Friday, May 27, 2011

Hosteling in Shanghai

(View from the Captain Hostel in Shanghai)

So, as a lowly language student, one of my traveling tricks for saving money is hostels. To be honest...aspects of hostel life are not ideal, but in my book it is worth it for the money saved.

Hosteling is for you if:

  • You are planning to be active in the city you are staying in, and not hanging around your room all the time.

  • You can travel light (your luggage should fit into the lockers they provide).

  • You can sleep anywhere/through anything

  • You enjoy meeting people from all over the world/people-watching (like me)

Hosteling may not be for you if:

  • You are a light sleeper

  • You are really shy/need privacy (note: some hostels do single-sex rooms, some are mixed)

  • You need a spotless bathroom (normally hostel bathrooms are relatively clean...but they are not spotless)

Unfortunately, people you will always encounter when hosteling:

  • Loud partiers

  • The person who can't seem to turn their cell phone off, and answers/talks loudly in the middle of the night

  • People who are not concerned about their stuff at all and leave it strewn everywhere/take up the communal table space

  • People who take all the sink space/mirror space in the bathroom....for a lonnng time.

Special things to take that make hosteling easier:

  • Towel/washcloth (this isn't a hotel, they usually aren't provided!)

  • Shower shoes (you do not want your feet touching the ground!)

  • Earplurs or an ipod that you can fall asleep to

Some hostel recommendations for Shanghai (where I most recently stayed in a hostel):

-Hidden Garden Hostel. Cool environment. It definitely attracts a younger crowd and was really, really loud and crowded...there is a courtyard that is ideal for all-night jam sessions, so for those hoping to get a lot of peaceful sleep, this place may not be ideal.....but for those more concerned with a fun, artsy environment, this was a good choice. Relatively clean and the staff were very helpful. The location is in a dark, scary (at night) alleyway, but once you actually get there, it is a cute place!

-Captain Hostel. Environment-wise, it's not super nice, but the bunk beds were spacious and nice (you have your own little "nook") and the location is superb (a two-minute walk to the Bund, close to Nanjing Road.....not too far from the was ideal). The staff were not super-friendly, but they weren't terrible either. There is also a really cool postcard-sending station. It's also famous for "The Captain Bar" on the 6th floor, that has great views!

What about you? Any hostel recommendations?

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