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The Advantages of a Hostel

My wife and I recently stayed in a hostel in Salida, Colorado. It is only an hour or so from our house, but we had been to some hot springs in the area and didn't feel like going home that night. I'll have more to say about this particular hostel in a moment.

The first and perhaps most obvious advantage of a hostel versus a hotel, is the price. Renting a bed is cheaper than renting a room. In some places you'll pay four times as much for a hotel room. Interestingly, even the private rooms that some hostels offer are usually less than in a hotel, although some of them do not have a private bathroom.

The lower price is not the only way you save money, nor are the savings the only advantage. Having a kitchen available for your use means you can choose to prepare your own meal instead of going to a restaurant. That can save you quite a bit.

You get to meet people in a hostel, because there are common areas that are shared, including a kitchen and usually a living room. I have met people from a dozen countries in one hostel, over a period of just three days. Travelers from other countries are more likely to use hostels.

Hostels are also typically fonts of information for travelers. There are usually maps and brochures available, and the managers/owners keep up on everything going on in the area. Of course, you can learn a lot about your options from other travelers as well.

The Simple Lodge & Hostel, where we spent the night after going to Princeton Hot Springs, is a good example of why you might want to try a hostel. To begin with, it was closer to the center of downtown Salida than any of the hotels, which meant we were able to walk to the river, the bars, shops and restaurants. It is common for hostels to be near the center of towns.

This was also the cleanest hostel we had ever been in. Cleanliness is not usually one of the strong points of hostels - it is tough to keep a place clean and orderly when at times twenty people are sharing common space. The Simple was spotless.

We rented a private room. The savings from renting a bed are greatest when there is one person, so hostels work best for single travelers. In fact, the price for two beds would have saved us only about $8 over getting the room to ourselves.

A three minute walk to a local health food store, and I had rice noodles and natural soda for dinner. That saved us the price of eating out (which meant we could order some more expensive drinks when we did go out later). You have to wash your own dishes, of course, which is why we kept it simple (one pan, two bowls, two spoons).

If you are ever in Salida (there are mountains and trails, kayaking the Arkansas, and the Monarch Mountain for skiing), this is a great hostel to stay at.

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