One of the first questions everyone asked me when I decided to take this trip, was “Where are you staying? In a hostel?!” Usually this was followed by “Have you seen Taken? Or Hostel?” For those of you not familiar with the names, they are both horror movies about European travel gone horribly wrong- not exactly reassuring inquiries.
Thankfully, no horror like experiences occurred (save one gross incident, but more on that later). But, to satisfy everyone’s curiosity, here are the basics.
We’re currently residing in our ninth hostel (count so far: 13 cities and 6 countries), so I’d say we’re semi-experts at this point. Most have been pretty good. It’s a simple life- bunk beds, stacked against the walls, shared bathroom, wi-fi, and a locker to store your stuff. That’s about it. Staying true to our cash strapped new grad budgets, we stay in the cheapest rooms available- that means 8-12 bed coed dorms. The biggest whopper is the twenty-six bed room we have in Prague. Feels like freshman year of college all over again. Some hostels are loud and crazy, hotel like establishments complete with a bar downstairs, and some are small mom and pop joints where they cook you breakfast in the morning. It really just depends.
Downsides- obviously lack of privacy, snoring boys, loud roommates, and bedbugs. Yes, I said it. Gotta have that one awful hostel experience right? We caught them at a hostel in Florence. Although we were both badly bitten (on the face, gross!!), after our initial freak-out, we decontaminated and moved on. (And out of that hostel, immediately!) Since then, we’ve been bedbug free, THANK goodness. And, we’re now Google experts on bedbugs, in case you ever have any questions.
But side note: that is not a reason to discount hostels- in our Googling research we’ve found it’s an epidemic the hospitality industry battles on a daily basis. They are everywhere, from New York subways to 5 star hotels- we just had unfortunate luck.
But enough negative. Bedbugs aside, the hostels were awesome. By far my favorite part of staying at the hostels were the people. In our short stay, we’ve met people from all over the world. Canada. Switzerland. Australia. New Zealand. Malaysia. Japan. China. Argentina. South Africa. Brazil. Staying in such close proximity and connected by a shared appreciation of travel, you meet and connect with people instantaneously. You share travel stories. Grab a beer. Do sightseeing together. Commiserate over European grievances (why do you have to pay to use the bathroom everywhere!?).
Hearing others travel stories, and the amazing places people have been is interesting, inspiring and just an all-around cool environment to be in. You learn so much about other countries, and their cultures. I absolutely love it. It has been one of my favorite parts about this experience.
Below are pics of our dorm rooms and a few of the many friends we’ve met along the way. Current location- in Prague, taking an overnight bus to Amsterdam in a few hours! Ill write another post soon on Prague- so incredible. Can’t believe we’re already heading to our last stop!