Parks and Recreation
What is Hosteling?
Hostelling is a way of traveling that gives you the opportunity to meet and get to know people from all walks of life in a friendly environment. While hotels tend to be expensive and to isolate guests, hostels offer affordable accommodations for people of all ages, and encourage interaction between cultures, age groups, and education levels.
Hostelling started as an idea. German schoolteacher, Richard Schirrmann, wanted to give his students fresh air and interaction with nature as a respite from the effects of living in a coal-mining town. The weekend travellers used empty school buildings for overnight accommodations; this eventually developed into a network of student "youth hostels."
Hostelling quickly gained momentum and spread throughout Europe. Hostellers held the first international meeting in Amsterdam in 1932, and formed the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF). Then in 1934, Isabel and Monroe Smith brought hostelling to the United States where they opened the first youth hostel in Northfield, Massachusetts. Within a year, more than 30 hostels were operating throughout New England. Today there are nearly 60 hostels in the Hostelling International-American Youth Hostels (HI-AYH) network throughout the United States. It is the belief of HI-AYH that "a broad understanding of different cultures, the values of youth of different countries, and the shared adventure of seeing how others live, is requisite for peace in the world."
Each HI-AYH hostel offers affordable, safe and clean accommodations. Overnight rates range from $8 to $24 per night. Membership in HI-AYH provides access to nearly 4,000 hostels in over 70 countries that are part of the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF). Membership is just $28 a year ($18 for seniors age 55 and older). Hostelling is free to all under 18 years of age.
Hostels offer dormitory-style rooms with separate quarters for men and women. Some hostels also have private family/couples rooms. All hostels provide a blanket and pillow. Linens are included in the price, or available for rental.
Most hostels offer fully equipped self-service kitchens or cafeterias, dining areas, secure storage and common rooms for relaxing and socializing with other travelers. Some hostels have laundry facilities, travel libraries and concierge service. There are a few that even have hot tubs, swimming pools, barbecues and an ocean at the front door.
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