Hostels has been the majority of where I have spent my time sleeping on my journey. Occasionally a Queen size bed in the Hilton, Crown Plaza or Chiang Mai Lodge (which was WOW). Some places have been questionable and don’t match quite up to what Tripadvisor or booking.com says. Its funny when you get there and its like….”This isn’t what was on the description…” Only in two occasions have I said to the reception so it says nothing about the area in the description – “do you think we would…”
Whether it is having a curtain on the bed or choosing top or bottom bunk, the differences between hostels in Minsk and LA and so on are fasincating. I could write a book just on the journey of accommodation. So how did I plan 89 accommodations and what it was like logistically planning this whole adventure. Fun. That’s for sure. It was a “change…” “book….” “change again….” “ahhh crap…need a long night there….” I had mine maps galore mapping out the whole journey.
When I started the journey there was two things that were going to be the hardest things to plan and the most expensive flights and accommodations. With accommodation I had to look at booking well in advance for some of the big events so – Tour De France, Bull Running, Champions League Final, Vancouver Pride and so on. It was obvious that I would for sure struggle if I didn’t book. In Pamplona at the Running of the bulls the accommodation I got and booked 11 months in advance and 6 miles out of the small town – because that’s the nearest place I could get – and cheap. The room was 16 people…YEAH…16…crazy.
In the 2nd hostel I moved to in Madrid during the Champions League final. I didn’t know that I booked a room that had three beds but I booked the whole room – PERFECT! But also I booked the rooms before the teams were in the last 32 so it was perfect.
When you get to a hostel there is a few things that can happen. You are allocated a bunk OR you get in the room and either the top or bottom is free. It’s a very strategic decision that you need to think about. If you go bottom then it’s the concern for who may be climbing to the top at night or what if they might there phone onto your head – it happened to me. Will the bed hold both of you is a concern I have had for sure. I remember in Frankfurt my steel framed bed was bendable and squeaky – I was so close on just going to the floor. If you go top then you have your own space but climbing up the stairs – can you manage it and climb up in the dark? And where would you put your stuff – can you put your phone on the side of your bed and if there a plug socket….so much to think about. If there is a curtain like there was in Minsk, Shanghai and Vancouver. Love a good curtain – its like a good private bunk.
So lets talk about the journey of a hostel and the differences. Some hotels you are given a bar voucher for the like Denver (where I am at the moment), Vienna, Bologna and so on. The voucher is a way of getting you to the bar and then you to make friends! Excellent. I like that touch I think it works and I think for a hostel it doesn’t cost them anything really so if it betters the customer journey and allows someone to give them a 5 star rating – job done. In Vancouver they had an excellent social programme that made it basically a party hostel but well controlled. No one came stumbling in at 3am. People are actually pretty respectful which is great! Some hostels include towels. Some hostels they charge you for the hostel, key card, WiFi and everything they can like Hostelling International in Zurich…so many more observations for sure.
In New Zealand on my third accommodation of the journey I met a South Korean man – his name escapes me – but his English it wasn’t anywhere. To the delight of Roger, who was an older gentleman from Australian he was laughing as I tried to teach him Scottish words…”UCH AYE THE NOo….” this is just one story of moments when you met people in hostels. The others was like meeting people from countries I had visited. It was great. But hostels are not places that you are going to meet and make friends. That’s not a guarantee. And anyone that says otherwise…well maybe they were lucky.
So from the welcome, the farewell, the high fives, the conversations or lack of I could write you a whole book on what a hostel is like but here is the key things:
- have your things for the next day always out night before
- Toiletries under the end of your bed
- If there for 3 nights – put your clothes ready for few days it makes it easy to manage.
- Laundry machine – make sure you have a dryer there and don’t just wash your stuff
And still so much more…
So that was hostels. 10 more beds to go. And every hostel means more meetings and more adventure on this journey…