21st century travelers to Europe may be surprised to find that the local youth hostel might have smaller rooms with fewer beds, as well as a cafe, restaurant or bar located on the premises. According to Rick Steves, European hostels have expanded their services, as the continent has grown more affluent. Since one of the primary goals of youth hostels is to provide an economical place to sleep, foreign visitors now may have to extend their search to find an affordable overnight bed.
Copenhagen’s Sleep-ins: The Sleep-in Green is a viable alternative to Copenhagen’s 16-story high rise and other recently-remodeled youth hostels. Conveniently located in the Norrebro section of downtown Copenhagen, this hostel is a no-frills place-to-stay that is run by a friendly and helpful staff. The building is functional and there is a small food counter that serves coffee, tea and light food items. Located nearby are nightclubs, restaurants, bus lines, subway connections and the Rosenborg Castle.
The hostel is part of an ecological production school and is open from May to October.
Go East: Visit Riga, the largest city in Latvia and stay at the Doma Hostel. Eastern Europe is changing with cities like Prague and Krakow becoming almost as expensive as the West. However, in Latvia and neighboring Lithuania, travelers from western countries can still stretch their dollars and find a cheap place to sleep. Riga is a thriving city that offers many hostels, including the Doma Hostel, which is a Hostelling International enterprise situated close to the city center. Located in an 1830’s renovated building, the hostel overlooks the Doma Church and nearby town. Visitors here should enjoy the old world city along with the cheap prices.
Rural Hostels: City hostels can be a lot of fun especially if the place offers something like a pub crawl or attendance to a major sporting event or live concert. Quebec, Canada has an active hostel scene, but for an affordable place, visitors to the area can stay at the Riviere Du Loup International Hostel, which is located near the St. Lawrence Seaway. Offering a hearty free breakfast along with a comfortable place to sleep, this hostel is considerably cheaper than some of the other places in the province, plus it is located in a downtown area of Riviere du Loup. Nearby are numerous outdoor activities that include hiking, biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Hostels With Campgrounds: Besides visiting a hostel, another way of avoiding higher prices is by staying at an improved campground. A tent may provide some added privacy, but the campground may lack the social life of a hostel. However, it is possible to obtain the best of both worlds and stay at a youth hostel that offers camping. This is not a common combination, but some venues like the Tibor Hostel outside of Rome do offer this combination. Although located away from the city center this hostel-camping combo has free shuttle buses to Rome. There is also a swimming pool, an on-site store and restaurant.
Rick Steves: Europe’s Hostels [http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/1198hostels.htm