My husband and I are staying at the YoHo International Hostel in Salzburg, Austria; here are my tips for couples staying at youth hostels in Europe (a “what I wish I knew before we booked a room” article).
Before the tips, a description of hostelling from YoHo itself:
“Hostelling describes a new style of independent and social-orientated way of travelling. It means a lot more then just ‘staying in a dorm.’ Intercultural communication, the active way of studying and experiencing history and the social touch of hostels bring it to a point to claim “hostelling” or “backpacking” a new and innovative way of travelling.”
I don’t know how new or innovative youth hostels are, but they’re certainly interesting! For the most recommended youth hostels for travelers of all ages (staying in a “youth” hostel isn’t just for teenagers and 20 year olds), read the Official International Youth Hotels Guide.
Are you a travel buff? One thing I can’t live without is my inflatable travel pillow - it’s especially handy when the beds at hotels or hostels aren’t comfortable.
Here are my tips for couples staying at youth hostels in Europe…
Tips for Couples Staying at Youth Hostels in Europe
Remember that youth hostels have double rooms for couples. Youth hostels aren’t just for young adults; many have always catered to adults in the 40 plus age range. Most offer double rooms with toilet, shower, towels, and bedding (in the days of yore, many youth hostels required you to bring your own towels and bedding).
Book your double room early. We lucked out at the YoHo; we booked at the last minute, but they had a double room available. If you’re a married couple who wants privacy — as opposed to staying in a dorm with several other people — then you need to book your room early. Youth hostels don’t usually have many double rooms, and they fill up fast.
Avoid staying at a youth hostel when you have jet lag. I struggled with jet lag for my first five days in Europe – and was inspired to write Natural Ways to Prevent Jet Lag. I would not recommend staying at a youth hostel – whether you’re a married couple or a person single staying in a dorm – if you’re still dealing with jet lag. If you have to be up in the middle of the night because you can’t sleep, you’re better off in your own quiet hotel room.
Bring flip flops, soap, facecloth, and a small padlock. In Austria, the hotels and youth hostels are incredibly clean. But if you’re sharing a shower with the people in your dorm room (even in Austria), you might want to wear flip flops. I thought our double room would include soap and shampoo, but I was wrong. Even if you’re not a married couple thinking about staying at a hostel in Europe, I suggest you pack – along with your flip flops and soap – a facecloth and small padlock. You never know when you’ll need to be clean or have to lock your baggage up!
Pack your ear plugs. Our double room overlooks the front door and courtyard of the hostel, which I loved at first sight. After we went to bed, however, I realized that the courtyard is where the smokers convene at all hours of the night. Luckily, I can sleep through a herd of elephants charging through the room (unless it’s my husband’s snores, which is why I’ve also recently written about ways to stop snoring).
Remember why you’re at the youth hostel: saving money on travel. If the noise, lack of luxury, or youthful vigor get to you — remind yourself why you’re staying at the hostel! We saved $60 by staying at the YoHo for two nights instead of a regular hotel. For a couple of nights, a married couple can withstand anything. Especially if your savings buys you a nice dinner out with a lovely bottle of wine or an expensive tour of a sight you might otherwise miss.
Don’t forget your sense of adventure and sense of humor! The vigor and energy of a youth hostel can buoy you up for days – especially if you’re a married couple who likes to have adventures together. The people who stay at youth hostels are often friendly, outgoing, and eager to connect. They’re young, and their energy can infuse your European vacation with a new force. Also, the older people and married couples who stay at youth hostels are interesting, often well-traveled, and full of good tips.
If you’re traveling to Africa, you might find Packing and Travel Tips for Africa helpful.
And, for a full meal deal of travel tips, read 55 Practical Travel Tips for Women.
If you have any tips for couples staying at youth hostels in Europe, please comment below!