The Hostel Life In Europe

When I traveled through Europe for three weeks, in 2012-2013 for a big New Years trip, I chose hostels, trains and buses to sleep in.

1. They were the cheapest way to travel

2. They were efficient

Before my trip I had never slept in a hostel nor had I ever imagined a bus seat would be my bed for a night. Obviously, that all changed once I had no choice but to do as the backpackers do…

Barnacles Hostel Dublin

Barnacles is in the heart of the Temple Bar District and less than a minute walk from the famous The Temple Bar. The plus side to Barnacles is that every room has its own full bathroom, which are cleaned each morning.

Tip: If you are bringing suitcases, be prepared to drag them up the stairs or ask one of its friendly staff to help you.

Rates range from…

€32 ($45) per night/person – twin private ensuites*
€14.50 ($21) per night/person – 11 bed mixed ensuites*
*These are weekday prices; weekend prices usually go up by a few dollars

Vagabonds Belfast

Vagabonds not only serves as a museum with endless photographs hanging on every wall, it is also in the Queens Quarter, just five minutes from the city center. However, staying at Vagabonds does mean coming to terms with communal showers and restrooms. Rest assured though, they are kept extremely clean.

Rates range from…

£40 ($68) per night/person – private room
£14 ($24) per night/person – 12 bed mixed room
£16 pp ($27) per night/person – six bed female dorm

Tip: Don’t bother bringing a towel with you, just rent them from each hostel as you go.

Argyle Backpackers

Argyle Backpackers in Edinburgh, Scotland is perfectly located just five minutes from the city center—walking. The hostel is divided into two buildings, each with its own common area. The living rooms are equipped with board games, T.V. and movies. The kitchen is fully stocked with anything you may need to cook including some communal food items. Each room also has its own T.V., but each floor has to share one bathroom. The bathrooms are very clean and homey, but the only down side to the hostel is that the hot water goes out after a few people have taken a shower in the building.

Rates range from…

£35 ($59) per night/person – single room
 £10 ($17) per night/person – 10 bed dorm.
*Depending on the month, a three night minimum stay is required

Tip: Wake up early and be one of the first people in the shower. You’ll know you’re too late when you hear the pipes knocking through the walls.

Busses & Traines

Since I was traveling through multiple cities from Dublin to Warsaw, the best way to travel from city to city inexpensively was by bus and train. Not only do you save on room and board for the night, but you also don’t waste a precious day. I rode on a double decker bus from Dublin to Belfast and Edinburgh to London overnight. I left the train stations late at night and then arrived in the new city the next morning, bright and early. I took an overnight train from Paris to Berlin and Berlin to Warsaw following the same schedule. Obviously, these options were not built for comfort. The seats did not recline and I didn’t always get the whole row to myself. There was no food on either one, but there were restrooms if you really had the urge. I spent on average between $30-100 per one way pass, which is about the same as I would have spent on a night in a hostel, but the advantage lies in not wasting a day in a train. The only other downside besides comfort were the delays. The night train from Paris to Berlin was suppose to be an eight hour train ride, but turned into 12. However, once I got to my desired city I checked into the hostel, took a shower and went about my day fairly rested.

Tip: Wear comfortable clothes, bring a blanket, pack some snacks and expect (long) delays.

Hostel COCO

The Hostel COCO is a hidden gem in the center of the capital. By night, approaching the front door is a bit intimidating, but once you enter, it hands down wins the cleanest hostel award. The staff is very friendly and the location could not be better.

Rates range from…
zł 100 ($33) per night – 1 bed room
zł 360 ($120) per night – six bed dorm
*COCO’s pricing is based on the room you want rather than per person.

Tip: If they have availability, check out the Oki Doki Hostel . The staff, bar crawl and patrons win the most welcoming and friendly award.

All photos by: Samantha Calderon

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