Booking hostels in Europe

Dec 2nd, 2012, 10:58 PM
  #1  
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Booking hostels in Europe

I am going to travel to Europe next year around February/March. As we all know, this is during the low season. Therefore, I would like to know if it is necessary to book hostels beforehand or can I just walk in to any available hostel? The reason that I don't want to book early is because that they require credit cards, and I don't have one. So is it a right move for me going to Europe without booking hostels since it would be during the low season?
MattIhdhar is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2012, 11:25 PM
  #2  
 
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I think you should be fine as long as you aren't expecting a room around Easter-time when rooms may be hard to come by. I believe Easter falls at the end of March anyway.

Happy travels!
Finecheapboxofwine is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2012, 03:52 AM
  #3  
 
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You have time to apply for a credit card before your trip. Look at a credit union Mastercard or Visa (they charge less for overseas transactions) or a Capitol One card.
kybourbon is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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For what it's worth, I think you'll be fine, esp if you're willing to take a shared room rather than a private one. And not all hostels have private rooms anyway.

I did a one-month trip all over Europe this past April (between your Feb/Mar time frame and the peak summer season) and I pre-booked a few places in large cities like Prague, Berlin, etc., but I also just winged it. I never got shut out, even when I decided I'd had enough of loud drunk roommates coming in at 5 am and waking us all up in a shared room! Go for it!
tomseeley is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 03:50 PM
  #5  
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Finecheapboxofwine: My flight back home is a week before Easter so it wouldn't be any problem to me. Thanks for the input!

kybourbon: That's not possible since I'm still a student. Thanks for the suggestion!

tomseeley: Hearing that you had no problem during your trip, I think I'll do okay with the hostels too without booking first. Thanks for the input!
MattIhdhar is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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Just because you are a student does not mean you can't get a credit card. Many banks and credit unions offer credit cards to college students. These credit cards will generally start out with a low credit limit (around $500) when you are a freshman and increase as you progress through college. It's actually a great way to learn about credit and start building up a credit history. I suggest you look into this with the institution where you (or your parents) bank.

(Both of my children got a credit card when they started college. It was invaluable for them when they traveled to Europe last year.)
longhorn55 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 08:48 PM
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>>>kybourbon: That's not possible since I'm still a student. Thanks for the suggestion!<<<

Of course it's possible. Almost every college is associated with a credit union. Open an account and get a card. My daughter had cards from my credit union and both her colleges. She spent a semester in Spain using those cards (and her ATM cards from them).
kybourbon is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 10:53 PM
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Other than a credit card, a wise investment for this kind of travel is a local SIM card (and an unlocked phone) and a Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. Just showing up at hostels in many cases means trekking across town with all your stuff, only to find there are no bunks. Better to call the night before, or even from the train station to see if they have vacancies. The beauty of hostel/backpacker travel is that you often make new friends along the way and decide to head out to your next destination together, or hear from others that certain hostels are good or bad. Great that you are traveling low season so you can do it like that!
Nutella is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 12:15 AM
  #9  
 
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After I read your post I read on another post about a big carnival happening in Cadiz in February. It lasts several weeks. So, my advice about being fine unless for Easter would not apply to that city during the carnival. Investigate the event- it might be worth a trip!
Finecheapboxofwine is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 12:22 AM
  #10  
 
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Carnaval is a potential problem in some parts of the Netherlands too, mostly the south - Maastricht, Eindhoven, Den Bosch.
Join Hostel International - you will get a cheaper rate at their hostels if you are a member. Also consider couch surfing.

http://www.hihostels.com/web/membership.en.htm

http://www.hihostels.com/web/membership.en.htm
hetismij2 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 12:22 AM
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That second link should have been http://www.couchsurfing.org/
hetismij2 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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First of all - I would never travel to eruope without a credit card. You really need one in case of emergencies.

Second - I would do the research on hostels in advance - some are very pleasant and some are truly awful - so you know which ones you want to stay in and what your costs will be.

then you can check with a couple of them a month or so out - to see if they still have plenty of room - or if you must reserve to get the ones that you want.

Best resources; Let's Go student guides and the Thorn Tree section of the lonely planet website.
nytraveler is offline  

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