, and gets better year by year. One way to check the quality of hostels that are on your general travel plan is to get on the internet. There are literally dozens of websites which have very detailed descriptions of the vast majority of hostels available, including previous traveler reviews, pricing and booking options.
Don’t assume that the most expensive ones are the best! One of the nicest places I ever stayed at was just two euro (about $2.50) a night! It was super clean, included breakfast, clothes washing for a small fee, free Wi-Fi, and great company.
If your travel plan is rigid, that’s okay, you want to do what you want to do. But if it’s not, and you are willing to go just about anywhere with exciting things to do? Well, you have just opened yourself up to a wealth of fantastic options not available to you before. Opening up your plan can allow you to extend your travel time by seriously allowing you to save on travel, events, and your adventure overall.
Many hostels have note boards or logbooks, and pretty much everyone who has stayed at a hostel before has used them. Most people who come will put a note up saying where they would like to go next, how long they will be in the current hostel, where they came from, how their previous hostel experience was, and what they will be doing while in the current location. This is an awesome resource. It’s also not well known, and you will rarely find mention of it online.
Budget traveling in style
Often, group tickets, temporary specials, and word of mouth promotions are available. If you have 10 people at the hostel who are planning to go see some amazing sight, museum, adventure tour, play, etc., then you can get crazy discounts which would not be available with just one or two of you. In many cases, the hostel will even organize it for their guests and get the tickets for you.
If you are willing to stay in a barracks-type room instead of a private room (usually both are available!) you can save big money as well. At most hostels in Europe, a bed is between 5 and 25 euro for a private room, almost all with shared bathrooms and showers. Notwithstanding the low prices, at most of the European hostels I have traveled to or heard about from other wayfarers, there are generally word-of-mouth discounts available. For example, one place told me to tell the next place I was going where I was coming from. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I received a one-third-off discount on my entire stay at the next place!
Traveling is hungry work
Speaking of saving money, you can often use the kitchen at the hostel as well. If you go in with a group, you can get local products, and have a great local-cuisine meal for much cheaper than you could in a restaurant, with the added benefit of being with a group of people who have the same mindset as you!
On top of that, hostels have usually made deals with local restaurants and can give you a hostel card worth serious discounts. This goes for many sightseeing places and local attractions as well, if one of the previously mentioned group options isn’t in the cards when or where you want to check something out.
Safety and security
Don’t worry about your stuff. Hostels, by and large, take security very seriously and have lockup areas for your pack or suitcase while you are out, and keep an eye on things to make sure people aren’t too rowdy, so that you can sleep and feel secure.
There is also a very cool and laid back hostel etiquette which people follow. Don’t know it? Don’t worry. Most people, when they show up, get it right away and gladly fall into the lifestyle with ease.
Get to know your neighbors
The person in the bed next to you, or playing the guitar in the lobby (which happens more often than not!) might just have a place they found, which is not so well known, but amazing. Most people trade old ticket stubs or keep coupons they found (e.g., 20% off a second day in a museum) and end up saving even a bit more cash, and having a great time and making great connections. Many people who are at their last destination will sell you rail cards, metro, and bus passes for pennies on the dollar. Also, traveling can be much cheaper in groups, and a heck of a lot more fun! I have made plenty of lifelong friends that way.
I hope this has helped you in your (hopefully near) future quest. Got a great story from the hostel circuit you would like to share? Know about an out of the way place which is amazing? Post a comment to the community and make sure to read the others! Remember, don’t just read about it … get out there and live it!