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The Good, The Bad, and The Somewhat True; Tackling hostel myths

Maybe you are a hostel hopping pro. Maybe you've never stayed at one before. Maybe you were about to and then someone talked you out of it. Whoever you are, you've probably heard some thoughts and opinions on hostels, both good and bad. Perhaps you've even run across one of the internet's wildly inaccurate articles painting all hostels with the same broad, unsanitary brush (I won't name names or point fingers but I'm looking at you HuffPost). To be fair, hostel stereotypes are not born of thin air, but there are thousands of hostels in operations so let's not be so eager to lump all of them together. Below you will find what I have found to be the four most common hostel myth, some tricks for avoiding unpleasant experiences and how we strive to more than your stereotypical hostel, here at the Fernweh.

MYTH #1: Hostels are unclean. TRUTH: Yes, I have stayed in some fairly gnarly hostels and I will never dissuade anyone from traveling with shower shoes. However, the fear of the unclean should not keep you from considering a stay in a hostel. Just do your research. Read some reviews online. Look at pictures and I mean REALLY look. The more you stay in hostels, the better you will get at judging how clean a place is going to be. You will soon find that many hostels are as clean as a hotel room. Still not convinced? Want to prepare for the worst case scenario? Pack your shower shoes and prepare for an adventure. WHAT YOU'LL FIND AT THE FERNWEH: We make cleanliness a top priority and take pride in welcoming our guest into an environment that is impeccably clean. We spend several hours every day making sure we are proud of what we can offer. I'm so confident in the cleanliness of this house, I would voluntarily lick any surface (Don't worry. I haven't. That would be unsanitary. But I'm trying to illustrate how much confidence I have in our cleaning abilities). The

MYTH #2: Hostels are unsafe. TRUTH: The vast majority are perfectly safe. Just think about it; an unsafe hostel is not a great business model and hostel operators want to provide their guests with positive and safe experiences. Every hostel I have ever stayed at has provided lockers for guests staying in shared dorms. (Note: not all hostels provide locks so it is wise to travel with your own. I would suggest a combo lock so you don't have to risk losing your key). If you are smart about your personal property you have nothing to worry about. WHAT YOU'LL FIND AT THE FERNWEH: We are lucky to be situated in a very safe neighborhood within an exceptionally safe town. That being said, we don't take that for granted. At the Fernweh you will find exterior lights, well lit off-street parking, auto-locking exterior doors that open only with a frequently changed code, lockers with complimentary padlocks and deadbolts on our private rooms. With our staff overseeing the property, you can rest assured that we will make your comfort and safety our number one concern.

MYTH #3: You have to fend for yourself at hostels. TRUTH: Many people think that a hostel provides you with little more than a roof over your head. True, some hostels charge for towels, but most at least have them. If you are unsure or will be booking hostels as you travel, I would suggest adding a quick-dry microfiber towel to your packing list. As a general rule, familiarize yourself with the hostel's policies before you book your stay. Most hostels provide linens to guests. Furthermore, many hostels do not permit guests to bring in their own sheets for fear of introducing bed bugs, so just leave your linens, sleepsacks and sleeping bags at home. WHAT YOU'LL FIND AT THE FERNWEH: We try to provide you with everything you need for a fun and comfortable stay. While we aren't quite big enough to provide catered meals, we have a full size kitchen with shared fridges and pantry space, a spice rack, complimentary coffee and tea and all the tools you need to whip up a meal. Linens, blankets, pillows, towels, wash clothes, shampoo, conditioner and body wash is all on us as well. We even have a fleet of bikes at your disposal if you want to pedal around town or cruise the Poudre Trail.

MYTH #4: People stay in hostels to party. TRUTH: Have I been handed a shot of ouzo by an enthusiastic Frenchman the second I stepped across the threshold of a hostel in Athens? Yes. Is this common? Not at all. Party hostels tend to have a reputation as such. If that is what you are looking for, by all means, read the reviews, find your party scene and brush up on your beer pong game. But if that isn't what you are looking for, fear not. Most hostels are much MUCH more tame. I'm starting to sound like a broken record but read the reviews. You can also get on Instagram and look at the photos that tagged the hostel in question as the location. That can tell you a lot about a hostel and the type of travelers it attracts. WHAT YOU'LL FIND AT THE FERNWEH: We are a family friendly hostel. So while you are welcome to pass the time however you see fit, we do enforce quite hours on our back patio and ask that our guests to be as courteous and conscientious of each other as possible. It is our goal that everyone feels comfortable and respected in this house.

Well, that is my two cents. I suppose the 'myth' is that all hostels fit into the same mold, that all support the worst of the stereotypes. I'm not going to try to convince you that all hostels are magical, beautiful, clean, perfect sanctuaries filled with cultural exchange and discovery. But the good ones are. And stumbling through the mediocre ones is worth it if it means that you will be lucky enough to experience one of the truly great hostels.

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