My wife and I sold our hostel twelve years ago. I have no financial interest in
backpacking and will do my best to give independent advice.
Q. Why stay in a backpacker hostel?
A. a) It's relatively inexpensive;
b) a good hostel has a communal atmosphere;
c) you can meet people and share experiences.
Hostels come in a variety of shapes and sizes . Some are huge resorts that
cater for the travelling party animal. Others are small and laid back. Some
provide accommodation for fruit pickers . Others are more like eco-resorts.
Many have private rooms with en-suite as well as dormitories. Laundries and
kitchens are always provided. Internet access is the norm.
Many hostels belong to organisations: notably VIP, YHA and Nomads . They
are meant to ensure high standards but do not always succeed. Surf the net
and see what they have to offer.
Get personal advice from people who have been on the backpacker trail.
Talk to friends and use social networking sites like twitter and facebook.
Different people have different tastes. Try to learn from people like yourself.
Most backpackers are under thirty but many are older. Backpacking is a
state of mind. I had prosperous middle-aged guys leave the Sheraton and
stay with me. They had been out on dive boats and had met their younger
diving buddies in town. When they learnt that my place had private rooms
they booked into my hostel so they could be with their friends.
Finally, a note on backpacker buses. Some people love them. Others have
nothing but scorn for the drivers and their passengers. I suggest you ask
around and get advice before buying a ticket. One young lady told me she
was using the buses because she was travelling alone. She figured there is
safety in numbers. I wouldn't argue with that. If you feel insecure seek the
company of people you understand.
Picture: my hostel, now demolished to make way for new development .
10 Other Accommodation