Written by Peter
Reasonably clean underwear that I may have to flip inside out in case I can’t find a washing machine? Double check.
Getting ready to travel is always an exciting, if not somewhat anxiety-filled moment. Deciding where you want to go this time around is such a fun experience. If you’ve got the time and money, the sky’s the limit in terms of destination. Do I want to go back somewhere that I absolutely loved? Do I want to try out a completely new country and culture that was recommended by a friend?
Of course, there’s the period of time where you just have to sit down and get down to the practicals. Finding out when exactly you can go, and what flights will be available. And thankfully, with the incredible number of price-saving flight apps like Hopper or Skyscanner, finding the best price for a flight has become so much easier and more convenient.
Then there’s the incredibly important decision of where you want to stay on your visit. Do you want privacy and to enjoy your own space? Most likely you’ll opt for a hotel room, or with the advent of Airbnb, you’ll look for something potentially cheaper and a bit more cozy, like a small apartment room. But if you’re on a budget, or simply want the experience of being around other travelers from around the world, a hostel is the way to go.
These days, especially with competition from the significant increase of hostels in prominent touring areas, basic amenities are all provided for. Soap and shampoo and sometimes even toothbrushes and towels are offered for free (or a low fee). As long as you have your passport (if you’re traveling from another country) and money to pay for the nights you’ll want to stay (and hopefully food you’ll need to eat), you really don’t need anything else. Of course, if you’re staying for an extended period of time, it’s also strongly recommended (for your sake, too, but especially for the sake of other visitors) that you have some change of clothes and/or money to do your laundry when needed (don’t forgot your showers, too). I guarantee, no one is paying with the expectation of smelling your odor all night.
So is there anything else that really is a must when using a hostel?
Well, I’ve been to several hostels in my lifetime, both before and after having stayed at Evergreen; some had larger facilities and had more “luxurious” and varied amenities, but no place has ever captured the comfort and coziness of what I experienced at Evergreen. And from my experience there, I discovered what I would consider absolutely essential to having the best hostel experience possible.
The best things to bring to any hostel are an open mind, a positive attitude, and a willingness to try and experience new things, be it foods, activities, or just meeting new people. Some of the best experiences I’ve had from traveling so far (20 years plus, and over 20 countries plus) are the amazing conversations I’ve had, just sitting down in The Evergreen lounge and discussing just about every topic under the sun. And with so many different people from so many different places and backgrounds, you’ll have to be willing and open to disagree magnanimously, and just hear other people out about their thoughts and personal experiences.
These conversations can also lead to good, even great friendships, and the opportunity to explore the local restaurants and experiences with newfound acquaintances. This helps to enrich your time there and make your memories even more memorable. Rather than just going it alone and internalizing all your experiences (along with your wonderful food photos for Instagram and selfies in front of historic sites), you’ll be able to converse and have a dialogue about what’s happening in real time, allowing you and the person(s) your with to draw more flavor and fun, regardless of what you’re doing or where you are. And when it comes to experiencing the night life and going out for drinks at a local bar, it’s most definitely a better time when others are there with you.