Avoid the financial hostility of spring break: stay in a hostel


by Bridgette Davis

Have your spring break plans taken a dive since news of the recession convinced your parents that you had better save the cash that you’ve earned?

Stop right there. Before you delete the Spring Break 2002 itinerary from your palm pilot, there is still one inexpensive way to have an amazing spring break trip: hostels.

Since costs of air-travel have remained low since Sept. 11, hotel prices are the top financial concern for students. These costs are sometimes difficult to justify while struggling to muster up extra funds for tuition, due to the depleting Iowa Tuition Grant. However, students don’t have to stay in Iowa slaving away to save money.

Hostels provide an alternative to costs that come with even less than first class hotels. They offer safe and affordable accommodations for students journeying alone or in small groups. Usually prices are under $20 per person per night.

In addition, there are hostels in almost every major city, both abroad and in the U.S. For those who have spent a semester in London, staying in another hostel may not be your idea of luxury. However, for those seeking a thrill, hostels may be your key to an exciting and economic trip.

This summer I took a trip to Denver, Colo. and would be staying alone for three days. I decided that spending $15 per night was more reasonable than $60, just for a place to sleep.

I searched the Internet for hostels in Denver and found one: the Hostel of the Rocky Mountains. It is part of the larger chain that provides affordable accommodation for youths across America.

They provided free breakfast and information on bicycle rental. However, this did not curb my fear of staying alone in this unknown place. As I rode the public bus from the airport into the city, I began to worry more about my plans.

This hostel is not in the best neighborhood. In fact, it is in the heart of downtown Denver (not the 16th Street Mall area, but the pawn shop/adult-movie block).

As I approached the hostel, I began to understand just how amazing this might be. I was not surrounded by fake trees, a heavily chlorinated swimming pool, or screaming kids that were headed to a Rockies game.

Instead, my surroundings contained the sights and sounds that give Denver its character.

It is close to the capitol, the art museum, and five city parks. Overall, it was a good deal and I never once felt unsafe while backpacking the city or staying alone at night.

My room could fit four; I shared it with two young Australian female doctors. I saw them for 15 minutes throughout my entire stay.

The room was comparable to Simpson’s apartments; they had lockable closets for valuables. They also had laundry machines and movies.

After staying in a hostel, I’d encourage others to utilize this resource. I’d also encourage travelling solo to increase personal and public awareness.

Watch people, visit foreign libraries, walk unfamiliar streets, appreciate the simplicities of life during break. Stay in a hostel with other youth and save some money for next year’s tuition. Your parents will applaud you and you’ll have a memorable and unique spring break trip.