Questions about hostels and your experiences
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 1, 2013 1:06 AM Last Post By: BthDth
Jan 31, 2013 10:48 AM
Questions about hostels and your experiencesHello!
I recently booked my flight to Spain, and as this is my first time out of the country, I have a few questions, concerns, and nerves! My boyfriend and I will be going from March 18th until April 2nd. We have made a rough itinerary of visiting the following cities: Madrid (we fly in and out from there), Seville, Malaga, Barcelona, Tossa de Mar, and then back to madrid. We have planned day trips to Toledo and Figueres.
We have planned to stay in hostels most nights, with tossa de mar being a sea view hotel as a treat. I, personally, have never stayed in hostels, nor have any of my travelling family members. The ones I have found from hostel world, and using a few of the spain guides, such as let's go or the rough guide have given me a bit of insight. I was hoping to hear some suggestions as far as staying in a hostel, how secure belongings are (in the lockers they provide), etc.
Also, I was wondering about luggage. With our flight we both get a personal item (for me my back pack), a carry on (mine can hold a good amount of clothes!) and a free checked bag. I was thinking that between the carry on and the backpack that I should be okay, however I do want to buy gifts and souvenirs so I want to be sure I have enough space for those. Should I use the checked bag? Would this be safe at hostels?
Any information you can provide I would GREATLY appreciate!
Jan 31, 2013 1:11 PM
Jan 31, 2013 3:07 PM
2I've stayed in so many I can't remember ;-)
Most have lockers...as above,always carry a couple of small padlocks with you (I use combination,not the ones with keys).
Of course you can get a private room as mentioned above (then you will have a room key)...but if you are staying in dorms it is a good idea to use the lockers.I also lock my backpack when i go out or even when I'm sleeping.
Unfortunately,the people likely to rob you are other backpackers,or hostel staff.
These are mostly opportunist thieves..if your gear is locked,they will target someone else's.
Of course it is a good idea to carry as few valuables as possible (eg no gold watches,valuable jewellery...an old cellphone or notebook/laptop rather than a brand new one) and to keep your real valuables (credit cards,passport) on your person....or at least safely locked up.
Jan 31, 2013 3:26 PM
Jan 31, 2013 6:27 PM
4If you have not yet book your air ticket, consider flying into MAD and out BCN or vice versa. This will save you time and the air ticket may not cost that much more.
Look for hostels with solid positive reviews. Most people you run into at hostels are very nice and independent folks. There is a communal feel to the place in many places. That said, standard precaution also apply. This means keep with you don't want to lose (passport, credit cards, money, camera, iphone, etc) with you all the time. Best leave jewelries at home--don't hang out a sign 'mug me.'
I stayed in hostels many times over the years and never had any major issues (except for Seville when I had to put with inconsiderate travelers who behaved as though no one else were in the room when there were 4-6 others).
Feb 1, 2013 1:06 AM
Basic precautions include:
1. take very little with me that is 'valuable'
2. whatever has any monetary value I have insured, such as basic baggage coverage on travel insurance, and/or something extra if I have something like a laptop with me
3. I have backups for all paperwork, including copies of tickets, passport, and more than one source of funds. The originals I always have with me, in an inside pouch or pocket away from opportunistic pickpockets etc. External backups for computer files.
4. when sleeping in hostel dorms I'd keep valuables tucked inside my sleep sheet or sleeping bag, or they're under the matress and I'm sleeping on top of them .. I do this in train couchettes as well.
5. I do have my own locks, but these are mostly for hotel doors if and when needed (more likely in Asia, not Europe). In the past 40 years or so I have never locked up my pack or daypack. There's nothing inside for anyone to steal that I care about. If anything, I'm more likely to empty my pack in a room, to let any opportunist know there's not much to take other than some clothes. Of course, put a lock on if you wish, it's no problem. But the point is that you shouldn't spend your time stressed about security.
Any airline has a checked baggage limit, depending on class. eg 20kg weight maximum with or without a size/dimension maximum.
Any airline also has a carry-on limit, depending on class. Again a weight maximum and a size/dimension maximum.
The so-called 'personal item' that you mention is probably an additional carry-on such as a woman's purse or umbrella.
What you write doesn't make sense to me.
So, put the daypack out of your thinking, it has a different function. What you need to consider is the size of your main piece of luggage, the backpack. Here, at least, you have a reasonable concern .. and which is always my argument against the minimalists who always suggest the smallest pack possible for the fewest belongings.
My suggestion is: for whatever quantity of clothes, etc that you want to bring, put them in a pack large enough to leave it about 1/4 to 1/3 empty. That way you have spare space for any souvenirs you collect. Breakable and awkward items .. you might want to leave the purchase of these to the last days, and bring them with you as carry-on items.
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