While I was studying abroad in Seville, there were so many places I wanted to travel to on the weekends, but with so many trips, finding places to stay started to get pretty expensive. That’s why I’m so glad I took advantage of the wonderful hostels scattered throughout Europe. They are so affordable (as low as about €10 per night) and offer a kind of experience you can’t get in a hotel. Also, there are room options, so depending on how you’re traveling (in a same-sex group or a co-ed group, or solo) you can find a room for you. When I stayed in hostels, I was usually traveling alone, and although in some situations I was the only girl, I always felt safe. Hostels are a great way for young people to travel, and having some experience with them myself, I have some tips to share.
Hostels are affordable, but at a cost. Depending on the hostel, the bathrooms can be less than luxurious. For this reason, I would highly suggest you bring shower shoes. I promise, it’s worth that extra space in your suitcase. Just some cheap rubber flip-flops will do, but you’ll definitely want a barrier between your feet and the floor. Speaking of saving space in your suitcase, a good tip is to bring a ShamWow instead of a towel. Towels can take up so much room and not all hostels provide them. Some offer them for a euro or two, while some provide them free of charge, but you don’t want to be ready to shower and not have a way to dry off. You can find them for pretty cheap on Amazon. It might not be as nice as a big fluffy hotel towel, but it gets the job done!
Hostel reservations are booked the same way as hotels – online. Hostelworld is a really good website that I used for all of my bookings. When you go to book your stay, you’ll be able to see details about each hostel, and this is where you’ll want to look at the amenities they offer. Some offer free breakfast, and some, like I mentioned before, provide towels, and some have bars and pool tables, if your group is looking for something safe to do late at night. You can find all of this info just by looking online! Also online, you can find reviews, which I would recommend you read. Photos are very helpful and usually pretty accurate, but the reviews always helped me find the best hostels.
One of the great things about my study abroad program was that we didn’t have class on Fridays, so I would always try to get on the first flight out after my classes so I could get a start on my trip. Sometimes, though, I wouldn’t get to my destination until pretty late, and I found that it’s a good idea to check if the hostel has a 24-hour front desk if you think you’ll be arriving late at night or early in the morning. Finally, one of my biggest pieces of advice for staying in hostels is to get a luggage lock. These are so important for all of your travels, not just when staying in a hostel. It’s a good feeling to be able to leave your bag in the room while you go out for the day or night or even just to the bathroom. You can find them pretty cheap, and it is worth every penny to keep your stuff safe!
Once you’ve got hostels figured out, there’s no doubt they’re the cheapest and often best way to travel, especially for students. I would highly recommend considering hostels when booking your weekend trips abroad!
Katherine McClain is a CEA Alumni Ambassador who studied abroad in Seville, Spain, during the Spring 2019 semester. She is currently a student at the University of Alabama.
Katherine McClain is the Spring 2019 Alumni Ambassador in Seville, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Alabama.