In the past, only the most affluent could travel. Air fares were expensive. As well as accommodations. That changed when airlines revamped their business model. They started catering to budget travelers, opening up cheat seats to those who wish to explore the world without the privilege of a trust fund. Now, you’re free to travel even if you’re not Bill Gates’ godchild.
But just because you’re traveling on a shoestring budget does not mean you need to exclude comfort from your expectations. For example, if you look hard enough, you’ll find budget hostels that will give you the most bang for your buck. No, you won’t be welcomed by hostel staff with garlands and a mocktail while playing the bandolin, but at least you know that you’re still bound to have a good time. Before you book a cheap accommodation, look for these essentials.
After hours of walking around a foreign city, your body will be ready to go supine on a bed with, ideally, a comfy mattress. That’s most crucial if you’re the type who’s a little finicky about the surfaces you lie down on. Here comfort covers more than just how the foam feels against your back.
The mattress should look clean too, without telltale signs of neglect. Of course, bed bugs are a no-no.
A hot shower might not be that important if you’re on a tropical island. Or a city along the equator, for that matter. But if you’re visiting a cold place, you can’t do without it. That is if you want to look and feel clean the entire duration of your travel. Sure, you can shower with cold water but on top of that possibly giving you the sniffles, which will make your vacation less fun, it’s also akin to torture. You deserve better.
Whether you’re a digital nomad or traveling strictly for leisure, you need reliable Wi-Fi. That will allow you to stay in touch with your family back home. In case of emergency, you won’t have a difficult time reaching out to your support system.
Also, Wi-Fi is essential for your daily travel preparations. You’ll need to Google stuff. Even those you’ve already Googled ahead. If you have last minute change of plans, you can easily adjust your itinerary with the help of the internet.
Plus, you want to be able to upload all those cool photos you took the entire day. Pics or it did not happen.
Free drinking water and other add-ons
Most budget hostels have drinking water supply for guests sans additional cost. Others don’t. Look for the former because buying bottled water will eat into your travel funds.
Consider yourself lucky if you end up in a budget hostel that serves breakfast for free. Usually these places set up a simple breakfast buffet with enough of the usual goodies that can fuel the start of your day.
Relaxing common area
You travel to see beautiful places. And to gather wonderful experiences. You also travel to meet like-minded people with interesting stories to tell. This is where a relaxing common area comes in.
Find a hostel that recognizes the social aspect of travel by devoting space where travelers can hang out and exchange tips and anecdotes. You’ll be surprised by all the kinds of people you’ll meet. Some of them will even become your lifelong friends. And if you ever decide to visit their city, who knows, they might volunteer to host you and you won’t have to book a budget hostel anymore.
A hostel’s friendly staff adds to a traveler’s experience. A person behind the front desk who’s always ready with a smile and some local tips is always welcome. So zero in on places where you know you’ll have a friend waiting for you upon check in. And a friend who’ll send you off with well wishes after checkout. Tip based on your capacity.
While your goal when traveling is to see as much of the place you visit as you can, you still need to retire and recharge somewhere. A comfy accommodation should then be included in your priorities. And comfort does not have to equate with expensive.
The secret is to do ample research before you head out to your destination. That is if you’re not prebooking. If you’re booking accommodation ahead of time, do not skip reading the comments section. Listen to what previous travelers have to say about a particular hostel. Learn to separate the levelheaded reviews from the noise.