Youth hostels can be an exceedingly cheap way to see the world—and many don’t even require that you’re young to take advantage of them. But you do have to be willing to tolerate a few limitations.
- TIP: Keep in mind that youth hostels offer a variety of accommodations. Some are huge, some are small. You could be sleeping in a private room or in a dorm full of bunk beds. The bathroom could be in your room, or down the hall.
- Step 1: Going online is the quickest, easiest way to find a hostel. If you call the hostel you might not get someone who speaks English, but if you book through the internet, an English speaker will probably field your request.
- Step 2: Research the youth hostel carefully, as different hostels offer different sorts of amenities, perks, and rules. Look into internet access, luggage storage, kitchen availability, group activities, curfews, food and alcohol rules, age limits, and what necessities you’ll need to bring on your own, like sheets or towels.
- Step 3: If you’re already in the town where you want to stay, visit a few hostels to see what works for you. Ask people staying there what their experiences have been like. If they say, “delightful,” book a room, you lucky, frugal traveler, you.
- Step 4: Many cities, both nationally and internationally, have a Convention and Visitors Bureau that maintains a list of accommodations, including youth hostels. You can find contact information either online or at your library.
- Step 5: If you can’t go online, you can visit the travel sections of local libraries and bookstores and look for budget-travel guides that list hostels.
- TIP: Some hostels have lock out times, even during the day.
- TIP: The local YMCA is a good resource.
- FACT: The first youth hostel was opened in Altenia Castle in Germany in 1912.