Restful Recommendations: Hostels

Part Two in our series about different lodging options when traveling, both in general, and with a child.

Hostels

Z and I stayed in hostels quite a bit when we first started traveling. We have stayed in hostels both in the US, and abroad. People are sometimes surprised to learn that hostels are “a thing” in the United States, and that they exist all over the country. Not only do they exist, they are a great inexpensive travel option.

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One of the hostels we stayed at in Dublin, Ireland.

Hostels are budget lodging for travelers, where there is usually a variety of bedding choices, from renting a bunk bed space, to having a private room. There are usually shared bathrooms, a communal kitchen, and a large living room type space (or two). Hostels often have special events, such as community meals, a pub crawl, or offer a place to meet up with a walking tour of the city.

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Colorful mural behind the hostel in San Luis Obispo, California.

Hostels are often an inexpensive option for lodging, though sometimes they are not as cheap as I would like unless we are willing to rent bunk beds. When we look at staying at a hostel, I read reviews online from a variety of sights, carefully examine the pictures, and check out the location. I also really like taking advantage of the social events if possible, so I usually check that out too.

We have met some fantastic people in hostels around the world. I have enjoyed sharing stories and making new friends with people who are traveling from around the world. How is this different from the experiences with people I referenced in my post about staying in AirBnB lodging? Well, with AirBnB, you typically get to talk to locals, or at least with people who have been living in the area where you are traveling. With hostels, you are interacting with other travelers in the middle of their journeys, which can lead to many laughs and great stories.

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A hostel we really loved in Galway, Ireland.

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We played several board games with some German travelers in this common space in Galway.

What about hostels with a child? We have actually stayed in a few hostels with D. We have always had our own private bedroom, but have had to share a bathroom. D had a blast staying in hostels. He loves people, so interacting with others is a huge bonus for him when we travel. We have had to worry more about trying to keep him quiet at night, but there are also spaces to walk around in a hostel, if needed. It’s always better by morning anyway, and we got to enjoy some delicious homemade pancakes at our hostel in San Luis Obispo, California. Most hostels are kid friendly, though I recommend checking out the website first.

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Enjoying sourdough pancakes at a hostel in San Luis Obispo, California.

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D playing with a puppy at our hostel in Santorini, Greece.

We have experienced a few downsides to staying in a hostel, mostly that it can be noisy, and sometimes not the cleanest of places (again, reviews are always spot on about this stuff, so check them out first). We once were a little confused by a roommate at a hostel in Dublin, Ireland, who came in to sleep after 2am and left by the time we got up at 7am. It was fine, but it was a little weird. In general though, the negatives have been outweighed by the adventure, fun in meeting people, and the savings for our wallets.

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One of our nice hostel rooms in Ireland.

In the next post in our Restful Recommendations series, I talk about everyone’s first thought for travel lodging, hotels! But I talk about how to try to get a deal, and our thoughts about hotels and kids.

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