Backpacking in Europe has changed in the last few years. It used to mean backpacks the size of a small child, staying in overcrowded, non-descript dorm rooms with shared bathrooms with questionable cleanliness, padlocking your belongings from would-be thieves and munching on cheap food and cheaper beers.
The lure of hostel life is foremost the price, but also that they are usually located in prime locations, near nightlife, popular sites and attractions, which gives the transient traveller an opportunity to meet more people and make the most of their meager funds.
But there’s a revolution taking place in the world of hostels all over Europe—from Portugal to Greece—and it’s called the luxury hostel.
No matter how good the hostel you are staying in or how safe the area that you are exploring is, backpacking travel insurance is a must have for all.
Staying in a hostel doesn’t have to mean sacrificing basic—or even luxury amenities anymore. Nowadays there are lots of “upscale” accommodations for those would-be backpackers who prefer a little style in their travel and feel the life of the typical backpacker is better suited to the 20s set.
Some of these hostels updated communal living spaces, making them chic and comfortable. Bunk beds have polished mahogany, instead of pine; the bathrooms boast marble counters and fresh-cut flowers that instantly feel more like a five-star resort than a backpacker’s lodging.
Still others have plush leather couches, game rooms, spacious rooftop gardens, private balconies, flat screen TVs and indoor pools. And while there is always a communal kitchen, many offer today’s backpacker, hardy and delicious home cooked meals that recount memories of their own mother’s cooking and deliver the fortification of a satisfying meal for all the travels ahead.
Fancy Downton Abbey, stay in a reasonably priced room within the stone walls of an old English castle, complete with the grand staircase and a well-stocked bar. Or maybe you’d prefer the laid back charm at a German hostel with weekly yoga classes, a sauna, and a rooftop bar.
There’s a luxury hostel for everyone and a few great places to start your search are www.hostelworld.com, www.hostelbookers.com or just Google “luxury hostels” and you’ll receive a wealth of information.