Tag Archives: hostels

Vows

To you, my travel partner.

I vow to always suggest new places, to never say any one spot is off limits, to never say a place is not interesting or overrated.

I vow to always keep up good appearances in front of your parents so they don’t think their child is traveling with a crazy person because that’s between us.

I vow to be your travel agent, bodyguard, photographer, historian, and food critic all in one. We will find the best places, the cheapest eats, the best photo ops, and in hostels I’ll ward off any drunks that try hitting on you. Worst case scenario we’ll say we’re dating.

I vow to always keep ideas flowing and our schedule exciting.

I vow to understand you might need a day off, staying in the hostel or hotel or airBnB isn’t against the rules and I won’t be mad at you for suggesting it.

I vow to make every free hostel breakfast feel like a five star bottomless brunch. But I also vow to keep watch while we take extra for the road.

I vow to be just as interested in all of the things you like, or at least fake it. Because even though I might’ve seen something a thousand times doesn’t mean it should discredit your first time.

I vow to understand your fears, and push you through them slowly but surely. You will always have a hand to hold while we explore the new, strange, scary and unusual.

I vow that I will make sure we always get to the airport on time, and if for some reason our flight is cancelled I’ll figure out how to get a new one.

I vow that if your luggage gets lost you can use mine, even though everything will be big on you.

I vow that my food is your food. We can always split meals and snacks so we can cheaply try more of the cuisine.

I vow that if we ever find ourselves in a foreign country I will not shame you for one day wanting McDonald’s or fifty cent ramen. Sometimes our stomachs want something like home even if we are in the land of tapas, or pasta, or sushi.

I vow to always stay adventurous and if we hit a point in our lives in which we can no longer travel together, I promise to always keep you updated, I promise to like all of your posts, I promise to continue to talk to your parents and remember your immediate family, I promise to continue any of our inside jokes, and I promise to offer more travel suggestions for us in the future.

Hostel or Hostile

So if you’ve traveled on a budget before you’ve probably used a hostel once or twice, or completely exclusively. Since my travel started when I was young I never had to worry about my accommodations, it was my parents responsibility. But times arrow marched forward and now I’m responsible for me. So when I started wanting to travel again this new word entered my vocabulary, Hostel. Now here I am, (only ever hearing this word once before in a scary movie title) trying to backpack Europe on a budget and figure out where I am going to lay my head. One of my best friends used to work in a hostel so she finally convinced me to try it and it changed everything.

My first stop in Europe was in Lisbon, Portugal. A beautiful city with stunning architecture and delicious food and gorgeous people. I landed mid-afternoon so I had to find my hostel before the night fall, which I learned later seems to be a bit late. I eventually found my hostel named appropriately Lost Inn Lisbon. I climbed the stairs and was greeted so warmly by the staff. They offered sangria which I got to try on my third night (it was amazing, total game changer for sangria) and I was showed to my shared room. The beds were the comfiest beds I’ve ever felt while traveling, the bunks were pretty private considering there were eight of us in a room, everything was so clean, the bathrooms were beautiful and roomy, which is weird to say but when traveling I suppose that’s one of the little things. I couldn’t believe how nice it was. They offered fantastic tours, and nightly in-hostel events like “Mama’s Soup” or Sangria. The free breakfast was so good and offered a pretty wide variety. Everything was so perfect! Lost Inn Lisbon set the standard for me in terms of hostels. Plus it made Lisbon a winner in my book. I didn’t expect anything out of Lisbon but when I left all I wanted was to go back.

Unfortunately…..there’s also hostels that are more on the hostile side. When I was in Barcelona, my hostel there was Casa Kessler and it was awful. Everyone was cramped, whether it was the bathrooms, the kitchen, the common room, or quarters. I got the dreaded top bunk and I didn’t have enough space in it to even sit up. My locker was teeny tiny so I used it only to hold my dirty laundry. The staff there was unapologetically rude. They couldn’t be bothered by anything, not even to check me in. I stood waiting for at least 30 minutes before the staff finished their discussion in front of me, to check me in. This made what I had hoped to be my favorite destination, awful. Even my fellow bunkmates were rude, and I can’t blame them. When we were piled on top of each other night after night with zero privacy, I’d be rude too. Also don’t get me wrong Barcelona is a stunning city with incredible history, and who could miss out on Gaudi’s architecture? Everyone should see Barcelona once, but boy was it tough for me to love it the same way as Lisbon.

My most recent hostel experience was in New Orleans, I stayed at Site 61. This was an interesting hostel because appearance wise and location wasn’t the best, it wasn’t as high tech as Lost Inn Lisbon, but the people were a million times more friendly then in Barcelona. So much so that staying in for a day was sometimes the best thing to do. I would grab my morning coffee and sit in the common room and chat with the staff as they would come by, some would sit down with me and we’d laugh at commercials and whatever else was on the tv. It’s that damn southern hospitality it’s somethings so incredible I have even thought of going back down to New Orleans to just visit them.

Where you lay your head matters. In some cases it can make or break a trip. Now obviously always check reviews before going and remember that there will always be things that are completely out of control i.e. snoring bunkmates, bad bunk placement, but the rest can always be avoided by checking the places reviews. Use your tools, google is your friend. But the important thing to do in hostels is socialize, everyone there has one thing in common, travel. Talk about it.