|Subject: Re: PNW Hosteling|
Sylvie & Sue:
Hosteling is not just for youngsters! Travelers of any age can enjoy the hosteling experience, but I will admit it's not for everyone. If you like room service & 4-star luxury, you're not going to like hosteling. If you crave a romantic getaway & pampering, don't bother to get your hostel membership. I have met travelers from 16 to 80 in hostels around the world.
http://www.hiayh.org/homenew.shtml is the site for Hosteling International-USA & has info on membership & links to international hostel organizations.
Many hostels have private rooms, family rooms & ensuite baths & can be booked in advance. Almost all hostels have cooking facilities & utensils as well as fridges, microwaves & lockers (bring your own lock). I personally don't mind dorm rooms & altho I can clamber into an upper bunk very well, thank you, I've found the youngsters often defer to my gray hair & offer me a lower bunk. The common room is often a lively place in the evening & if you're willing to be outgoing, you can learn a lot about other destinations & hostes. I'll be staying in a hostel again when I come to Boston for our GTG in June.
Other hostels are pretty rustic, but the websites will not only give you photos of the locations, but also info on how primitive the hostel might be. I love the thatch-roofed remote black houses in Scotland, on the Outer Hebrides especially, but they are far from luxurious.
What appeals to me about hosteling is the camraderie amongst travelers, the ability to store & prepare food, & the price. If I'm spending only $13 on a bed, I can spend a lot on meals & be ahead of the game. I also like the feeling of safety that is hard for a woman traveling solo to find in a large hotel. I have never been slighted, treated rudely or ignored while hosteling, but I can't say that for traditional hotels.
Hostel, hotel & hospital are all from the same root word, & refer to the practice of monasteries offering beds to those taking pilgrimmages in Europe from 1190 or so on.
Gail In Eugene