DrVoyageur - Budget Travel Tips Home Page
Los Angeles hostel locations, including Santa Monica and Venice Beach:
1. Hollywood hostels: pros and cons
2. Beach hostels: pros and cons
3. Beach hostels: directions
Vancouver hostels: best locations
Hostel Booking Tips
How to Choose a Hostel in Canada and the U.S.
Three Hostel Types + Rating Systems
Want to have a full night’s sleep? Or, hate rules and curfews? There’s a hostel right for you.
And, in North America, that increasingly includes older guests, who don't want to face high hotel prices in places like New York City.
Three types of hostels:
American and Canadian hostels tend to come in 3 types or a combination of these. When you do your research, you'll end up at the one best for you.
1. Traditional communal hostels: seldom large, these offer a family feeling—the type of good feeling that you’ll find when visiting a group of friends who share a house.
You’ll usually find
- comfortable areas for socializing,
- a communal kitchen, and
- organized group activities, such as kayaking or seeing a film, with high participation.
You may be expected to contribute to the chores.
The HI- Glenwood Springs Hostel near Aspen, Colorado, is a typical communal hostel that we like very much.
2. Party hostels: with few rules and never a curfew, these offer their fun-oriented and often hard drinking clientele a refuge from other hostel types.
Guests are often fiercely loyal returning again and again for the good times. (You certainly won’t if you dislike noise.) These places may feature rather poor maintenance and cleaning, but often sponsor loads of group activities.
The Los Angeles Surf City Hostel in Hermosa Beach, a few steps from the beach, offers a fine example of a well-run party hostel that provides a fun environment for its guests.
3. Hotel-like hostels: these, such as the two hostels mentioned below, may be exceptionally well run, priced right, and otherwise okay for you, but have little personality. They often fail to foster social interaction.
Some, such as Hostelling International - New York City, are simply too large to provide a family feeling.
Others, such as the summer only Pacific Spirit Hostel on the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver, don’t offer areas to socialize, at least in their residence buildings. In fact other than small rooms where people watch television, Pacific Spirit makes no effort to bring people together—not even tables and chairs grouped together outside or a volleyball net set up. Basically, it's a very clean hotel, with hostel-like rates.
How to choose? Descriptions
Using a site like Hostelbookers,
- Read the descriptions. For prices, use the menu for the currency of your choice.
- Is there a pub in the same building or mentions of frequent beer parties? That's very likely a party hostel. It may be fun, but it will nearly certainly be noisy at night.
- Pay attention to booking rules. Do you need an international passport and proof of current travel? Is there an age limit?
- Are there booking fees? (Not with Hostelbookers.) Always book based on total price, not dorm or room rate only.
And Rating systems
Check out the ratings by category—atmosphere, cleanliness, facilities, fun, location, safety (especially location and safety), staff, and value. These are what the travellers who have actually stayed there think about the hostel.
Low ratings for atmosphere and fun? That may be a hotel-like hostel. Low ratings in everything? Well, avoid that place.
Enjoy your trip!
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