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If you're older than 24 and you're still staying in hostels, that's a big shhh no-no. At least that's what society would have you think, however; we'd like to officially come out and say that we're older than 24 and still. staying. in. hostels.
Deep breath. Though the reason for our hostel stays has evolvedthey're now backups for when we blow all our budget early on in trips, with 5-star hotelswe're never ashamed.
Having done the whole backpack-around-Europe thing during college, we have a solid past dotted with hostel stays of all sorts. Dirty hostels? Don't get us started on Budapest. Party hostels? Ugh, Barcelona. Plain scary hostels? Look no further than London. Still we haven't given up on them, and we've discovered some real diamonds in the rough, places we'd happily return to (and soon). Oh yeah, and ALL WITH EXCELLENT, FREE WIFI INTERNET AND BREAKFAST. Here's three we've recently stayed at, and personally approve of:
The hostel in question, as you undoubtedly figured out from the ads, is Amsterdam's Hans Brinker Budget Hotel. Lest you think they're joking about the lack of amenities, or that their self-deprecation is a passing thing, the establishment website hawks a book titled The Worst Hotel in the World: The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel Amsterdam. They're proud all of it, from the nonexistent bedding to the subpar customer service. It's like they're the Ryanair of hostels.
Via Advertising Is Good For You, Pure genius:
Prime-Plane-Spotting-Map / Plane Spotting / Stockholm / Stockholm Travel / Airplane News / Hostels / Airplanes / → All Tags
We love airplanes, you love airplanes, so let's go look at airplanes! In our Prime Plane Spotting series, we'll let you in on all the best spots to whip out your cameras and binoculars for a piece of the aviation action.
Where is better for plane spotting than actually being on the airport's tarmac...or better yet, in a honeymoon suite on the tarmac? This actually became possible less than a year ago, when the Jumbo Hostel opened at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport.
This decommissioned 747 has had its seats ripped out in favor of installing 25 bedroom suites, complete with free wireless internet access and flatscreen TVs, and, for most rooms, full en-suite bathrooms. Even Singapore Airlines' A380 first class suites can't compare with these, but then the Jumbo Hostel no longer flies, so there's that.
Our own Brendan Spiegel is down in Panama this week and will be reporting back on all that he's seen and done. Whether or not he's wearing a Panama Hat, we can't say. But if you have any questions or suggestions for him, let us know.
Panama has its fair share of high-end beach resorts, with more coming soon from folks like Nikki Beach and Trump. But for those seeking beachcomber's paradise without the fat expense account, the clear answer is Bocas Del Toro.
This idyllic Caribbean archipelago is the closest thing Panama has to a Costa Rican-style pura vida backpacking scene. It's the kind of place where you run in to everyone from five-year-old Panamanians hawking homemade jewelry to ex-pat American yoga instructors to rowdy spring breakers who maybe were looking for the other Panama City. But whoever you are, the only requirement is a solid "chill out" vibe.
Being on a budget can really narrow down your choices. But luckily, Cape Town is a big city with lots of options when it comes to accommodations and dining. (Even for those who are broke!)
Hostels / Backpackers / Beaches / → All Tags
Dirty rooms, dirty dishes, dirty hippies... we've all stayed there. But every once in awhile you stumble upon a unique hostel that makes you realize why some people never graduate to the hotel scene.
Buccaneers Backpackers in Cintsa, South Africa is one of those spots. Set in the middle of the Wild Coast, the country's least developed bit of beach, Buccaneers has a location that screams future four-star hotels and makes you want to stay as long as possible before it gets touristed-up.
Skip the dorms and grab one of the two-person safari tents, which come complete with beds. Mounted on individual wooden decks, the tents overlook the mouth of the Cintsa River as it flows into the warm Indian Ocean. Starting at R90 ($10) a person, you'd be hard-pressed to find a cheaper room with this view anywhere in the world.
Hostels / Australia / New Zealand / Women / → All Tags
Remember when we mentioned that adults were spending more time in hostels? No wonder, now that the truth comes out: It's not that they were so interested in slumming it, but that hostels are getting fancier by the minute. Aussie and Kiwi hostels, anyway.
Base Backpackers has locations in Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne and was named one of the top ten "hippest hostels" by Lonely Planet this year.Perhaps it's because they don't treat their residents like dirt, a welcome change from many cheap accommodations.
Unlike regular hotels, which still don't know how to cater to the ladies, Base offers a women-only floor called "Sanctuary", which has free Aveda hair care products, down pillows and hairdryers. For the men, there's a basement bar to pick up the well-rested, perfectly coiffed ladies staying in the hostel with them.
If only there were metrosexual hostels...we need mousse when we travel, damn it!
[Image via *rafaella/Flickr]
· Cheap Chic [SF Chronicle]
· Back in the Arms of a Girlfriend [Jaunted]
· Strange Bedfellows [Jaunted]
Want to sleep in the same room as some rowdy Australians, but don't have a passport? Maybe you should consider staying in a hostel in the U.S. of A. Hostels don't have to be an unpleasant experience abroad anymore. No sir, there are plenty here at home as well.
And not only are there gobs of them to go around, but they're full of old people, according to the Washington Post. Baby boomers are apparently so desperate to recapture their youth that they are yearning for communal showers while they travel. They can have them, as far as Jaunted is concerned.
See, this is why we only go on getaway weekends with Oprah. She'll protect us from learning something about other cultures or getting drunk and making out with that smelly Dutch girl.
[Image via atanas/Flickr]
· Hostel Sleepover [Washington Post]
Hotels / Hostels / → All Tags
Running at a loss, the Youth Hostels Association, which runs hundreds of them in England and Wales, is closing about 30 hostels but going upscale with many of the others. More and more of the YHA's British audience has been heading to the Continent instead (blame the cheap airfare), and for lots of people, a dorm-like room without a bathroom just doesn't cut it anymore. The newly yuppified hostels will have features such as private showers, Fair Trade coffee, and local produce and booze served at mealtimes.
· Hostel dorms to make way for en suites and fine wine [London Times]
· Youth Hostels Association [Official site]