Sunday, 9 December 2012

Hostels vs. Hotels: The No-Brainer of Accommodations in Canada

Remember when your cousin ate so many marshmallows he crapped all the colours of the rainbow for three days straight, and your mother never again purchased those light fluffy slices of cloud in fear of creating another poop-induced epidemic?

"Chubby Bunny" was a household favourite.
Sometimes the decisions and reputation of one person or thing can ruin it for the rest of us. Hostels are no exception to this rule, only instead of a bad case of the shits you have fear mongering over rapists and thieves. Yet in all my experience staying in hostels across Canada I’ve never once felt like I was in danger of losing my butt virginity to a crazed train-hopper. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I willingly choose hostelling for a few important reasons, all of which add to the experience of traveling someplace in a very positive way. We hold certain expectations of who the general hostel-goer is and what they do, but the fact of the matter is that people of all walks of life – young, old, non-Canadian, wizards, mimes, couples, Treebeard from LOTR - end up in hostels, which only adds to the uniqueness of the space (although some of those things may only appear when using hallucinogenic drugs).

Still unconvinced? Read ahead: 5 reasons why hostelling is superior.

1) Why do I have so much money?

The 'deluxe double room' at
beautiful 'La Maison du Patriote'
in Montreal; $64/Night for two.
Hostels save whatever small pieces of dignity still exist within that pitiful reserve you call a bank account. If budget traveling is your thing, hostels are the climax of low-cost orgasms. A bed in a dorm usually ranges from $20 – $28, depending on the facilities, but the option to rent a private room is available at many locations. The price range is, of course, higher and wider, but still very cheap when compared to the deep gouging Holiday Inn across the street. This means you can bring a ‘special friend’ along without it forcing you on food stamps for the following year.

The overwhelming savings can thus also be used for more fun shit during your trip. This may leave you feeling liberated and free from the shackles of financial worries. Yes, the hills are alive with the sound of loose change weighing down your trousers.

2) Awesome people. Awesome people everywhere.

You’re an awesome person. That’s no secret, but, as Big Daddy Kane thoroughly explains, ‘Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy’. In order to keep your street cred at a satisfactory level, you’ll need to network between other awesome people to keep a diverse gangtsa portfolio. Luckily for you, hostels are a mecca of unique individuals from all over the world, and they’re anxiously awaiting your complicated handshake of straight thug brotherhood.

 Hostels attract more than just old waspy couples from the ‘burbs because it’s not just an accommodation – it’s an opportunity to make new friends and experience new things. They are a gateway into the community and keep you connected to other folks who are visiting. Get ready for a Facebook friends list that will be admired by all.

3) The hardest part is saying goodbye.

A private cabin at the unforgettable
 Dawson City River Hostel  -
Canada's Northernmost hostel
If hotels are the epitome of ultra-rational segregated mindless confinement (and let’s face it….they kinda are), hostels are a different spectrum of colorful, welcoming warmth that are community-oriented and intentionally supportive. The experience of traveling somewhere can be rewarding, but also quite isolating if you’re far from home. You may feel like an outsider and completely unadjusted to a new place and way of life. If only you could find a place that feels more familiar.…more acknowledging of your situation.

BAM. Now you’re in a FUCKING HOSTEL and shit just took a turn for the helpful. Hostels are in themselves micro-communities designed for optimum fun during your stay. They are well connected to the surrounding area and are invested in your experience, often helping you find the ‘hidden gems’ that make a trip worthwhile. Allow yourself to be absorbed into a hostel community and in turn reap the benefits of unlimited hook-ups.

4) Customer care: you’re doing it right.

Oftentimes hostels will employ people who are in your boat: travelers, wanderers, adventure-seeking individuals who are passionate about being on the road and actually want you to take something away from all of this. They’ll tell you about local deals, the best places to eat, amazing best kept secrets and the things/places/people that can rip you off so hard it will leave a nasty rash.

Behind this solid advice is a person who has insider knowledge and wishes to share their sound judgment. Being able to rely on well-informed people that are hired for you to gratuitously take advantage of is just another perk of hostel life.

5) There’s so much room for activities.

So by now I’ll assume your next trip will involve a hostel. If this article wasn’t convincing enough to you, that’s just fine….I know that silly “O.J Simpson” trial you juried for was also a huge hoax, as was the so called ‘evidence’ of political prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Hosteling must be another sham created by the corporate machine to turn us into robots or something.

The Nanaimo International Hostel - more of
a house than a hostel - in central Nanaimo 
For those of you who aren’t wearing tinfoil hats, be glad that hostels usually offer ‘member benefits’ that allow its patrons to do amazing stuff at discounted prices. Rollbacks on transportation, museums, eateries and tours are to name a few. And don’t forget the endless amount of activities that can happen inside a hostel, such as jam sessions, bingo nights, concerts and drink-offs that are easy on the pocketbook and heavy on the friend-making fun-ness.

Next time you’re planning a getaway, be a champ and stay at a hostel. It’s only the coolest thing that all the cool people are doing.

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