Saturday 6 May 2017

When you're travelling and tell your friends and family you're staying in a hostel you either get one of two reactions - "oh nice they're so cheap and you'll make loads of friends!" or "how scary, have you not seen the movie hostel?". I think there's a lot of misconceptions about hostels but for people who travel a lot they know most of the time they're perfectly safe, affordable and great if you like socialising and finding new drinking/travel buddies. Last month I spent a week in Amsterdam and Berlin and stayed in hostels in both places, which was a big contrast to the 5 star hotels I was staying in India the week before! But I survived it, and I'm here to tell you all about my first experience staying in a hostel.

pink panther hostel krakow
The first hostel we stayed at in Amsterdam was called Hans Brinker, and a soon as we stepped in you could tell it was a hostel for young people. Reception on one side and a bar/restaurant on the other - the hostel even had its own nightclub underground! Which admitadly was not the most appealing when we were trying to sleep at 5am and could just hear I AM NOT YOUR HOMIE blasting through the walls. Everyone pretty much stuck to themselves in this room of 6, I was travelling with one other friend and we were adamant to make friends. Luckily the last evening a very bubbly italian guy checked in to our room (whilst we were all napping at 5pm, sorry Antonio) and we took him to see the red light district and chilled with him and an American girl at one of the cafes. 

On to Berlin, the City Stay Berlin Mitte was located right in the heart of Berlin and so it was easy to move around. This hostel did not boast its own nightclub but it had some very affordable cocktails which was all well and good with me. We stayed in a hostel mixed dormitory of 10 and we met a lovely couple from Australia who were as down for a party as we were, so off we went on a Berlin pubcrawl! You can imagine what the hangover was like the next day, germans know how to drink. 

Have I convinced you yet? To be honest, some hostel prices aren't much cheaper than apartments so I think it all depends who you're travelling with and what kind of travelling you're doing. I'm not fussy when it comes to communal showers/toilets as it's just like being in university halls (although I had the luxury of an ensuite bathroom). Lockers were provided but I always kept my important docs on me and then just trusted no one was going to steal my underwear or primark tops. Here are my five reasons why you should consider staying in a hostel. 

1. They're cheaper. Most hostels vary between £5-£30 a night, which is a pretty neat deal when you just need a place to rest you're head if you're going to be on the go all the time. 

2. They're great for making friends. If you're a solo traveller, you might even find someone who's also travelling alone and might be a. heading in the same direction as you or b. you hit it off so well that you continue your travels together. I mentioned to one of the guys in my hostel that I was a travel blogger and he happened to be a travel agent and gave me his card, so you'll never know what opportunities may arise too! 

3. They're usually in great locations. Both of the hostels I stayed in were extremely central, and Hans Brinker had a handy yellow sign outside so we never got lost when wandering through the identical canals in Amsterdam. 

4. Free Wi-Fi. Most hostels I've come accross usually come with free wi-fi, as they know travellers need to stay connected! Aside from this modern hostels usually come with all sorts of facilities including nightclubs, bars, game lounges, pub crawls etc. 

5. Local knowledge. Most of the people working at hostels are usually young travellers working part-time whilst they travel (or similar) so they're bound to know the best places to eat, drink, explore and party!

Although my hostel experiences were good, there are always going to be some dodgy ones in the pack so make sure you check out reviews first! Have you ever stayed in a hostel yourself? what was your experience like?

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