The Emergence of A Third Type of Hostel: The Official Party Hostel

Generator Hostel

Old vs. New Model Hostels

In the past I’ve talked about two primary types of hostels which I’ve classified as “Old Model” and “New Model” hostels.   To re-hash these two types, Old Model hostels tend to only provide the bare basics.  If you traveled 10+ years ago, they’re the type of hostel you are no doubt familiar with.  They charge a premium for everything from sheets to wifi (when offered).  They’re usually lacking key amenities like kitchens and break rooms, usually only offer same-sex dorm rooms, lack 24 hour receptions and perhaps most egregious in my book tend to still view lockouts as acceptable.  For those of you familiar with my past posts, you’ll recall that I tend to avoid HI Europe and YHA Europe hostels like the plague because the majority of the European member hostels in these two chains (They’re great elsewhere), embody the Old Model hostel structure and are, for a lack of a better word, absolutely dreadful.

In stark contrast New Model hostels (like the photo from Generator Copenhagen above) typically offer better facilities, sheets are almost always included, outside sleeping bags/sheets are prohibited, they often have on-site kitchens/common rooms/bars, 24 hour receptions, no lockouts, free wifi, computers available for users and mixed dorm rooms among other key differences. While the sticker price may be a few dollars more for the room, they’re usually the same price/cheaper by the time you add in all of the nonsense fees the Old Model hostels tack on.

The Party Hostel

The concept of a party hostel is nothing new.  Party hostels have been around for years.  In truth, party-ing is also a common and (dare I say) almost essential part of a good hostel.  That said, as with the evolution of any industry things change, especially as the need to differentiate oneself increases due to competition.  As a result there are now groups of hostels which have begun to brand and tailor their offering specifically as “Party Hostels”.  Perhaps some of the best examples of this are based in Budapest, Hungary.  With more than 125 hostels in the city, competition for filling hostel beds is absolutely brutal.  These new Party Hostels have embraced a spring break like mentality issuing guests  tivek wristbands, offering nightly theme events and innovative versions of traditional hostel pub crawls, investing in costume boxes for guests, throwing theme party nights, and perhaps most importantly a no apologies approach to their party focused experience.  They’re New Hostels, but supercharged by jagger, absinthe and a liters of beer.

While bonding over beers, late nights out, noise, adventure and a fairly active experience has been an integral part of the hostel experience for a long time, most hostels have always aspired to balance their varied customer’s experience.  Partying within reason was tolerated, noise limits were enforced, and some communal events were typically organized to help solo (and social) backpackers and hostel goers bond.  This is a similar, but fundamentally different approach than the new Party Hostel.

The Next Hostel You Book

While Party Hostels are still fairly rare, they are a growing presence in the hostel space and one which I expect to continue to become more and more common.  So, when you go to book your next hostel consider what you’re in the mood for, what you hope to accomplish, what you’re comfortable with and which hostel is right for you.  Old Model, New Model, or Party Hostel?

If any of you have stayed in a self declared Party Hostel I’d love to hear what your experience was, your take, what drew you to it, and of course if you sought it out or accidentally stumbled into it?

New Theme – New Framework

Howdy all,

You’ve probably noticed by now that things have changed a bit. After more than three years using my old theme I’ve decided the time has finally come to upgrade my backbone/framework and re-skin the site.  While the theme is in no way complete I’ve switched over to the Thesis framework and gotten the fundamentals worked out.

What this means for you is faster site performance, improved social media access through facebook, twitter, youtube and flickr as well as improved navigation and plugin/widget based feature functionality.  The old theme was so old, that only about 40% of the plugins available actually worked on the site and of those many didn’t function properly.

You’ll also note that we’ve gone WIDE! I’ve opted for a much wider format blog design than my older layout. This allows more sidebar space while also providing significantly more room for larger images, video and text in the main body of posts.

If there are certain features or functionality elements you’d like to see on the new site, please let me know.  Similarly, if anything breaks or isn’t working right, please shoot me an e-mail or post here.

Lastly, what do you think of it?  Like it?

Thanks for reading!

-Alex

Next Adventure Booked: Central and Eastern Europe

Prague at Sunset

Hello readers!  I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just booked my next adventure!  Where to this time?  Well, I’m not EXACTLY sure where just yet.  What I can share is that most of my airfare is booked and the trip is starting to take form.

I’ve booked a ticket from Phoenix to Dublin on Friday June 25th.  Once in Dublin, I’ll be arriving early in the morning on Saturday – which should give me time to find my way back to one of my favorite hostels in the Isles: Kinlay Hostel.

My stay in Dublin will be brief.  By Monday the 28th I plan to be on a budget flight to Central Europe.  There is a strong probability that I’ll be flying into Budapest, Hungary.  From there I’ll be making a large loop (The loop may include Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic, Germany) before flying out of Nuremberg, Germany on July 13th.

For those curious, I’ve added the Dublin portion as a way to cut costs.  Airfare this summer is ridiculously high during the late June->August period. Fortunately, it should give me a quick opportunity to re-visit the Cliffs of Moher which I love. Unfortunately, I’ll also be flying US Airways to cut costs (can we PLEASE get more airlines to open hubs in Phoenix?). To say that I’m not thrilled about that fact is a gross understatement.  Their track record thus far has been miserable, but the price was right – and I guess at this point I know what I’m getting myself into..

I’ve visited Prague and Dublin previously, the rest of the cities and most of the countries will be new.  I can’t wait to explore the Czech countryside in greater depth and am really looking forward to getting back into Bavaria (Munich on previous trips).  I’ve heard nothing but praise about Budapest and am very curious to see what incredible cultural, physical, culinary and natural beauty the region has to offer.

Have must see/stay places along the route?  Post them in a comment! I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions!