Instead of spending your Winter Break in an absolute state of boredom in your childhood home, why not get out there and see the world? If money is a hindering factor in your winter getaway save some dough and stay in a hostel. There are nearly 125 hostels in the U.S. and over 4,000 worldwide, which offer basic lodging at a price that is significantly cheaper than any hotel.
Alex Christopher, an LSA sophomore, stayed at a hostel in Wiesbaden, Germany, for over a week. He described the features of the room he stayed in to be like those of a dorm room, except meant for six people and not two. “Each person got their own bed, dressers, a couple of chairs, and a desk,” said Christopher. “The room was about 18ft by 16ft not too spacious but not too cramped.” He also received showering facilities, sheets and towels, access to pop machines and a fooseball table, and breakfast in the morning.
LSA senior Ayca Akin paid only $7.50 a night to at a hostel owned by a married couple in Tasmania, Australia. “The hostel was on a small farm with free range chickens where you could purchase eggs to make breakfast with,” explained Akin. Her room in this hostel included the basics: bunk bed, dresser, and clean, fresh sheets. But she also received access to the kitchen and a living room with a television, homemade cookies made by Fran, and home brewed beer made by her husband, Don.
April Adams, an LSA junior, stayed at the Canadia Hostel, across the border in Toronto, Canada. She only paid $24 a night, and this was in Canadian dollars. “It was a newly renovated townhouse,” said Adams. “It was located within walking distance from everything in the downtown area.” She described her room as “dormitory style” with wooden bunk beds, a community bathroom, and “a front desk that answered your every question, including why do Canadians say “eh” so much.”
Christopher had an interesting experience in his hostel in Germany. “It was supposed to be a “youth hostel” but there were a handful of strange, non-youth staying there. Two middle-aged German men and a 30-something African man were there. I think the African guy tried to sell us something. We stayed away from him.” He thinks a reason for the non-youth staying in the hostel is because “since they rarely fill the place, they relax some of the rules on letting only youth stay there.”
Adams had another harrowing story about her Canadian hostel. “We went during Spring Break last year and when my friends and I arrived, the lady at the front desk said that the heat in our room wasn”t working very well and that they didn”t have any other rooms to give us,” explains Adams. “After walking around Toronto for the entire evening, we were slightly chilly and couldn”t wait for our blankets. Needless to say, it took our clothes from that day, our coats, hats, mittens, and even towels to get warm enough to fall asleep. It was definitely a bonding experience.”
Akin had an insightful experience while staying in the small hostel in Australia. “I really admired the life that Don and Fran lived. They were incredibly gracious hosts and it was obvious from a book of messages from past guests that everyone who came through the hostel felt at home.” She adds, “You get to meet interesting people from all over the world.” Another recommendation came from Christopher, who said, “I definitely recommend it if you”re not staying more than two weeks, and if you”re traveling with a small group of people.” And even though Adams had an “interesting” night without heat in Toronto, she says hostels are a good idea, just “ask questions first.”