What to Expect When Staying in a Hostel

By John Felix

Studying abroad in Europe means traveling on a budget. Traveling on a budget means staying at hostels. Hostels mean…

Now before I finish that sentence, let me tell you a little about my experiences with hostels. After graduating from college, I backpacked all over Europe bouncing around from hostel to hostel across 9 countries as I made my way to 17 fabulous cities. So it’s safe to say I have had quite a bit of experience with hostels, and there is absolutely no better way to travel.

To kick things off, let me tell you my favorite thing about staying in hostels. The people you meet. In my 2 months of backpacking, I met countless people from all across the globe, many of whom I still keep in touch with, and some of whom I have seen in the time since my backpacking days. Everyone who is traveling and staying at hostels, whether it be by themselves or in a group, is looking to make new friends, drink a couple of adult beverages and have a good time. Most of the top rated hostels in Europe are targeted at college aged kids, because college kids know how to have the most fun, and that is what traveling is all about.

My favorite hostels all have one thing in common. A lobby bar. This is the best place to meet people and to share travel experiences and stories. The only thing that beats a lobby bar is a bar with outdoor seating in the summertime which is very common.

Some other important things to know:

The most important thing when looking for hostels is checking the ratings and reviews from some of the most trusted sites (hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com). All Bus2alps trips, for instance, only stay at hostels with high ratings on these reputable sites.

FREE WIFI! As an abroad student or backpacker alike, one thing is abundantly clear…life is lived from wifi spot to wifi spot. And let’s be honest, everything else is painful. Hostels give you the chance to post that Instagram pic that you’ve been dying to, or send out a Snap Chat to let the world know where your European adventures have taken you now. Because what’s more important than letting all your friends know on social media how much cooler your life is than theirs.

Local knowledge of the area. All top rated hostels have wonderful staff who are more than happy to share some of their favorite places in the city with you. Whether it be sightseeing, food, nightlife or anything else, you can always turn to the receptionist for some top of the line advice.

Free Breakfast. Breakfast is almost always included, and some places *cough cough* The Czech Inn (Prague) *cough cough* Goli & Bosi (Croatia) *cough cough* The Pink Palace (Greece) offer up a bomb breakfast that is most definitely worth getting out of bed for.

Other food options. Often times, hostels (especially those with a bar) will offer a food menu for lunch and/or dinner. Surprisingly enough, it is usually pretty good when you want a quick bite to grab before heading off to explore the city.

Lockers and storage rooms. Hostels are a very safe place to stay, and to ensure safety of your valuables, you will have the luxury of lockers and/or storage rooms so that you do not have to worry about your things while you are out enjoying the city.

And now we have arrived back at the beginning. It is finally time to check back on that unfinished sentence I started us off with. Studying abroad in Europe means traveling on a budget. Traveling on a budget means staying at hostels. Hostels mean…good company, great times and unforgettable memories. But don’t just take my word for it. Now it’s time for you to go venture across Europe and experience the only way you should travel when you’re young and looking to have fun.

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