During to my travels to both Edinburgh and Paris a youth hostel was my accommodation of choice. Begin on a pretty tight budget; financially they just made the most sense to me. They are easy to find and read up on, due to the many websites specializing in this like hostels.com, hostelworld.com, or hostelbookers.com.
In Paris, myself and my travel mate Cynthia stayed at Aloha Hostel. It being my first experience in Europe and first experience staying in such an accommodation thrilled me from the start. Cynthia and I were stationed in Morocco as United States Peace Corps volunteers when we took our vacation to Paris. We were used to living in a Muslim society where men and woman didn’t mix much and use to staying in the accommodations that our even tighter budget would allow. Needless to say we felt more at home right away in another westernized place.
Again, being my first time, I had nothing to compare Aloha Hostel to. I was pleased with everything it had to offer. As we walked in, late in the evening on our first night in town, we were greeted by friendly staff that checked us in and rented us our linens. They showed us the room that was available to us to lock our baggage during the day if we chose. We were standing in the middle of a common room that had computers available for use as well as a television that would be running nightly movies.
I had only booked the hostel for the first night or two because we thought we might find a different place to stay once we saw Paris a bit. We found our room for the first night and had to enter a quiet, dark, hot room with three bunk beds. There were already some inhabitants in it, sleeping. The first night felt a little odd, just because of the way to came into it, but as the nights went on the situation changed.
We ended up staying at Aloha the entire trip, sleeping in several different rooms over the course of our seven night stay. Some co-ed, some women only, some with 15 beds, others with six. It didn’t bother us all that much moving around as we were just happy to have a comfortable place to rest after hours of walking the city of Paris each day.
A few months later I experienced another hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland. This time I stayed at Caledonia Backpackers Hostel and I was on my own. Hostels are a great place to socialize with and meet people from all over the world. To mingle with like-minded travels such as yourself.
In this hostel I slept in a room with probably 30 beds. It wasn’t too bad and I had a storage locker right next to my bed to secure my belongings while I was out. Even though there were many people sleeping there, I still got a good night sleep as most people were respectful of quiet in the night.
Both these places served free breakfast that was impressive to me at the time. Can’t beat free food when your travel budget is tight.
Both my experiences with hostels were anything but hostile. I felt warm and welcomed. Search the website that specialize in listing hostels to find one in your destination.
Photo Credit: benzado