Backpacking...sleeping....advice

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Jul 26th, 2008, 05:29 AM
  #1
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Backpacking...sleeping....advice

My cousin and I will spend three weeks traveling from Prague to Vienna, to Bratislava, to Budapest, to Krakow, to Warsaw, and we're planning to find our place to sleep as we go. This is part of the adventure for us, and later in life we will plan more organized sleeping arragnements. Therefore, i'm wondering, for anyone with experience, or advice - what are some tricks and the best ways to locate cheap and safe, somewhat clean places to stay upon entering a city? Last time, i'd show up in a town and play it by ear...we're willing to stay in hostels for the most part.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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"what are some tricks and the best ways to locate cheap and safe, somewhat clean places to stay upon entering a city?"

Your goals seem a little contradictory. If you really want an adventure where you drop into town and take what comes your way, then that means you think getting a dirty room and getting ripped off is at least part of the fun.

How did your room-finding strategy work for you last time? I'm guessing not all that well since you're asking for advice.

My advice: nail down a room in advance in maybe 3 cities for certain dates, places that you have checked out on travelworld, hostelz, bugeurope, etc. Be willing to arrive at those places on those dates. Then you still have 3 other cities where you can wing it.

Even if you book every day of your trip, there's still a lot of room for adventure in these places. Redefine what adventure means - seek it out in the people you meet and the activities you undertake while there instead of defining it by whether you sleep in a room you planned to sleep in.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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Lonelyplanet.com has greta ideas
for backpacking.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 07:44 AM
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At larger chain hostels you can often use their computers for free to make arrangements to stay at other hostels in the same chain, or the front desk might place a call for you to your next hostel in the chain to help you secure a bed.

The real question is when are you traveling and what's going on in the cities you intend to visit at that particular time? If you are traveling during peak summer season or a large festival is taking place when you want to be in town, then cheap, safe and clean hostel beds might be difficult to find because so many backpackers use the internet to book ahead.

With two of you, sometimes a guest house or budget hotel is very similar in price to 2 beds in a hostel dorm - but you often don't get the perks of a hostel (laundry, kitchen, internet).

Couchsurfing, staying in university dorms when school is out, beds at religious orders (like monasteries or convents) can be very cheap, safe and clean - but if you want to party and stay out late, these probably aren't good options for you.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 07:47 AM
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Some hostels offer internet so that you can arrange your next city's stay with an associated hostel that way.

I would do research ahead & get a street map & list of a few possibilities in each city, to avoid spending a bunch of time wandering around looking for a place to sleep that night, over and over.

Lastly, I am unfamiliar with your particular cities, but many places the train station has a place with local accomodations tourist information.


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Jul 26th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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If you're planning to stay in hostels most of the time why don't you print out a list of hostels with their addresses to bring with you. Hostel web sites give ratings so you will know which ones to approach first.

I'm not sure if this practice is still in effect but in Prague and Vienna (indeed all of Austria) people with rooms for rent (B&Bs) would be at the train station. You could connect with folks there. Also try the TI (tourist info) offices in each town.

I found a place to stay in Prague by chatting with someone before church in Vienna. Word of mouth is always good. Talk to folks you meet in your first destination and ask for recommendations.

I would also check some guide books and go prepared with a list of inexpensive hotels.

Otherwise you could spend your first day walking around each city, stopping in hotels, and asking if they have rooms. This is probably what you want to do since you don't want to plan anything ahead. I really don't understand why you don't want to prepare a list of places to stay in each of your destinations but everyone travels differently.

Good luck and enjoy your time in Europe!
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Jul 26th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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There are budget guidebooks like Lonely Planet and Rough Guide and Lets Go. There are also websites like hostels.com that you can do some research before you go for ideas of places to stay with ratings and current rates. Then you can use the internet or phone to book as you go. If you want a flexible itinerary you can have a list or guide book and book online or by phone a day or two ahead or even from the train or bus station when you arrive. For cheaper calls buy a local phone card.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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When is the trip? That can make a huge difference. Some of those cities are VERY popular destinations and the cheapest accommodations do tend to fill up fast.
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Jul 27th, 2008, 11:31 AM
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We are arriving in Prague on the morning of August 9th, and leaving from Warsaw on the morning/afternoon of August 30th. I will start to put together a list of some numbers - hostels/apartments/cheap hotels. Does anybody know anything more about staying in convents/dorms?

Thank you kindly!

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