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jlm11f's avatar

Have you purchased student airfare tickets? And have you lived in a hostel?

Asked by jlm11f (12388points) June 2nd, 2008

Thanks to pixiequeen12 for mentioning studentuniverse , a site which caters to selling cheaper airfares to college students. I noticed they also offer hostel accommodations for your destination. My question is whether you have ever used this site (or any such student based site) and what was your experience? Also, have you ever lived in a hostel and what was your experience for that. I think of a hostel like a dormitory, am I close?

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8 Answers

wildflower's avatar

Yes. Have done both. Airfare is usually just regular coach tickets, just sold with a student discount (so choices may be a little limited). Hostels are a great alternative to hotels if you’re just looking for a place to crash. There are basically no frills, just a bed, access to bathroom and most likely a canteen or restaurant of sorts.
Some places may charge extra for bedlinen or you can bring your own.

Hostels are a great place to meet other young travellers as you’d often be sleeping in multi-sleeper rooms. Of course some characters may be more appealing than others. Also, you’d want a safe place to store your valuables, like passport and money.

Kay's avatar

I’ve stayed in hostels in the UK with good success; they were all clean, safe, and run by good-natured, competent people. If you do your research you should be fine, especially in Europe where staying in hostels is common.

mvgolden's avatar

I used to stay at hostels all the time in the US, Australia, and Europe. A couple things to know.

1) Get a copy of Lonely Planet for the place you are going. There are other guide books (Let’s go, Frommers). I find Let’s go to be too “let’s get drunk and party, and Frommers to be to upscale. Lonely Planet and Let’s Go should give a review of the hostels.

2) make a sleep sheet. Take a full size sheet and fold it in half. Then sew the edges to make a bag. turn it inside out and you have a great way to have your own clean sheets, and keetp your valuables safe. You can put stuff at your feet while you sleep.

3) if you are worried about staying in hostels always look for ones that are members of Hosteling International

I have met all kind at hostels. They can be a great place to meet people.

shilolo's avatar

I’ve also stayed in hostels, and mygolden’s advice is spot on. I would add that another alternative to hostels is to negotiate and rent a room in someone’s house. When I backpacked around Europe with my brother, we did that a lot. Typically, when we would exit the train, there would be people holding signs or pictures who would approach you about their place. Upside, more privacy and meeting/interacting with “the locals”. Downside, you don’t meet nearly as many new people as you would if you shared a large room and exchanged stories, travel itineraries, etc.

jlm11f's avatar

@ shilolo – people actually wait at the stations to offer room in their house? cool ! i have never heard of that before!

thank you all for your answers! you all sound like you had great experiences living in hostels, which is encouraging. I wasn’t really keen on it initially, but really want to make my trips as cheap as possible. traveling is always so exciting, i don’t understand how some people live their entire lives without even leaving the state they live in (i know many people like that).

shilolo's avatar

@PnL. Judging by your avatar, I would guess that you are a woman. Are you planning on traveling alone, or with friends? If alone, then the hostel route is much safer since most hostels do not have coed dorms (so you will be bunking with other women). Trying to negotiate a price for a room in someone’s house while figuring out whether they are likely stalkers or worse could be difficult. That said, my experiences staying in people’s homes were far more useful for learning about the local culture than the hostel experiences, which at times can feel like glorified frat houses/sororities. One of my favorite memories from Spain was watching an Atletico Madrid versus Real Madrid soccer game with a family on their small TV, and just “hanging out” with the entire family.

susanc's avatar

If you feel at ease doing it, another approach is to get off the train, find a policeman, and ask if he knows a family who’d like to rent a room. They usually do, and the people who
tell the cops they want visitors don’t tend to be nefarious evildoers.

Sometimes they throw their kids out of a room for you, so you don’t want to stay too many nights in a row.

You might also look at the website couchsurfing.com.

susanc's avatar

Also, PnL, yes, I accidentally purchased student airfare tickets a few years back and got a great deal, flying from Seattle to Johannesburg with a stop in the Cape Verde Islands.
Cheap and (considering the distances) really comfortable. After we’d gone through the whole purchase process, I learned that I was supposed to actually be a student, which I wasn’t, so the cool brilliant young agent gave me a card claiming my husband and I were teachers, which we also weren’t. These cards gave us access to a lot of nice discounts and also when people thought we were teachers they were nice to us. Both of us HAD BEEN teachers of various kinds so we could still tell stories. (Stories are the currency of travellers…).

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