Hostel Tips for Career Breakers

It was one month into my 15 month career break and for the first time I was alone. I had the first month to ease into travels first with my friends, next with my sister; but now I stood in front of the hostel in Capetown as my sister pulled away in the taxi.

I was nervous, very nervous; this was going to be my first hostel stay in my entire 36 years of life. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with fears – fears I would meet no one, fears it would be uncomfortable, fears I would be the oldest person there, fears I was somehow going backwards in my life. After all, the last time I stayed in a shared sleeping arrangement (dorm) I was in college. However, I knew that if I were going to travel for 15 months, I would need to overcome those fears.

And I did…only to come to realize how irrational those fears were.

Hostels are a great option for career breakers of all ages, and more people then you think are utilizing them to keep expenses down, and provide social outlets as part of their career breaks. If you are like me and have never stayed in a hostel before because you think they are just for young partying backpacker types, then prepare to have that myth shattered.

Before you start your career break here are some strategies for easing into hostels as an accommodation for the first time.

Take a Test Run

You’d never buy a car without driving it first – so why not use that same idea and give hostels a test run? You don’t have to be out of the country to try out a hostel; did you know that there are many, many great hostels in the US? I recommend on your next short trip, instead of booking yourself into a Marriott or Holiday Inn, check out Hostelling International USA and see if there’s a hostel in your destination. This is a great chance to try one on and see what you can expect. Some of the hostels in San Francisco , New York City , Chicago,  and Martha’s Vineyardare in amazing locations with great facilities. You’ll find the staff is very knowledgeable about the tourist attractions, and you’ll probably save half the money you would have spent on a hotel to be used at a fabulous restaurant instead!

Ease into Dorm Rooms

Hostels have many varied layouts and options. Many of them offer private rooms (some with a private bath and some without) in addition to the traditional dorm style rooms. If the thought of sleeping in a bunk bed again makes you cringe, then ease into it by first booking private rooms in hostels (which are still cheaper than a hotel!). Enjoy the social aspects of the hostel but still have your private room with bathroom. After you’ve stayed in a private ensuite room, move on to private rooms with a shared bathroom. Next, start to try out the dorm accommodations. You’ll realize quickly it’s no big deal to sleep in a dorm setting again.

Finding Like Minded People

Many people think that hostels are simply one big party of beer pong, and late night revelers; but that’s not the case. Sure, each hostel has it’s own personality, and some may cater to a younger partying clientele, but they are not ALL like that. So how do you find the one with the ‘right’ personality that will add to your chance of meeting more career breakers like yourself? Many career breakers are couples , so one good thing to consider when looking for a hostel is find one that caters to couples and has private rooms. The likelihood that you’ll meet more career breakers is higher in hostels offering a variety of accommodations.

Another good way to get a feel for a particular hostel environment is to read the reviews! A booking site like Hostel World has reviews from people who stayed there.  The reviews often including things like age travel expertise so you can get a great feel for the type of people staying there as well as what the atmosphere and cleanliness is like!

Career Breakers and more mature extended travelers shouldn’t overlook hostels as they are designed to accommodate the long-term traveler. All types of people stay in hostels, and I’m willing to bet that you’ll meet people you can get along with in any hostel if you go in with an open mind. Put your stereotypes of hostels aside and try one out; it may help you extend your career break budget even longer!



Other comments

5 Comments on "Hostel Tips for Career Breakers"

  1. Tweets that mention Hostel Tips for Career Breakers | Briefcase to Backpack - Travel Advice for Career Breaks or Sabbaticals -- Topsy.com on Mon, 16th Aug 2010 11:08 am 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alexis Grant, BriefcasetoBackpack. BriefcasetoBackpack said: Hostels aren't just for the young – useful tips for career breakers http://su.pr/24U8NP […]

  2. Globetrottergirls on Mon, 16th Aug 2010 7:33 pm 

    Great post, so many helpful tips.

    We thought that we might be out of the usual age range in hostels, being 30, but hostels really are used by people of all ages nowadays, not only by 20-year gap year backpackers 🙂

    Reading the reviews is definitely a good idea, and when booking through hostel booking websites we can only recommend to also check the reviews on TripAdvisor, as the booking sites seem to take down really bad ones…

  3. Sherry Ott on Tue, 17th Aug 2010 10:53 am 

    @Globetrotterrirls – A GREAT suggestion to look at Trip Advisor too! I always use them for the ‘real’ hotel reviews – so it make sense to use them for ‘real’ hostel reviews too!
    Thanks for your input!

  4. Tracy Antonioli on Wed, 29th Jun 2011 3:32 pm 

    there’s a hostel on martha’s vineyard!?! i’m so there! thanks for the tip and the excellent post. i’ve been toying with the idea of hostels for a while now–i just started a 14-month career break and it sure would make everything i want to do much cheaper! perhaps i’ll take your advice and do a test run…in martha’s vineyard!

  5. Apartments for Extended Travel | Ottsworld Travel Experiences on Thu, 14th Jul 2011 6:02 am 

    […] few years I’ve been experimenting with various types of accommodations when I travel. I’ve done hostels , house-sitting, couchsurfing, guest houses, and regular hotels. But with my recent trip to Spain I […]

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