The Hostel Experience

Traveling and looking for a place to rest your head for a few hours so that you can get up and begin another day of adventure? Prefer to spend most of your travel money on tours, museums, food, drinks, and hanging out with locals and fellow travelers? Staying at a hostel during your travels may be just the right fit for you.

What is a Hostel?

 They typically offer dormitory-style rooms with separate quarters for men and women, and some hostels also have private family and couples rooms. Many budget conscious travelers used them as a place to lay their head at the end of the day and to meet fellow travelers. I stayed at a hostel many year ago when I was in high school in Germany. Our Model United Nations Team attended Model UN in Amsterdam as China and we stayed in a hostel for the week with all the girls  in one room and the males in another. We actually had a sauna in our hostel near our room which was awesome because it was cold and snowy at the time of our trip, so we took advantage of that.

What’s Provided:

  • Blanket
  • Pillow
  • linens
  • fully equipped self-service kitchens or cafeterias
  • dining areas
  • secure storage spaces
  • common rooms for relaxing and socializing with fellow travelers

What You Should Bring: 

  • A Lock for your locker
  • Shower Shoes
  • A Hand Towel
  • Ear Plugs
  • A Small flash light

I’ll be heading to Europe in next month visiting Germany, Paris, and Rome  for 2 short weeks. For me this trip is going to be about meet new people, exploring during the day and checking out the local scene at night, so I’d rather checkout a hostel instead shelling out the extra money for a swanky hotel that I’ll only sleep in for a few hours. After doing some research I chose the Hostelling International Brand (HI), and for the next 2 weeks I’ll be visiting hostels, one in NYC and one in Boston to get the hosteling experience because I’m sure it’s changed a bit since the last time I stayed at a hostel.

Hostelling International has 3 networks of hostels USA, Canada, and International, but their quality assurance is standard across the board.  A HI membership is required of all guests, but guests without a membership have the option of either purchasing a full annual membership, or a temporary membership for the duration of their stay. Membership kits include a membership guide, membership card, U.S. hostelling map, eKit communication booklet and discounts.

The types and prices of each membership

  • YOUTH – FREE (for those under 18 years of age)
  • ADULT – $28.00 ANNUALLY (18-54 years of age)
  • SENIOR – $18.00 ANNUALLY (55+ years of age)
  • LIFE – $250 (one-time fee & open to all ages)

Member Benefits

  • Access to more than 4,000 hostels in over 80 countries worldwide.
  • Access to nearly 60 hostel locations in the United States.
  • Savings up to 70% on international phone calls, free e-mail access, voicemail and travel information through eKit.
  • HI-USA members now get basic international travel insurance coverage and discounts on optional upgrades
  • Discounted currency exchange.

Have you ever stayed at a hostel before during your travels? What did you think? Would you do it again? Check in with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see and hear about my hostel experiences.

Wishing You Happy and Safe Travels! – xo AGT

Snap Shots of Toronto

Toronto reminds me of a cross between New York City and San Francisco with is diverse population and cuisine, neighborhoods that allow you to experience different parts of the world without ever leaving Toronto,  tall buildings that appear to almost touch the sky, street cars, laid back atmosphere, and beautiful architecture. When I wasn’t attending travel conference sessions and networking events, I was trying new food, meeting new people, and exploring the city on foot capturing the beauty of Toronto to share with you.













10 of My Favorite Things About Toronto

  1. Toronto is the 5th largest city in North America (after Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago).
  2. Canada’s financial centre – The Toronto Stock Exchange – is North America’s 3rd largest stock exchange by value traded.
  3. Half of Toronto’s population was born outside Canada; 200 different ethnic origins are represented with 130 languages and dialects spoken.
  4. Toronto has the longest street in the world, Yonge Street (in photo above), which starts in Toronto and ends 1,896 kilometres (1,178 miles) later in Rainy River, Ontario
  5. Toronto has over 9,000 restaurants (may need to start using that gym membership you bought  after going a a yummy food tour)
  6. There are over 70 film festivals held in more than 20 languages every year.
  7. Legendary baseball player Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Toronto on September 5, 1914. He was playing for the minor league AAA team the Providence Grays against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Island Stadium, which stood on Hanlan’s Point, near where the Island Airport is now. The ball landed in the bay.
  8. St. Lawrence Market is the oldest continually operated market on the same site in North America. There has been a market on the site since 1803.
  9. Ernest Hemingway’s first job was at the Toronto Star in the 1920s.
  10. The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre is the world’s last operating double-decker theatre with two separate and distinctive stacked theatres. It was built in 1913, and is celebrating 100 years this year, and houses the largest collection of vaudeville scenery.

Did any of these surprise you? I think it’s time to add Toronto to your list to destinations to explore!

Until Next Time! -xo AGT

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