Monday, October 17, 2011

How to survive a hostel

               So, Ben and I thought that it would be a neat adventure to stay in a hostel. Plus, it would save some money. Win/win, right? Looking on the website it said it was on a historic square and offered a free full breakfast every morning. So, well, not really. Actually, no. Not at all.
                As it turns out it was on a historic town square technically in the town we wanted. Technically. If you were to write it a letter, you would address it to the right town. In reality it was more than twenty minutes outside of town proper. Apparently New Mexico has large zip code areas. We ended up in a town that had seven shops that all closed at six. No grocery store. No convenience store. The one little shop where you could “buy groceries” actually (I’m not kidding) had two of every product. Sometimes not that much.  So this is your first tip: look up on a map exactly where the place is. Look at its relationship to other places that you want to go.

                For a hostel the place was nice. We actually managed to book private rooms with private bath for a little extra (the grand total was still $35 a night). That being said, it is still a hostel. There are some things you need to think about that might not normally know. Here are a few things that I found most handy.

For your own health and well being, when you are staying in a hostel bring a pair of shower shoes. Also be sure to bring some kind of room spray; not everyone is as clean as you. If you plan on going to bed early or sleep late, I suggest a pair of earplugs. Lots of other people stay there and they do not care what your sleep schedule is.  To make your stay more enjoyable, ask the people who live there what they like to do and what places are good to eat at. They can give you insight to places you didn’t even know were there.

There will come up situations that you do not like. You should find a way to be flexible. Remember: you are in a hostel not a hotel. It is not about customer service there. It is about a place to sleep for cheap. For example, while we had a private bath, the plumbing was so old that you could not flush toilet paper down the toilet. I’m not going to go into detail here, but you can imagine the complications that arose. So we just planned to be elsewhere at certain times of the day (just in case).

Don’t plan on meals. It may promise a full breakfast, but in reality it is a tub of oatmeal and access to a pot. This can be a plus or minus. If you are looking to save money you can buy some groceries and cook yourself. If you are looking for convenience and want to come in after a long day of activities and pay for a meal, you’re out of luck. Another possible down side is that someone has cooked curry and for several days the whole place smells.

Overall, it was a neat experience. We got to meet some cool people and some weird people and some quiet people. I had some of the best noodles I’ve ever eaten. I met a Buddhist who uses his practice group to pick up women/see them naked. I met a Disney producer and his writer wife. I learned these helpful tips to pass on to you. So if you fell like an adventure, I actually do recommend trying a hostel.

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