While I was bumming around Europe on Interrail I stayed in loads of different hostels – or Youth Hostels as they were known then. There are over 35,000 hostels around the world. It is basically a hotel with budget prices where you can rent a bed in dormitory with a shared bathroom or your own room with ensuite bathroom. The shared rooms can be mixed or single-sex.
Some of the hostels have lounges, sometimes even a kitchen where you can make your own food, and a few might have laundry facilities. Each hostel varies and hold different amenities so it is important that you study them carefully before you book.
For instance we stayed in a large hostel in Paris in a stylish but cosy room which we shared with another girl compared to a tiny hostel in Stockholm where we were cramped into a tiny alcove with bunkbeds. In Hamburg we stayed in a large dormitory where there was a large communal shower room. It was like being on a school trip. The best hotel we stayed in was a quirky eco-friendly hostel in Amsterdam where we had an ensuite.
The beauty of hostels is that a lot of them are situated right in the middle of the hustle and bustle so you are do not have to spend time travelling into the city centre. Also the hostels are filled with travellers like yourself so it is easy to meet likeminded people.
To book a room all you need to do is go to their website. You can sign up for membership with Hostel World – although not necessary but if you do this will entitle you to a discount.
Another good thing about staying in a hostel is that they look out for you. If you turn up without booking and they are unable to accommodate you then they will phone round to other hostels to find you a bed and book it for you. They are also very friendly and of course able to give you lots of tips on where to go, places to avoid etc. They offer a much informal service than your regular hotel.For more information, please visit their website.