When looking at our pictures you might think that we are living large (but that is our grand illusion). The key to traveling on a budget (even a loose budget) is to try and cut down costs that are not critical, which in turn impacted where we turn-in at night. Hostels, known to many as the 20 year-old hangout, have actually proven to be a viable resting spot for even us, the over 34+ crowd. Usually they cost between $25 to $30 US per person and are a watering hole of knowledge … what should you do in this town or which tour was better to see XYZ?
When booking New Zealand we plotted both hostels and Airbnb’s to break us into the daily grind of travel. We have, with the exception of one place, been very lucky. The first place we stayed upon landing in New Zealand locked us out of the bathroom at 10:00PM. As you can imagine, that was a deal breaker and we packed our stuff in the middle of the night (which wasn’t much) and hit the road to the airport Holiday Inn. (During and even now we find the entire thing incredibly comical.)
Sometimes we hit it big, like when we ended up at Sue and Owen’s for an amazing 3 days, Lynn and I had our own rooms (that is our new form of luxury), plus laundry facilities and Sue’s amazing banana cake! We love staying with locals, they impart a ton of knowledge and share with us their travels; it can be a trifecta of benefits, great beds, food and local knowledge.
However, since we spend most of our days exploring in our vehicle, or out on the water, or hiking, or hitting a local tour, it’s usually very late when we pull-in to sleep and with pure exhaustion we hit the sack. We are probably still operating on vacation mode of go, go, go, go!
Yet, evenings in the hostel can be quite fun, I wish I had recorded Lynn teaching a German and Japanese girl Arizona Rummy (they caught on faster than me). Or trying to convince a bunch of Germans to join us in Munich with full lederhosen for Octoberfest. You also find really interesting things at a hostel, like a functioning outhouse.
Everyday we adapt more and the stories continue to build. You be woken up in the middle of the night by a Taiwanese woman talking in her sleep. Don’t think for a second that this is a 4 star luxury excursion because this is a journey. And the first rule of thumb is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, which we encounter everyday when we turn-in at a budget place to lay our weary heads.