One of the reasons Europe makes for such a popular solo travel destination is the availability of hostels. While these affordable accommodations were once associated with youthful travelers, European hostels also provide rooms and beds for families, students, seniors, and children's sports teams. As you plan for your next solo trip, keep these travel tips in mind in considering your next accommodations.
1. Independent and chain hostels offer different atmospheres.
The vibe you get from a chain hostel is likely to be very different from the one you get when you step foot into an independent one. For instance, chain hostels tend to have more rules regarding curfews and daily lockouts for cleaning. Independent hostels may not offer the same organization as a chain, but they may feel more like home.
2. Bedding is not always included the price.
In most cases, the price of your room includes linens and pillows. On the rare occasion you will be asked to pay for linens when you check in unless you have brought your own. You may also find the opposite of this situation, in which you are asked not to bring linens of your own as to avoid the spread of bedbugs.
3. Plan your hostel stays ahead of time whenever possible.
One of the best things about staying in hostels when you travel solo is that you can occasionally pop in at the last minute. Still, this is not something you can count on. Hostels in major cities like Paris and Berlin may fill up quickly. This means that you should book your bed or room ahead of time so that you don't find yourself disappointed. Plus, this gives you more options, including those hard-to-find private rooms.
4. Don't pass up the bar.
Even if you don't intend to drink, hanging out at the hostel's bar is one of the best ways to meet your fellow solo travelers. It is here that you will meet new friends and possibly even new travel partners. On a slow day you can talk to your host or bartender to receive advice on local travel destinations off the beaten path.
5. Grocery stores can save your budget.
Spent too much money at the souvenir shop? Staying in a hostel with a kitchen can be a great help at keeping you within budget. Kitchens typically offer utensils, cookware, and plates that guests are allowed to use. Pasta is a guest favorite based on its availability and low price tag. Leftovers can last you several meals so that you do not find yourself spending money to eat out.
6. Understand which hostels attract which types of guests.
Not a fan of large school groups? Large youth hostels may not be in the cards for you. Don't want to be woken up at 3 a.m. by happy revelers? Take care to avoid a self-described party hostel. Essentially, reading reviews of a hostel can provide a tremendous amount of insight into the types of guests you can expect to meet during your stay.
7. Hotels are occasionally cheaper.
Finding yourself in a rut with hostels? You may actually find a single hotel room at a cheaper rate than you would a private hostel room. This typically works best during the off-season when hotel rooms are not filling up quite as quickly.
8. Cars can come in handy when you are hopping hostels.
Renting a car in Europe upon arriving at your destination works in your favor for a number of reasons. Not only does it give you the advantage of freedom, but it also gives you a leg up over travelers who are using public transportation to get around. Rural hostels are likely to be more affordable and have more rooms available during busy seasons. Contact us to learn more about European car rentals.
Understanding how to stay in hostels is an important factor in learning how to travel alone on a budget. These tips are sure to get you started on the right track.
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