Monday, June 11, 2007

Hostel Territory

A link over at Old Guy's Place took me to The Hostel Handbook Online and then inspired me to write about hostels and what they offer for the motorcycle traveler. My own experience with hostels occurred primarily in Alaska, but I found them a pleasant alternative to camping and a great deal more economical than the cheapest fleabag motels.

First you have to realize that hostels aren't everywhere. They do appear quite regularly though in places near the great scenic beauty of our country; i.e., the places where bikers often like to ride. Second, most hostels demand a certain willingness to socialize, offering as many do, dormitory style sleeping arrangements. You'll need your sleeping bags, towels, etc., depending upon the hostel. You'll also be preparing/providing your own food, sometimes in communal kitchens. You'll be expected to clean up after yourself and perhaps do some household cleaning around the hostel as well. Of course, almost all hostels have communal shower and restroom facilities. All of this to insure the low price of your stay. If you're anti-social and lazy, hostels aren't for you. If you like meeting people of all kinds and don't mind wielding a mop on occasion, read on.

Many hostel's offer several options for the traveler ranging from private rooms to campsites. Lets say you wanted to spend some time riding down in the beautiful canyon lands of southern Utah. You could make The Lazy Lizard International Hostel in Moab your base of operations. You could camp for $6 per night, sleep dormitory style for $9, a room for two for $26, or take a cabin sleeping six for just $48. If riding with a group of friends is your thing, those cabins are a real bargain. As with any good place, reservations and planning are a must.

If you're more Aspen than Moab, you can stay in the St. Moritz Lodge and Hostel in that fabled Colorado ski resort for $31-$46 per night. I can just about guarantee you will not find a hotel/motel room in Aspen for less than $46. You can find out more about these hostels plus find the locations of many more at The Hostel Handbook Online.

I mentioned staying in a hostel in Alaska. One night at a hostel in Juneau I was sharing the comfortable living room with a group of native high school students from several villages in various parts of Alaska. A great bunch of kids , and before too long some one brought out a drum, chairs and sofas were pushed away, and these kids treated the rest of us to an hour or so of Yupik' Eskimo dances. It was an unforgettable experience, one you won't have at a Motel 6, no matter how many lights they keep on for you.
Keep on keepin' on

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