Challenge #3: Hosteling it in #NYC

When I decided that I wanted to go to the Nomading Film Festival, I tweeted at a fellow travel blogger and friend, @travelinglinds of Fashionista Travel that we will be staying at a hostel.

As I was looking through different hostels in New York, it finally clicked – the event is held at Hostelling International New York.. so why don’t we stay there?? (Duh… took you long enough Ms.Park). As a true TripAdvisor fan, of course I checked the reviews. The reviews didn’t seem bad at all so I called and booked two beds – one for me and one for my partner in crime. Best decision ever made.

The hostel is located at a very nice neighborhood. It’s quiet but not isolated. It’s also only a few blocks away from Central Park and there are great restaurants down Broadway and Amsterdam Ave. The fact that the festival was held at the courtyard behind the hostel was definitely a plus.

Walking into the hostel, I could tell it was a very chic, trendy place to stay at. The wall arts were cool, lighting was nice and most importantly – the A.C.! With it being 90 degrees out, having a full blasted A.C. in the lobby and in the rooms, awesome. The hostel was clean, the staff were friendly and there were pretty much everything you needed and more.

We stayed in a room with 12 beds but people were barely in the room.  Our roommates were really polite and quiet as well. The lockers were big and spacious (see below) the bathrooms and the showers were kept clean. In the lobby, there were reading rooms, TV rooms, a pool table, computers (for pay but there’s free wifi throughout the hostel) and an outdoor space. My first hostel experience in NYC was a success and needless to say, when I’m in NY, this is where I’ll be staying. Our beds were $44 each with no booking fee, tax, or any other surcharges.

We did have to check out at 11am which was a bummer since our bus wasn’t until the evening but they had lockers downstairs that were big enough to fit both of our bags. The lockers were $5 for the entire day, which is a reasonable price. Overall, my hostel experience in NY was a success and I will definitely be back, hopefully to spend a few more days than just one night since we didn’t get to take full advantage of it.

Here are just few facts and tips from my experience:

  • Check-in time is at 4pm but don’t worry, you can leave your bags with them and explore your neighborhood.
  • Explore your neighborhood to find where good eats are and to see what’s around the area. Central Park is only a few blocks away and there are many Mexican and Thai restaurants in the are as well.
  • You don’t get to choose top bunk, bottom bunk. They decide which beds are available but if you do have a preference, let them know before hand.
  • Bring ear plugs with you. Although everybody was nice and relatively quiet, people have early itineraries or they can come from a late night out. I wish I had brought ear plugs with me.
  • Bring a lock. I bought a lock and forgot to bring it – but I was only staying there for a night so it wasn’t too much of a problem. However, if you are going to be out and about, make sure to bring a lock.
  • There are towels available for you at this hostel but bring your own if you can when you go to other hostels. You never know if they are going to have one. However, if you are trying to pack light, don’t worry – you can always rent one if they are not already available for you.
  • If you are a light sleeper, set up a little tent using sheets and towels so that people moving around don’t bother you.
  • When leaving the room, even if you are just going to the bathroom, take your keys with you. You can leave the door half open but you never know who’s going to close it.
  • This tip is from a fellow traveler, @travelyourself. Leave your pajamas out on your bed before heading out if you are planning to stay out late. That way you don’t have to rustle through your bag to find one and won’t have to turn the lights on. Genius.
  • Last but not least, have fun and meet people. The awesome part about staying at a hostel is that you can meet awesome travelers from around the world with great travel stories and experiences.

I’m excited that they have now opened one in Boston – although I won’t be staying there since I have my own bed, I definitely know where to direct people to when they come visit. Can’t wait to visit Hostelling International in other cities as well!

Check out hihostels.com to see if there’s one in the city you are visiting around the world and check out hiusa.org for ones in the U.S.

Have any hostel stay stories to share? Any personal tips? Please share!!

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