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has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

Ft.Lauderdale,FL
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has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

My husband and I are thinking about staying at a hostel, but they all seem to share bathrooms. How does this work? Is is something like living in a college dorm where you have a room, but there are large community baths? How are your belongings secured if you are in a community room, lockers? Any ideas on hostels that are secure and clean?

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Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

If you're thinking of staying in London, try the St Pancras hostel, as they offer premium rooms with en suite facilites. Have a look at www.yha.org.uk.

I think Vikram is staying in the Earl's Court hostel - you might leave a message on the forum for him.

Anacortes...
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2. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

I have had great advice from this forum but when it came to questions about hostels, got more info from the forum (Thorn Tree) on the Lonely Planet web site **Thanks Adam for that Tip**

Hackettstown, New...
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3. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

I didn't stay in a hostel when in London, but nearly everywhere else I've hostel'ed it. Shared bathrooms are usually corridor-style affairs, like college dorm rooms. Most hostels have lockers for your belongings, that usually cost extra. Some places I've been, however, the lockers are extremely small, and I could hardly fit a backpack in them. Most hostels have large, multi-bedded rooms - some places have upwards of 12 beds in a room. This might not be the best choice for you and your husband - most people who go to hostels are youths and college students who don't mind the little privacy and no benefits.

York
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4. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

Whenever I've been hostelling, for security I've always taken about six feet of solid but not-too-heavy chain and a padlock.

That way, if there's no locker, you can always chain your bags to the bedpost! It doesn't stop people getting in, but it stops them just picking up the whole thing and walking off.

York
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5. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

Of course you have to not do what we did and lose the key.

Having run back to the hostel to get back before it closed, we then had to make ourselves understood in French that we needed a hacksaw.

Finally, we walked into our room which had previously been unoccupied - hot, sweaty and wielding a hacksaw - and found two pretty Swedish ladies getting ready for bed and wearing just towels.

They were remarkably understanding for all that...

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6. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

Hmm, not sure that they will be what you're expecting.

I did the backpacker thing a few years back now (sorry that the info is dated) and stayed in several London hostels and many many country English ones. Mostly I stayed in the Youth Hostels' Association ones. In London I stayed in St Paul's. The rooms were usually at least 6 people. Yes, the clientele are young but I think the young and trendy crowd (ie, noisy partying types) mostly go to the private hostels like 'the Generator'. YHA St Paul's got alot of European school groups plus a mixture of young and not so young. Single shower rooms and single toilets were placed along the hallways in various spots. The showers operated on a press button system but rather than operate for two minutes or so they only actually worked WHILE you pressed the button, thus hairwashing was tricky. During summer the bathrooms weren't really coping with the numbers and weren't that clean.

The country hostels were better although there is a wide range. The price is somewhat of an indicator. So is the YHA book that lists all the facilities. The very cheap are very rustic. The country YHA's were well known to the local English walking crowds who patronised them as well as other younger tourists. The locals therefore know the good ones and which have the more rare family and couples rooms. In the better hostels, these more private rooms would be a very good budget accommodation choice. Problem was that the locals booked the good rooms well ahead whereas we did the backpacker thing of phoning a few days ahead and could rarely get the good rooms.

I remember some very spartan hostels but also some real beauties that would rival a B&B for the quality of the accommodation.

Did NOT like the food though. A central caterer seemed to supply all the YHA's and we came to know the repetitive weekly menu drill far too well. I think we were the ony hostelers who were taking advantage of the cheap accommodation in order to fund such a long trip, yet come evening when the others lined up at the YHA caf awaiting their reheated pie or lasagne, we were getting into our hire car to go and find a good local restaurant!

Its hardly worth me naming the good ones now because things will have changed. York was very nice and a brilliant little one was in an interesting mining town somewhere south of Glasgow - the name always escapes me.

Remember that many of the country ones require you to vacate the premises during the day, even if you are staying over again that night. I don't recall having to do this in London though.

I do hope this info isn't too dated but I must have stayed in 20 or 30 of them so I thought it might still be worth posting.

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7. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

Oh yeah, re the bathrooms (I just re-read your post), the college style bathroom with a row of shower cubicles and another row of toilet cubicles was also a common configuration.

They all vary given most English places are in 'historic' buildings(by Aussie standrds) and rarely purpose built as a YHA so it just depends.

Ensuites were creeping in at the time - again, note the point about the good rooms booking up early.

If you're going to take your luck with the traditional style hostel accomm then you need to prepare and pack for hostel life and take your shower thongs, earplugs, padlocks for your locker and so forth.

Redmond, Washington
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8. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

jawa912, I stayed at the YHA in both Carbisdale Castle (Highlands, Scotland) and Earl's Court and loved both of them. They're good value for money. Only thing is don't forget your towel though. And also carry a lock/key wity you. Sure they promise you lockers, but the fine print is that you need to bring your own locks!

London
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9. Re: has anyone ever stayed in a hostel?

I've stayed in many hostels all over the world although not in London.

In general you have a selection of rooms, either private doubles, triples or quads and then you go into the dorm rooms of anywhere from 6 and up. Dorm rooms will be a combination of mixed and single gender.

Depending on the hostel some of the private rooms will have their own bathroom, otherwise it will be shared facilities. These facilities vary a lot. I've been in some hostels with fantastic modern and clean facilities with more than enough showers and toilets for all the guests. I've been in others where the facilities can not be described as anything other than disgusting. If you google London Hostels you should come up with sites that will give you user ratings on the facilities, this should help you weed out the bad ones.

If you have a private room you will have your own access either key or card, the hostel will probably offer lockers for people in dorm rooms but as other posters have mentioned the size will vary and this will probably be at an additional cost. From experience I never leave any kind of valuable in a hostel while I am away.