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YHA, Sydney Harbour[/caption]
If you plan on a life of adventure traveling the world and are getting ready to start the journey, there is a lot you can do to prepare yourself to live the dream. One of the best ways to prepare for a big trip is to get familiar with the idea of hostel living. The definition–and vibe–of a hostel changes dramatically from country to country, and sometimes from street to street within the same city, as a matter of fact.
The most traditional hostel experiences involve lots of travelers from around the globe sharing a big room filled with individual beds. But at the other end of the spectrum, travelers with a little more money to spare can find hotel-like accommodations with a private room, private bath, and air conditioning. Most hostels have a shared kitchen space where you can prepare meals, computers and/or a good WiFi connection, and other budget traveler essentials like luggage storage, information on free or low cost tours in the area, and laundry facilities.
While there are lots of little local hostels throughout the Western and Eastern Hemispheres, there are also a number of well known international chains where you’re practically guaranteed to have a great experience. These big brands know how to treat guests, with extra clean facilities and other perks you’ll appreciate when on the road. Here are 3 international hostel brands you should know about:
Youth Hostels Association
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YHA, St. Briavels Castle[/caption]
Youth Hostels Association, or YHA, is actually a series of organizations that are associated with the larger Hostelling International global network. YHA Australia
, YHA New Zealand
, and YHA England & Wales
are just a few of the many branches and all have major presences in their respective countries. Many of the hostels in the network look similar on the inside, with minimalistic, contemporary furnishings and splashes of bright color, but the buildings themselves often have a unique history. They also conveniently offer group booking options, and in some Australian locations they even have group rooms and programs that follow the school curriculum so students can stay on track with their studies while traveling. Pretty handy!
For example, the YHA in Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island, occupies a 100-year-old building. The Strahan YHA in Australia consists of a series of tiny cabins that sit lakeside–and one unique perk to staying here is getting a chance to socialize with the property’s resident platypus! And if you’re traveling in England, you can get a room in an authentic castle that dates back more than 800 years at the YHA St. Briavels Castle–and, remarkably, for as little as £19 a night.
St. Christopher’s Inns
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St. Christopher's Inns, Southwark, London[/caption]
St. Christopher’s Inns
are known for their lively atmosphere and boast a downstairs bar and restaurant at each of their locations throughout Europe. This chain scores big points for the included amenities–free WiFi, luggage storage, in-room lockers, and breakfast all come standard. Every chance to save is appreciated for those of us who are constantly traveling, and especially in notoriously expensive cities like London and Paris.
In this recent blog post
, we highlighted two St. Christopher’s Inns locations in Paris–one on the canal, and the other in the Gare du Nord neighborhood. London’s The Oasis
is an all-women hostel offering extras with female travelers in mind, including special soaps, hair dryers, and full-length mirrors. St. Christopher’s at the Village
is their flagship location in London and has everything from a cinema to a giant basement club that serves drinks until 4am.
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Nomads, Byron Bay[/caption] Part travel agency, part tour agency, and part hostel, Nomads Adventure Company
is all about giving travelers an unforgettable experience. The hostel division of the company has locations throughout Australia and New Zealand, plus manages properties in Africa, South America, North America, Asia, and Europe.
Nomads Byron Bay
in Australia is one of the brand’s most popular locations, with a lounging hammock deck, BBQ pit, and movie room all making it an ideal spot to get some rest. At the affiliated Bay Adventurer Resort
in Paihia, New Zealand, guests enjoy an outdoor pool and hot tub, plus have access to free kayak rentals, tennis courts, bikes, and lots more.
No world traveler embarks on a major journey without learning about the local culture and language. If you’ve got a big trip coming up, be sure to contact us for a crash course in a second language.