Staying at a Student Hostel
Many college-age students decide that they'd like to spend some time abroad, either studying at other universities or backpacking through different countries. Fortunately for them, while hotels can be very expensive, there's no shortage of youth hostels, which provide cheaper accommodations in a dorm-like atmosphere. Here's how you can get started on an ideal experience at a student hostel.
1. Book online and read student reviews
Because you're traveling abroad, most hostels allow you to book your room online. Depending on the type of hostel and the price range, you can get anything from a dormitory filled with multiple beds or a more private 2-to-3-person room. When looking up a hostel, always check the reviews posted by other student travelers. They'll tell you how well they rate the service, cleanliness, location, and overall convenience.
2. Be prepared to pay a security deposit and other fees
Demand for rooms in youth hostels often runs high, which is why paying a security deposit is essential. It reserves your space before you arrive. You'll also have to be ready for other expenses like cancellation fees and late check-in fees. Fortunately, most hostels accept major credit cards and an increasing number accept electronic payment through sites like PayPal.
3. Bring a sleeping bag or clean linen
Some hostels don't provide linen that meets everyone's standards of cleanliness, so it's not a bad idea to have some packed just in case. A sleeping bag also works well, especially for traveling to a colder climate than you're used to. You can also use the sleeping bag or linen to mark when your bed's been occupied and prevent someone else from taking it.
4. Buy a combination lock or padlock
In case the hostel provides a drawer under your bed or some other footlocker, you should bring a lock with you to keep all your possessions secure. You'll have better peace of mind while you're sleeping there and you can leave your more valuable possessions behind while you're out during the day.
5. Get to know other people at the hostel
Whether you're traveling with friends or exploring a new place on your own, it never hurts to be social. Talking to other travelers your age will be an enriching experience. You'll also have the opportunity to share stories and learn about other places that you can visit.