Friday, May 14, 2010

Youth Hostels

The monthly numbers are in for April and I did end up with some extra -- to the tune of $1440.95. As with most bonuses, my half will be tucked away for the next travelling adventure. I'm thinking of going to Maine at the end of the summer.

I was talking to someone I casually know yesterday about travelling as he is planning a trip to Ireland. He and his girlfriend are hoping to do that trip "budget" by staying in youth hostels.

Youth hostels can be a great savings but it depends on the country and city. Sometimes 2 people in a hostel can add up to a what a hotel charges. A solo traveller will often do better than a group travelling together but paying separately. It is worth looking into and to not assume it is always the cheapest option.

Personally, I like my quiet, my own washroom and a good night's sleep so group dorm rooms don't appeal to me anymore. They appealed much more when I was on a limited budget. Why go on vacation and be cranky all day when I know my tolerance isn't that great? I also prefer to come home somewhat rested and not sleep deprived. Nowadays, I will save up more for a trip so I wouldn't have to be.

I've stayed at youth hostels on 2 occasions in my life. Back 15 yrs ago when I was in New York to see the US open. Believe it or not, I took my mother for the first part of trip as a gift to her and it was all I could afford as a student. I saved up my earnings from teaching piano all summer to be able to pay for it.

Let's just say she didn't much care for the hosteling experience! There was a lady in our dorm who was a lawyer and my mother made me promise her that I will be successful enough that I wouldn't ever have to stay in hostels again. She didn't realize that some people chose to stay there, rather than be forced by circumstance.

The second time was on a road trip with a girlfriend about 13 yrs ago. We met in Las Vegas. I arrived earlier so I could see the Cirque du Soleil show that just opened "O" before embarking on a journey that would take us through Yellowstone, San Francisco, Napa Valley, down the Pacific Coast highway to Santa Monica before returning to Las Vegas.

Our friendship almost went away on that trip but that's another story...


  1. Oh, Maine at the end of summer? Sounds fun! There'll be lots of lobsters to eat! Yummy!!! My mother's coming to visit me during the summer & she's already asking about lobsters...

    I must admit that I've never stayed at hostels; I have heard that some are very nice and clean. It's def worth it if you're traveling alone. However, with a family of 4, it's worth it to get a hotel room.

  2. Hi Sandra!

    I'm very glad to hear there will still be lots of lobsters to eat! I didn't know when the season was for it.

    I don't think you've missed much by not having stayed in hostels. For me it was a financial thing and I can see the appeal for some.

    We met a number (majority) of people who had been staying in the same hostel for weeks, eating cereal, no car, but they loved it as they were away from their normal environment.

    For us, the idea of going away is the ability to roam and see a new place so staying put and not being able to see anything due to budget would be too restrictive for me.

    Yes, you can say you spent a month in such and such a place but in reality you couldn't afford to do or experience or eat anything.

    It was amazing the number of people who wanted a ride to places or wanted to join us because they were stranded. We were just north of San Fran at the time, far enough from public transport.

  3. I'd rather be sailingMay 17, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Hi and welcome back. It didn't seem that long since you left. Must be the travelling with D that makes the time fly. Glad to hear you had a great time. Never made it to Berlin... the wall was still up last time I ventured to Germany.

    Your comments about hostels and inexpensive alternate accomodation brought back some memories.

    Over 30 yrs ago, my wife (then girlfriend) and I were travelling around Europe and ended up in Sicily. We thought it a great idea to stay in a B&B/hostel after camping for a few days on one of the islands N of Palermo. We were both taken back when after checking in, the elderly matron of the house was showing us to our rooms. Showing J her room, I started to follow when the matron planted herself in the doorway not allowing me to pass. As we didn't speak Italian nor she English; after much gesturing and hand waving, she finally grabbed both our hands, pointed to the ring fingers of which of course at the time had no rings thereon and wagged her finger at us while at the same time shaking her head in a fervant 'NO WAY' manner. My translation was 'Not married... no cohabitating under my roof' She then proceeded to escort me to a different room on a different floor of the house. Still one our fond memories of the time.

    Other times we passed on the hostel altogether and instead searched out trailer parks... it was off-season and many a night was spent rolling out a sleeping bag beneath an unoccupied trailer.

    Ahh... what one will do to experience the adventure and stretch an already tight dollar. I remember we left Belgium in February with $ 500 between us and lasting until early Sept that year before deciding to return home.

    Would I do it again... in a heartbeat, but I'd probably opt for the comfort of a proper bed... with wedding bands firmly in place.

    Where to next?

  4. Hi I'd rather be sailing!

    Thank you! I cannot believe you made $500 last 7 months! Wow! You guys are good!

    D and I would have trouble too if someone were looking at our hands for signs of rings as we don't have any though we are married. Separate rooms for us then!

    No the trip didn't feel long at all. Even towards the end, I felt like I had just arrived. Berlin had a different affect on me. I was quite sad to leave.

    Don't know when Berlin will come around in our long list of favorite places rotation. BA is next and then Maine at the end of the summer. I'm also quietly working on Amsterdam for next year.

  5. PS @ I'd rather be sailing;

    What a wonderful story and memories! Did you son make it to Europe and back without incident? Did he have a great time?