No, I’m not daft. I know that the phrase is “hostile takeover.” But what fun would that be to blog about? I’m talking about hostels. I had the most outrageous time this past weekend in Scotland. I traveled by train to Glascow on Friday morning, got to explore the city a bit, check out the night life and also spent my very first time ever in a hostel.
I was super surprised actually. I guess that I had all of these preconceived notions that I was going to be staying in this run down dirty place and have to sleep with my back pack tethered to me. I thought that there would be a giant communal bathroom being used by every single person in the place. I thought that it would probably be super dirty and I would be freaking out the whole time because I might get bed bugs or need a tetanus shot.
Man, oh man, was I wrong!
America, we need to get on the hostel train.
So yes, some people can have terrible experiences and get stuck in dodgy places with people who aren’t the most trustworthy, but I felt extremely lucky.
My very first hostel experience I was in a room with 14 bunks. As I have learned, sometimes you will be able to pick your bunk and sometimes you will be assigned one. Luckily I got assigned a bottom bunk (because let’s be real, after the nights that I was having, climbing to the top bunk would have been impossible). So, I got my bunk. I settled my stuff in. We (my friend V, who I met when I came to London, also happens to be my flat mate and miraculously a perfect travel companion) ran to a local store that we kept calling “Poundtown” I think it’s actual name was Poundland or Poundville or something like that, but essentially it was the English/Scottish version of a dollar store, and we picked up this surprisingly heavy duty locks.
Hostel Travel Tip #1
Invest in a lock! While you may not need it at every hostel where you stay (if you have stellar bunkmates) I would say it was well worth the investment. At both hostels where I stayed there were lockers, but padlocks were not provided. Although in Glasgow a maintenance man did offer to give me one for free if mine did work properly (which was very sweet).
But I digress: So, we locked our stuff up and grabbed a quick nap since we had been awake/on the move since about 3.45 AM. Then we met some of our bunk mates!
Hostel Travel Tip #2
TALK TO F*CKING EVERYONE. Or at least as many people as you can. Seriously, you will not regret it at all. I can’t tell you how many instant connections you’ll make with people from all different walks of life and all different nationalities. Make friends. It makes, not only sharing a room, but finding plans for the night so much easier.
Over the course of one weekend I have made friends with people from Australia, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Scotland, and even some fellow Americans. You all have the instant bond because you’re obviously traveling, some were out for the weekend, others have been living hostel to hostel for months now. I learned some incredible stories, got some awesome recommendations of places to go or other hostels to stay in, and just had an awesome time learning about different cultures and different perceptions that they all have of America and Americans.
Hostel Travel Tip #3
Bring your own towels. Because DUH. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that they don’t usually provide towels, but you will definitely be paying for them if you need to rent them from reception, so bring your own if you are going to be staying for more than a few days, you will probably want to shower. Unless you’re a grungy cheap b*tch like me and you learn the art of towel-less shower. *Not as glamorous as I make it seem.
I think that maybe I could make this list go on a bit longer, but I’m not a professional hostel go-fer just yet. Give me a few more months. But, I guess that my biggest ip of all would be: don’t be a fraud to try it! You never know who you could end up having as a roommate, you could have made new friends for life!