(07 Jan 2006)
The thing about the backpacking fraternity is that they love to share their travel tips. If you're thinking of hostelling
this year, the various blogs, message boards and community websites that serve the affordable end of the travel market are awash with diverse and frank advice, most of it surprisingly accurate. Sites like travelpunk.com
(which rates only a dozen of the continent's best) and Aussie sites like bugeurope.com/reviews
will quickly tell you if your intended destination is an arty retreat or frat party central.
These days, you can book hostels furnished with swimming pools and hot tubs (usahostels.com/vegas
), or with free wireless internet access in every room (sleepzone.ie), or even a hostel in a 17th-century French chateau (tinyurl.com/74sws). The best hostel in the world, according to over half a million ratings on hostelworld.com
, is Cat's Hostel in Madrid, which was awarded a gold statuette of a backpacker at the inaugural "hoscars" in Dublin last year.