What We've Learned About Hosteling

After two hostel stays in 2010, we are starting to get our feet wet in a the very big world of international traveling.  There are probably much better places for you to go if you're looking for good solid, traveled advice, but this is what we've come to learn.

1)  Figure out what you're going to do before you decide where to stay.  This seems counter intuitive and is still hard for us to grasp when planning, but if you know nothing about the city you're going to, as is normally the case for us, spending the time figuring out what to do will greatly improve your feel for the city.  We like to stay near the sites, museums, and especially the metro stops.  We use the Lonely Planet website as our primary source of info on sites and attractions.  For Athens, we planned our hostel first, but managed to end up in a great location despite this.

2) Read a lot of hostel reviews, but take them all with a grain of salt.  We won't consider a hostel that hasn't been reviewed or had some customer feedback, in most cases there are enough other options that the risk of some crap place isn't worth a few extra dollars of savings.

3) Figure out what matters most.  For us, it was cleanliness and location.  Since we're traveling together and don't have much of a night life, we really don't care much about the atmosphere or sociability.

4) Roll with the punches.  It was madness getting out of Jeddah.  Cairo was a bit smelly.  Athens had Guy 2 who snored like none other.  Be prepared to deal with small inconveniences like buying some air freshener or ear plugs, without letting it be a show stopper.

So this is just a short list of what we've figured out.  If anyone has other tips we didn't mention or talk about, feel free to add to our list!

*Catch up on our entire Athens adventure by checking Our Travel Page, or our Greece tag.*