Travel

Pros and Cons of Staying in a Hostel

You’d be surprised by the amount of people I talk to that “hostel” is just another word for a hotel. Just as many people seem to think that hostels are only found overseas, too. Neither of these things is true. Hostels are very different from hotels, and they can be found all over the United States, believe it or not.

Pros and Cons of Staying in a Hostel

In other words, you don’t have to start looking at Memphis houses for sale just because the Tennessee Days Inn has been taken over by drunk Elvis impersonators.  If you know where to look, you can find a hostel just as easily there as you could if you were backpacking across Europe. The question is, would you want to?

The only person who can answer that question is you. Here are some pros and cons that might help you decide if staying in a hostel is a good idea.

Pro: Low cost

One of the biggest advantages of staying in a hostel is that they are, by design, very inexpensive. Very, very, very inexpensive. In fact, while even lower quality motels will cost you upwards of $60, staying at a hostel rarely costs more than $20.  When you’re traveling, saving money is often as tricky as it is important. Hostels are a great option for anyone looking to pinch their pennies.

Con: Little privacy

You get what you pay for, though. One of the big reasons hostels are so cheap is because they make more, ahem, “economical” use of what space they have. In other words, they pack more people into their rooms. While some modern hostels do offer private rooms, it’s far from common. Most likely, you’ll be spending your time at a hostel splitting a room with multiple other people. If you’re traveling alone, that means strangers. Last but not least, I have two words for you: communal bathrooms.

Pro: Meeting new people

Of course, for some folks mingling with strangers isn’t a downside at all. On the contrary, it’s one of the joys of traveling. Although you’re giving up a decent amount of privacy, you might find that gain just as much from getting to meet new people, possibly even making friends in the process. While the idea of sharing a room with complete strangers can sound scary, the truth is most lodgers are people just like you: travellers and tourists looking to save a buck while broadening their horizons.

Con: Just the basics

Lack of privacy isn’t the only way hostels lower their costs. They also do it by providing fewer services. Basically, if it’s beyond the bare minimum of standard creature comforts, it’s likely that it’s beyond the offerings of the average hostel. In other words, don’t expect to take a dip in the swimming pool or shed some pounds in the gym. And don’t expect to be wowed by the interior design. Hostels aren’t really about form, so much as function.

Pro: Strict security

While you have little privacy in terms of not having to share a room with strangers—although you can always request a room change if you feel uncomfortable—one advantage hostels have over many hotels is that they have very strict security when it comes to anyone not staying there. That means you won’t have to worry about someone following you to your hostel or sneaking in after hours. And if you’re nervous about losing your valuables, most allow you to keep your belongings in a safe.

Con: Strict curfew

A safer environment often comes with a price, and here that means less freedom. Many hostels, although not all of them, enact strict curfews on their lodgers. It doesn’t matter that you’re the one paying to stay there; just like your dad used to say whenever you touched the thermostat, it’s their house and that means their rules. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself locked out after returning too late.

Are These Wonders On Your Bucket List? They Should Be

Are you planning your next travel adventure? If so, then you might already have a firm idea of where you want to go. It’s possible this is somewhere that you have been before. That might be because you’re a creature of habit. That’s okay, lots of people are but you should still have a bucket list filled with things that you want to see before you die. Here are some of our top suggestions that we don’t suggest you miss off this list.

Wonders On Your Bucket List

Nazca Lines

You’ll find the Nazca Lines in Peru and they are quite something. These lines can only be seen thousands of miles above the earth. Indeed, when you walk around them, there is no way to tell what they are. It’s only when you get up high that you’ll be able to see the images of animals in the sand. Now, the peculiar thing here is that these were drawn thousands of years ago when knowledge shouldn’t have existed to create them. They are believed to be a tribute to the gods. 

Pyramids

You might also want to think about heading to Egypt to see the pyramids. Whenever someone explores trips and tours to Egypt, this is always one of the most popular destinations on the list. The pyramids are absolutely incredible and they hold a lot of secrets too. Did you know that somewhere in Egypt around the pyramids there is supposed to be a massive underground labyrinth? It hasn’t yet been discovered so it might be time to get over there with your Indiana Jones hat. 

Devils Pool

Still in Africa, this time we’re journeying to Victoria Falls. Now it’s worth noting that Victoria Falls is in quite a dangerous part of the continent. As such, you will need to make sure that you hire a guide to lead you there so that you can avoid any trouble. Reach the top of the falls and you will find a pool that is a lot like a natural infinity pool. There is a structure that allows water to flow over the side of the waterfall without the current pushing you over. It’s quite spectacular and there is the option to dangle head first over the side. It’s one of the only places where you can do this in the world. 

Niagra Falls 

Or finally, how about heading to Niagra Falls. The falls are quite impressive and one of the stands out features is definitely going to be taking a trip on the Maid of the Myst. This will take you as close as is safe to the edge of the waterfall itself. If you don’t mind getting wet, then it’s quite an exhilarating ride and is not to be missed. 

We hope this helps you plan your next travel adventure and witness some of the beautiful and amazing sites that the world has to offer. Remember, before you book it’s always worth ensuring that the place you visit is safe for travel. This can save you from a lot of trouble. 

Visiting Hull, my weekend away!

(Ad) Last weekend I was invited along with some other lovely bloggers to spend the weekend in Hull with the Visit Hull tourist Board. I know what you are thinking, why would you want to for a weekend to Hull?? Well I was pleasantly surprised with the city, so let me tell you all about my weekend visiting Hull. I love visiting cities in the UK, I still have a few more on my list to visit, Bristol, Oxford, Bath to start. Bristol in particular is meant to be a fantastic city to visit, with a wealth of activities, attractions and nightlife that I can’t wait to explore (the restaurants are apparently fantastic as well).

Visiting Hull

Visiting Hull information pack

Sight Seeing Tour

Our weekend started with a sight seeing tour around the city of culture. Over the last few years Hull has been re-generated into the city of culture. Paul our tour guide took us to various different locations all over the city.

smallest window in England

Paul clearly loves his pubs and there are some of the oldest pubs in the country located in Hull, mentioning the various different pubs as we passed them. Also pointing out the smallest window in England, it was also located at a pub!

Fish Tour Hull

During our 1.5 hour tour we walked all over the city, we spotted lots of fish. It was the famous Hull Fish Tour which is an A-Z of fish around the Old Town. You can get a free trail sheet, you then follow it around the city spotting all of the fish. Once complete you can pop to the Hull Tourist Information Centre to get your certificate. Along our walking tour we spotted lots of different fish on the pavements, although we didn’t do the whole tour, it would make for a fun day with the children.

During our tour we went to Zebedee’s Yard, which during the day is used for parking but in the evenings and weekends it turns into an events venue. At the back of the yard is ‘The Last Trip’ memorial, which is a lasting memory of those lost at sea, it’s quite a moving this to see hidden away in Hull.

Queen Victoria Hull

We walked into the Queen Victoria square to see Queen Victoria’s statue looking over the city. I love to see our historical monarchs as statues, it’s great to see Queen Victoria in Hull. She looked stunning against the blue skies we had when visiting Hull.

Museum Quarter Hull

Paul showed us the Museum Quarter which is actually a collection of four different museums. Hull & East Riding Museum, Arctic Corsair, Street Life Museum and Wilberforce Museum. Each of which are completely free to get into, set in lovely grounds, we popped into one of them to see what was on offer. The free museums were really what made me think, Hull would be a great place to visit with the children.

We wondered through the Hepworth Arcade, home to the very first Marks and Spencer Store and Dinesdales joke shop, more independent businesses and apparently a few resident ghosts. Hepworth Arcade is also home to Hothams Gin School and Distillery, which we had a visit planned for later.

Paul took us through the Arcade into Trinity indoor Market, out to see the beauty that is Hull Minster. Our tour ended here at the Minster, before Paul headed off to meet his next group. We headed back into the Trinity Indoor Market to eat.

Trinity Indoor Market

trinity indoor market vegetable stall

Trinity Indoor market is home to a large selection of different food and drink independent retailers. There is a a very varied selection of food vendors to choose from. Greek food, pie and pasties, asian, indian, falafel, pizza cones, coffee and cakes, deli, fruit and veg stalls, sweet, micro brewery and an amazing chocolate shop. So many different things to choose from, it took me a while to make my mind up.

In the end I went with the Asian food, after a bit of wondering round and drawling over the different options. I chatted to the lovely lady at Cheng and Chen about the different food they have on offer and what I should go with. In the end I decided on fried rice, crispy five spice chicken with chilli lime mayo, vegetable spring rolls and prawn crackers. Sounds like so much, but as the prices were reasonable I didn’t think the portions would be anywhere near the size that they were, such amazing value for money. I think the whole group either had Cheng and Chen or Greko.

Asian food

It all looked amazing, I love greek food as well so it was between greek and asian for me. I am pleased I went with Cheng and Chen and it was delicious. I really enjoyed it, the only thing was we should have shared a portion of spring rolls between us all as there was so many for the small price of £3.

Everyone really enjoyed their meals and I also think everyone had some left over as it was very generous sizes.

chocolates trinity indoor market Hull

After we had eaten our lunch we tried a selection of chocolate brownies from Cocoa chocolatier and bakery, which were simply amazing. You didn’t need a whole slice as it was such a rich item, but I probably would have eaten it all…. but I love chocolate!

I have to say I never really eat from ‘street food’ stands. Normally when we visit places we head to a restaurant for food or a bar for a drink. However, visiting the Trinity food hall I really enjoyed it and would happily look at something like this again.

Hull Minster

After lunch we headed into Hull Minster to see their Sistine Chapel exhibition. The Minster is a beautiful building towering over the city, built in the 17th century is England’s largest parish church.

Sistine Chapel exhibition Hull

The Sistine Chapel exhibition is displaying Michelangelo’s art work on large boards both on easels or floor displays. The exhibition allows you to spend time looking at the wonderful artwork in it’s full beauty and also up close. The show stopper from the exhibition is a 6m x 6m of the the Last Judgement and it really is the wow factor, I haven’t visited the Sistine Chapel in Italy but my Hubby has was impressed with the photographs of the exhibition.

If you are heading to Hull then a visit to Hull Minster is worth a visit.

Hotham’s Gin School

Gin School in Hull

Hotham’s Gin School is located in the Hepworth Arcade, I have to say I couldn’t wait to get there and make some gin. Hotham’s Gin School offer various gin school experiences, they do sell out quickly, so if you are thinking about fitting it in during a trip to Hull then make sure you book before you go.

gin school Hull

Our distillery lesson involved drinking gin and tonics, while learning more about the history of gin and the different botanicals you add in to make the different flavours.

I partnered up with the lovely Vicki from Tippytupps, we soon came up with inspiration for our gin, Summer Meadow. We both loved the floral summery tastes and smells so we choose the more floral botanicals and started the distilling process. It was fascinating going through the whole process from start to finish. Our gin went through various different stages, from really strong alcohol levels and changing flavours until our gin was fully distilled and ready for bottling. Sometimes it really didn’t smell or taste that great.

Once finished we had filled a bottle with our Summer Meadow gin and even sealed them up using wax. Labels were added to the bottles, which Vicki kindly wrote as she has beautiful writing. We now just have to wait for two weeks for our gin to be ready for drinking. If the gin tastes as good we hope it will, then we can order another bottle of it, as Hotham’s will brew up another batch specially.

I loved spending time at Hotham’s Gin School and I highly recommend anyone who is a gin lover to book in for a lesson.

Dinner at Ambiente

After the Gin School and feeling slight tipsy we headed for Tapas at Ambiente, in the Fruit Market area of the city. I love Tapas food and I had really high hopes or it.

We were treated to the Luio Chef’s Selection, which was served as a selection of sharing platters. I love sharing platters when you are with close friends or family, however we were sharing with 9 other people that had only met earlier in the day. So you have to be a more aware of how much you are popping on your plate.

The Luio Chef’s Selection has a varied selection of tapas items, bread and dipping oil, rump steak, chicken and seafood paella, tiger prawns, rump steak, pork, sea bream, hallouim and watermelon skewers, bravas (sliced potato). This menu is only available for parties of over 8 people.

I did enjoy the food, for me I couldn’t eat the steak it was cooked rare and I do not eat any rare meat. So that meant the whole dish was out for me. Although there was a lot of paella it was sat at the other end of the table, we had to get up from our seats to go to the other end of the table to get some. It was very nice just not thought out enough. It might have been better serviced in 3 smaller plates rather than 2 larger ones.

Overall I enjoyed my meal at Ambiente’s and I would go back. I probably wouldn’t have the set menu again as I didn’t think it was great value for money. But I do love Tapas food.

Staying over

We stayed at the Double Tree Hilton, which only opened in July this year. You could tell, the interior was fabulous, the designer they used has great taste. The bar area was nice and inviting also not massively over priced as you find in most hotels. I really like Hilton Hotels and they are my go to for overnight stays.

We met at the hotel at 10am, ready for our walking tour of the city. We tried to check in, however we were not able to because check in time was 3pm. Not an issue we handed over our luggage and went on with our day. However one lady in the group was able to check in, but we didn’t think to much more about it.

We didn’t arrive back at our hotel until almost 10.30pm, and we found that there was not enough rooms for us all. Very annoying! The lady on reception was rude and unhelpful. Laura who organised our trip away was able to sort things easily as she offered to share with one of the other girls who she knows well. However if Laura hadn’t be able too, I have no idea what they would have done.

double tree hilton bedroom

The hotel has a night club on the roof, which was very noisey! As I exited the lift I was surprised by the volume of the music, it was as though I had walked into the night club. I got to my room 521 and although I couldn’t sing along to the music I could hear and feel the thud of the music until about 1pm when it either stopped or I managed to fall to sleep! Luckily it was only me in the room, had I had my children with me I would have been even more annoyed than I already was about not having enough rooms and a rude receptionist!

The lady on reception was honestly enough for me not to ever want to return. However the rooms were great, the bathroom was large and well stocked with items to use. The breakfast was good and the company for the stay really was fabulous. So maybe I would go back and hope she wasn’t working!

The Deep

On Sunday morning after breakfast we headed to the Deep. I love The Deep!! Simple as that.

fish at the deep Hull

I have visited a couple of times before with the children and I have always loved going. It’s the perfect place for a rainy day trip, they offer so much for children to see. I love the variety of fish and marine life they have to see. It’s a fascinating place to visit, I actually enjoyed looking around at my own pace but I know how much the children would have loved to be there with me.

Penguins at the deep Hull

Although I don’t really think you would be there for the whole day, but you can spend a good 3 hours wondering around looking at all of the fish and sea life. I actually spent ages watching the penguins playing silly games in and out of the water.

shark at the Deep Hull

I will go back to the Deep again and take the children with me, I really do love it.

The Lion and Key

The Lion and Key Pub in Hull

After our trip to the Deep we headed to The Lion and Key for lunch, which was only a 6 minute walk aways. The Lion and Key was serving pints in 1817 and over the years has gone through some changes it is now back to being a pub and it well known around Hull for it’s great food and ales. Not only is it known for it’s food and drink but also for the ceilings covered in beer mats, along with the walls coverings of various different memorabilia.

Food at the Lion and Key

I was impressed by the selection of food on offer, I choose the battered king prawns and chips. Wow, what a plate full. It was really good. I couldn’t finish it all but the prawns were lovely and the batter was light. Laura who was with us is dairy free and was over the moon to find out she could have the batter. Natalie our vegetarian was more than happy with her chilli.

Everyone’s meals looked good, and they were thoroughly enjoyed. I thought that the prices of the food were reasonable and I would happily go back.

Would I go to Hull again?

In a simple answer yes I would. In fact I have chatted to my hubby about going for the day or even over night with the children. There is just so much to see and do, they would love another visit to the Deep and I would really like to take them to the museum quarter which looked fun and educational. Plus I would love to eat at Greko and I know my Hubby would love too as well.

The other lovelies who I went with have written their reviews if you would like to have a read:-

Hollie – ThirftyMum

Rachel – Out and About Mummy

Nicola – Mummy to Dex

Natalie – Hello Cuppies

Vicki – Tippytupps

Gemma – Family on the go

Mandy – Mandy Charlton Photography

Joanne – Kids Days Out Reviews

 

*This was a paid press trip by Visit Hull, thank you for having me on the trip. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*