Where to Crash (If you Make it…)
The places you stay whilst travelling generally seem to determine how good of a time you are going to have in a city. This especially true when you are riding solo, as your accommodation tends to be the place you congregate to meet people you will spend the next few days with making memories (or not), acting indecently and exchanging those all-too-familiar questions: where are you from, where have you been, where did you like, how long are you away for? (The answers of which are then used to determine who has the biggest travel cock).
So I’ve broken accommodation possibilities into some categories to make things a little easier, so you can choose where to stay based on what you’re into.
I’m not even going to touch on this because they’re incredibly boring and I can’t afford them. Considering you’re on a site called Global Hobo, I don’t expect you to be able to afford them either.
Perfect for: Nobody who is going to be reading this.
Watch out for: Dying of boredom and experiencing nothing.
These are obviously the bread and butter for your not-so-cashed-up young people, aka almost everybody, so I’m going to break these down into a few categories. As an overarching rule, hostels are where you will build (week) long-lasting friendships, bring people back to your dorm and shame yourself and catch every disease under the sun during your shower if you forget to bring thongs.
The “Party” Hostel
This is where walking sexually transmitted diseases go on vacation. While you are likely to have fun and meet people, expect that most of the guests will be a bit on the younger side and more keen to tick as many “I got drunk in x countries” boxes than to actually see much of the world. Party hostels often have beds in the common room which are essentially shag pads with no privacy. In a way, I applaud the fact that they’re saving the dorm rooms from perpetual violation: I woke up to a guy jacking off next to me at a hostel in Budapest, and if I could have asked him to move to a bed outside, I would have.
Perfect for: Contracting diseases, remembering nothing and waking up surrounded by people having seen you naked.
Watch out for: All of the above.
The “Hippie” Hostel
The hippie hostel has as many hammocks and dreadlocked-guitar-players as it has beds. It is likely that, unless you are bringing in weed and know that downward dog isn’t a sexual position, you are unlikely to fit in. The people staying here are generally nice and relaxed though, so if that’s your vibe instead of going out and getting wasted, it can work out pretty nicely.
Perfect for: Easily obtainable Mary Jane, listening to Bob Marley on repeat.
Watch out for: Any sort of dreadlocks flying in your direction. A dreadlock whip to the face is both painful and disgusting.
The “Upper-Class” Hostel
This is the kind of hostel that is a little bit more sterile than, say, the hostels where you end up drinking all night with the staff. They tend to be larger buildings with smaller dorms and private bathrooms, and usually lack a common room to really meet anyone. If you’re travelling with a group of friends, this can be really great, but they do tend to be a bit intimidating in regards to meeting people and staff are generally a little less friendly and a little too professional.
Perfect for: Groups of friends wanting to save a bit of cash.
Watch out for: Getting stuck in a four-bed dorm with three 17 year olds. These people do not understand the concept of personal space or perhaps not leaving the light on for an hour at 4am while they discuss which dude they made out with. Don’t hostels have an age limit? They should.
Your Stock-Standard Small Hostel
As a general rule, these are the way forward. Check on sites like Tripadvisor and Hostelworld for atmosphere, and if the feedback is good then you probably have a winner. They generally have a good area for hanging, like a terrace bar, and staff who are willing to help you out; plus they attract a good range of people, meaning you’re unlikely to hate absolutely everyone.
Perfect for: Anyone who isn’t interested in the above kind of hostels. What’s your other option, really?
Watch out for: Getting stuck having the aforementioned travel dick comparison conversation as mentioned earlier. It’s genuinely unavoidable.
Camping/Sleeping in your Car etc.
This can be a great option for everyone depending on circumstance, but probably not the best choice if you want to meet people. It can also be a way to boast that you’re winning the “legitimate traveller award” and are “way cooler than people staying in hostels” when in reality, no one gives a shit about what you’re doing except that they are disgusted at your lack of hygiene now that you have re-joined society to boast about your “original accomplishments”.
Perfect for: Places like Africa when you want to be under the stars as much as possible, if you have a group of friends or if you want to go places like Norway where there is no other way to afford to live.
Watch out for: Missing out on all the attractive Scandinavians because you are sleeping in a car, animals that want to eat you, car jackers.
This is a really cool idea and obviously low budget. Again, this is not the easiest way to meet travellers if you’re journeying alone, however, you do get an inside view into the local lifestyle which in itself is priceless. While many friends have found themselves in lovely apartments in the best areas in cities, I am yet to get over my fear of ending up having to put the lotion on the skin or else get the hose again.
Perfect for: People who travel in pairs and like meeting locals and finding out the best spots to hang out.
Watch out for: Getting stuck having to hang out with someone you don’t want to and general creeps.