So, for all of you travelers out there that say you’ll never stay in anything less than a 4-star hotel…well, its time to have your eyes opened.
I had the opportunity to stay in the nicest hostel that I have ever seen when I stopped in Lima on my way back to the United States from Cusco, Peru. Now, if you’re already thinking negative thoughts because I mentioned the word hostel, well, to put it bluntly, you’re already wrong. I realize that some people have absolutely no idea what a hostel is actually like, which is part of the reason I wrote thispost after staying in a very nice hostel in Bariloche, Argentina. If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, I invite you to please check out that article which compares the amenities of a hostel with those of a 3-star hotel.
When speaking about where I’m traveling to next, the number one question I’m asked by fellow bloggers, followers, friends, and even family members is: “How the heck do you afford to do all this?” I’d like to take the time to briefly answer this question for anyone who might be wondering, and for anyone who might be looking for ideas on ways to travel cheaply.
(Warning: This one’s only for the most adventurous of us travelers)
In a previous post I have already compared the price differences between staying in a hotel or in a hostel, but what if you want a place to stay but don’t even want to spend the amount of money required for a hostel? No worries, you don’t have to live in the dark ally during your next trip, there actually is another option that provides a place to sleep and a roof over your head at a great price: $Free.
They call it CouchSurfing. What does it mean to be a CouchSurfer? Well, for the traveler it means connecting with any number of people around the world that open up their homes for travelers looking to spend time in their city or in their country, and forming tightly connected bonds with different cultures around the world. For the host, CouchSurfing offers the same cultural bonds without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.
Let’s face it, when someone who has never stayed in a hostel before hears the term “hostel” the first thing they picture is an open room with 15+ bunk beds lined together and creepy strangers admiring each other sleep. While this may be the case in a select few countries, the majority of hostels are actually quite the opposite.
If you are a traveler looking to spend the least amount of money possible on a room to sleep in, and you don’t mind the idea of sleeping in a room full of other travelers, the above option is often available for the cheapest price possible. However, many hostels also have rooms with 6 beds, 4 beds, 2 beds, and even private rooms, although the price rises as the number of beds falls.
In my experience, hostels are a great affordable choice for a traveler on a budget. I stayed in a hostel in Bariloche Argentina, a city in Patagonia that offered almost all of the same amenities as a 3 to 4 star hotel. This included 24 hour front desk service, a locker with a lock for personal gear, desktop computers with free internet service, free full breakfast (eggs, pancakes, cereal, fruit, drinks) between 7 – 8 am, tour booking assistance, cable TV, and even a balcony offering views of the ocean. Sure, the room I stayed in had 4 beds available for any traveler to book, but let’s face it, anyone looking to stay in a hostel is not looking to spend any part of their day living there. Instead, they are probable only looking for a place to get a few hours rest between their busy schedules. How much did a place like this cost per night you ask? Try $26.00/person/night.