Adventures are the best way to learn
Following on from one of my previous posts, Preparing to Travel – Top Tips, Ashton and I went 0n our first round of travels to Germany and Belgium. We had SO much chocolate and walked everywhere possible. Including 533 steps up the Cathedral in Cologne!)
Where we stayed
For accommodation, we stayed in hostels as it was cheap and close to the city centres. Both hostels, PathPoint Hostel (Cologne, Germany) and The Ash Hostel (Antwerp, Belgium) varied in different ways but were both great to stay in.
It’s not the first time I’ve stayed in a hostel – I stayed at The Legends in Rome, Italy but the only difference between there and our recent visits was I had never shared a dorm room before!
This post is not a review of either of the hostels, but rather some top tips from my experience that I want to share with you.
Tip 1: Do your research
You can find some great deals online for hostels but consider the following questions:
- Do you feel comfortable sharing a room or do you want your own privacy?
- What does the hostel offer? Breakfast? Late check outs?
- What’s the cancellation policy?
- Can you get around the local area easily?
- What do the reviews say about the hostels?
Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to ask the hostel anything
Most, if not all, hostels will happily accommodate and advise you on where you can go. After all, they are in the heart of the city and will expect many questions!
If you arrive to your hostel earlier than check in or you’re not due to get your transport until later on in the day – ask if you can leave your luggage in a storage area. Most hostels do – which allows you to not drag your bags around as you venture around the city.
Tip 3: Get to know each other!
Whether you’re on your own or travelling with a group of friends, it’s part of the fun to get to know those who are also at the hostel with you!
You can hang out in the social areas with some drinks, or just get chatting to each other in the hostel. Alternatively – why not group up together and go for a wander around the area? I’ve made some amazing friends from many different countries
However, if you want to fully embrace the hostel life and share a room with 8 to 18 different people (you can choose the same gender or mixed), keep in mind that you are all not going to be on the same page. It’s not your bedroom – you’re also sharing with others so be respectful to each other. Don’t expect, however, to have a ‘normal life’!
Tip 4: Be prepared
This is not like a hotel – there will be some things you would not expect to find if you’re not used to hostels.
Not all hostels do this, but certainly the last two did. You’re in charge of making your bed and stripping it as you check out. No, this doesn’t mean you need to pack a spare bedsheet in your suitcase – the hostel’s provide this for you!
Also – you won’t find shampoos and stuff in the bathrooms. Unless someone has left them.
Tip 5: Keep your stuff safe
Whatever you do, there is always a risk of being a victim of crime. That’s sadly the reality. However, most hostels will have lockers where you can store your things away, especially your valuables, but if that’s not the case then consider what bag you’re bringing and what you’re taking with you. In addition, some places such as train stations also have lockers so it’s worth considering those options too.
Which hostel/s have you stayed in? What tips would you give for someone who’s spending their first time in one?
Until next time!