Posts Tagged With: hotels

To Hostel or not to Hostel?

That is the question!

When I mention the idea of staying in a “Hostel”, what comes to mind? Believe it or not, plenty of people out there in the world think it’s a cheap, scummy and dangerous place to stay; well, let me see… Cheap? Yes, most certainly! Perfect for those that want to budget travel! Scummy? Not if you research into where you will be staying and ensure that there are well-written, unbiased reviews. Dangerous? I don’t believe that there are any dangerous places out there, just travellers that are not using their head, intuition and common-sense. Please don’t base the idea of staying or not staying at a Hostel on the movie: “Hostel”. A movie is a movie.
A stay at a hostel can be as good or as bad as you want it to be, it all boils down to preparation and travel research, but sometimes, even for the well-educated and avid traveller, you will sometimes bump into the inevitable. With proper research and travel skills, you can highly reduce that chances of staying at a crummy hostel and making the best of your trip!

I’ll list off some Pros and Cons for you to weigh out:

Pros

  • Hostels are much cheaper than almost any other kind of accommodation out there. I stayed 8 nights in Cracow, Poland for 140$ USD!
  • Hostels are generally located in the heart of the best districts, usually in better locations than most Hotels!
  • Hostels often offer free Wi-Fi and sometimes even a free Breakfast!
  • Hostels often offer private rooms for just a few dollars more, for those that simply cannot sacrifice a bit of privacy.
  • Hostels will provide you with information and ideas of what to do and see in the area that you’re visiting; not only the major sights, but all the local hotspots as well!
  • Hostels often have a common-room, where you can socialize and meet other travellers just like yourself!
  • Hostels may give you a discount if you own a “Hostelling International Membership” card. (Imagine that! Cheaper than the cheap price you’re already paying!)

Of course, there are so many more “Pros” that I could list, but that should be good enough for now. Time for some “Cons”!

Cons

  • You may have to sacrifice some privacy. (Are you really going to spend all of your time in your room anyways?)
  • The bathrooms are usually shared. (You share the bathroom in your house and you share the bathroom with several other employees at your workplace, what’s the difference?)
  • It might be difficult to get some sleep if people are snoring. (The “Ear Plug” is a wonderful invention!)
  • You run the small chance of running into a hostel that is not properly maintained in several manners. (Don’t you run that risk staying at a Hotel you’ve never been to? Besides, that’s where doing your research comes in; read unbiased reviews!)
  • You run the risk of your goods potentially getting stolen if you are not provided with adequate storage facilities with appropriate security features for your gear to be stored while you’re out exploring. (Again, read the reviews. Travelling is an art and you will learn through experience).

    If you have the money, you want the posh lifestyle and don’t have a budget to worry about, then by all means, take the luxury hotel situated in the heart of the city, but if you’re on a budget like me, which is probably most people reading this blog, then you’re going to want to find options that won’t have your wallet screaming in agony.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Enter the URL: www.hostelworld.com
  2. Enter the City and Country you will be travelling to and of course, the respective dates with the amount of people that will be staying.
  3. Click “Search”
  4. Several results will show up, displaying a list of several different Hostels that you can choose from; the best thing to do at this point is to sort all your results appropriately. Click on the drop-down box right next to “Sort by:” and select “Overall Rating”.
  5. Now, all your results should be sorted by the best rated Hostel to the least rated Hostel. Check them out one at a time to ensure that the room that you want is available for the dates that you specified, the Hostel is located in the part of the city you want to be staying in, the price is affordable and the ratings are good. Always keep a keen eye as to what kind of Hostel you may be staying at, as some are themed and even oriented towards “Partying”, which may not be the type of Hostel you want to stay at if you’re trying to get a good night’s rest!

I’ve always used www.hostelworld.com for all my hostel needs. The thing I like about the site is that they provide accurate, unbiased reviews about the Hostel that you could be potentially staying at. Also, when you do decide to reserve your room/bed, you only have to place down 10% over the internet and then pay the remaining balance once you arrive at the Hostel. You also have an option, for just a few dollars more, you can protect yourself from losing your money if a cancellation on your booking is required. You will get credited the balance on the website to be used towards another Hostel in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve stayed at Hostels all over the globe and I’ll tell you from first-hand experience that again, with some experience and research, you will find yourself enjoying your stay at Hostels, whether you’re staying in a private room or a shared dorm. I personally, won’t choose to stay in a Hotel again unless I absolutely have to. The most important thing is that you have to keep an open-mind and with an open-mind, you’ll be a happier person in the end.

Last weekend, Amy and I stayed at a Hostel in the heart of Toronto, the “Entertainment” District to be exact. The name of the Hostel was called: “The Clarence Park” Hostel. We booked a private room that had it’s own bathroom and for 40$/per person/per night, you can’t beat it! We basically stayed 3 nights in the heart of Downtown Toronto for 240$ and the room was PRIVATE! No shared Bathroom either! If we chose to stay at any hotel in Downtown Toronto, 3 nights would have easily costed us 450-600$!

Here’s a snap of the place we stayed at:

The Clarence Park Hostel - Private Room

The Clarence Park Hostel – Private Room

As you can see, the room itself is basic, but very cozy, clean and acceptable! The bed is King-sized, there’s a television (which you can’t see in this photo) mounted onto the wall with cable facing the bed. There’s a desk, comfortable chair, balcony and a private bathroom. In the bathroom, you have the essentials: Toilet, sink and shower. There’s no bathtub, but again, think of the money you’re saving, you’re getting the absolute essentials at rock-bottom price in the heart of Downtown Toronto! A very expensive city to live in. The room itself was very quiet with the balcony door closed; we had no problem obtaining a full night’s rest, every single night!

At the end of the day, you should consider trying out a Hostel, what do you have to lose? Nothing, because you’re actually saving, big time!

Keep an open mind, explore, have fun and always try something different and new!

Categories: Hostels, Travel, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day out in Victoria, BC

My plane arrived at around midnight, so we took a taxi down to the “Royal Scot Hotel” where we stayed just for a night; straight to bed I went, I wanted to catch as much sleep as I could before venturing off into this beautiful city.
I woke up at about 0730hrs to enjoy a “West Coast Omelette” at “Jonathan’s Restaurant”; filled with shrimp, smoked salmon and topped off with Hollandaise sauce, I think I was in heaven! Man, do I ever miss the delicious seafood of British Colombia.

After my outstanding Breakfast, I took “Bus 6” down to the Naval Dockyard, which is where all the Canadian Navy ships rest, which includes my previous two ships: “HMCS Protecteur” and “HMCS Algonquin”. I walked onto the “HMCS Protecteur” and quietly made my way up to my old workplace where I surprised my buddies who are still working on the ship. When they looked at me, they glanced away and then quickly looked back. They must have thought they were hallucinating for a second, because they had no idea I was flying into the city. They were overjoyed to see me, just as I was to see them. These friends have helped me through the toughest of my times when I was living in Victoria, BC. They were true friends, always pushing their plans aside to help me out when I really needed it; these are the kind of friendships that you need to treasure and value for the rest of your lives, its not everyday you run into people like that. I stayed on the ship for just over an hour, wolfed down a bowl of “Cream of Chicken” soup for the Navy tradition of “Stand Easy”, which is at 1000hrs everyday, then made my way to the ship across from the “HMCS Protecteur”, which is the “HMCS Algonquin”. My awesome friend Jen, the one that we bumped into during my Vegas vacation was working “Quartermaster” duty. I paid her a surprise visit; it was really awesome to see that she is doing great overall and that she some awesome sails to look forward to!

Shortly after reminiscing with some amazing friends, I hopped onto a bus heading towards downtown to grab myself a delicious Lunch at one of the restaurants that serve the food that I miss most: “Azuma Sushi”. The sushi here in Trenton is overpriced and definitely not up to the standard of quality that you will find on the West Coast of Canada. I had a “Spicy Salmon Roll” and a “Yam Roll” with a bowl of brown rice topped with roasted sesame sauce on the side. The bill only ran up to 12.95$, now THAT’S a VERY fair price, especially for quality food!

I didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Victoria, so I slowly walked back to my hotel, grabbing a “Spanish Latte” at one of my favorite Cafes: “Dolce Vita”. What really impresses me about “Dolce Vita” is how they create coffee art in your drink. They actually construct some sort of complex pattern in your coffee; it looks so nice you almost don’t want to drink it! Don’t worry though, I don’t know how they do it, but somehow when you sip back your delicious drink, the pattern doesn’t disappear, it stays right to the bottom of the cup!

Well, I’m back home in Trenton now, but not for long! I’ll have another adventure shortly for you to read up on, just keep your eyes peeled!

Tomorrow, I start my first Piano lesson, I’m also hitting up the gym with Amy first thing tomorrow morning too. Nothing like a fresh start to your day!

Dolce Vita Coffee Art

Dolce Vita Coffee Art

Categories: British Colombia, Canada, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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