membership as American Youth Hostels (AYH), International
Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF), Youth Hostel Aossociation
available for purchase)
HI members only)
are ideal accomodations for budget travelers. They are usually
dormitory-style with 2-10 beds each and separated by sex.
Some hostels have curfews at night and lockout periods in
the afternoon. You may be asked to do minor cleaning chores
as well, but not always. Many busy hostels do not accept reservations,
so arrive early in the morning (think seven) to have the best
chance. If you don't like being spontaneous a booking agency,
such as IBN, can hook you up with hostels that do take reservations.
Note though that IBN is for HI members only.
International is the largest hostel organization. Member hostels
often must abide by standards such as midnight curfew and
afternoon lockout. Non-members are charged three extra dollars
at participating hostels, but after six stays they are considered
full members. Thus, it can come out better than ordering your
twenty-five dollar membership (which you must do before you
leave). However, some hostels give preference to members.
An alternative is Hostels of Europe, a collection of independant
hostels, which offers discounts to members. There are also
some hostels free of affiliation that will have fewer standards
but fewer restrictions.
hostels require you to have a sleep sheet, which is two sheets
sewn together like a sleeping bag. Some hostels do not allow
you to use your sleeping bag because they carry bugs. Also
it is a good idea to bring a towel and your own soap.
adventurous and diverse. Most travelers are extremely friendly
and they are a great source of good inside information about
your future destinations. Or, if you are traveling alone,
you can join a group that shares your next destination. There
are common rules of courtesy to respect other's sleep and
space, but don't expect to hear a pin drop. They are very
safe, yet you should keep your valuables on you or in the
lockers that hostels sometimes have available.