Chapter 12 : Hostels for Cheap
and Interesting Travel
Hostels have been around in one form or another for a long
time. They are oriented towards young travelers and anyone seeking
cheap accommodations. The U.S. version used to be more complicated,
with guests helping with chores, etc.
They are simpler now. You rent a bed instead of a room, sharing
the bathroom, living room and kitchen. Less privacy, but cheaper
accommodations, and you get to socialize.
My first time in Quito, Ecuador I stayed at Centro Del Mundo,
a hostel near the center of the area they call "gringolandia."
$4 per night included breakfast. I shared a room and bathroom
with 4 others, and a T.V. room with guests from 14 countries,
and channels in three languages. It was clean and comfortable,
with a locking trunk next to each bed for valuables.
For 80 cents I could have a rum-and-coke brought to me while
I played chess with a flower-buyer from Holland. The manager
could arrange anything from $15-tours of the snow-covered volcano
Cotapaxi, to $2-per-hour Spanish lessons. Friday nights the rum
was bought by the manager, and there was a party out in the patio.
Is a Hostel for You?
Not all hostels are as much fun as the one I stayed at in
Quito, nor would all travelers want that kind of place. I happen
to love hostels, but most travelers won't. I like mingling with
travelers from around the world. "Mingling," of course,
could mean sleeping next to a snorer.
In a hotel you are more isolated than in a hostel, but a private
room has its advantages. I'm sure the idea of sharing a room
is too much for some people, as is waiting to use the shower.
A hostel is definitely a different experience from staying in
Even if they were the same price, I'd prefer a hostel to a
hotel, but one of the biggest reasons people stay in hostels
is to save money. For this, they're a good option when you're
traveling alone. Since my wife and I travel together now, we
don't stay in hostels often. You pay for two beds, after all,
which makes hotels more competitive.
Some hostels do have private rooms. If you are not sure you
like the idea of sharing a room, but you like the idea of a more
social environment, ask about this. Sometimes you can even get
a private room with a bathroom.
Hostels are not as common in the U.S. as in other countries,
unless you include "bed-and-breakfast" places. These
are somewhat like high-priced hostels, but with private rooms.
There are still hostels in almost every state, though.
Search Google or another search engine for hostels, and you'll
find all the information you need. One site that I have found
to be useful for finding hostels is www.hostels.com. They have
listings and details about hostels all over the world.
Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible
to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing
anything. - Charles Kuralt
Continue with Chapter 13 here: Cheap
Note: This chapter on hostels was part of the e-book
Travel Secrets. Now all chapters are free on this site.
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