ESL Carnival's – Sit. Speak. Eat

Teaching Abroad in Paradise

Travel Writers of The Month

Hostels: Where $ Budget = $ Experience!


Teresa Vincent

If you’re someone who has never stayed in a hostel and the only thing you think of when you hear the word is the horror movie, I have news for you. Hostels are NOT scary!

I recently spent a week at a wonderful hostel in Toronto while attending a Travel Media Conference. It was my first time to Toronto, my second time in a hostel. For my first hostel stay, I booked a private room at the Ocean Island Inn/Backpackers/Suites in Victoria BC. I was on my first solo trip out of the country and I’d always wanted to stay in a hostel. At that time, I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready for the FULL “shared dorm room with 8 beds total” experience. I decided I wanted to take the plunge by dipping my toes in the water first, and then I could dive in later if I liked it. Needless to say, I LIKED IT! I was now ready to dive into the deep end and get fully immersed.

Hostel 1     hostel 2

For my week in Toronto, I knew I would be extremely busy from dawn to dusk (actually
till WELL past dusk)! I basically needed a clean bed to crash into at night and a
bathroom. I was on an extremely tight budget and wanted to stay in Toronto for as long
as possible. I could spend a week in a shared, all female, 8 bed room (with our own
bathroom) for less than the cost of 1 night in a decent hotel. It was $25 per night. The
hostel had a HUGE kitchen for all the guests so I had access to a refrigerator,
microwave, oven, coffee, filtered water, dishes, pots and pans and a well stocked pantry
of staples. There were lounge areas, it was right next door to a bakery/cafe and right
across the street from a little park. While there are MANY things I could tell you about
why I love hostels, I decided to stick with my top 5. In no particular order, here they are:

1. Hostels are located in great areas. They are close to the city, attractions, and
public transportation. This was very important to me as I would be arriving in Toronto
via Megabus and using public transportation (and my feet) to get around the city and
to my conference. My conference was a 15 minute walk from The Clarence Park

2. Hostels are PERFECT for the Solo Traveler. As an older, married, female that
travels often alone, safety is my #1 concern. You never feel isolated in a hostel and
you are never really alone. They are very friendly and its a social environment where
everyone feels like family.

3. Sharing a dorm style room with 4 other girls is FUN! Every night felt like a
slumber party as we shared our stories of what we did each day. My 4 roommates
became fast friends and it wasn’t long before I felt like the den mother to these
fabulous girls. 2 were from Ireland and on work visas, 1 was from England and
attending the same conference I was, and the other from the Netherlands and in
Toronto for a semester of school.

4. Hostels are NOT scary at all. They are actually just the opposite: FRIENDLY!
Everyone you meet in a hostel (from the staff to the guests) has a smile on their face
and a helpful attitude.

5. Hostels aren’t just for Backpacking College Kids in Europe. While you will still
see lots of guests that fall into this demographic, you will also see older retired
couples, young families and older Solo female travelers. I will be 50 this year and
have traveled my entire life. I have stayed in lodging that ranges from camping in a
tent to sleeping in luxury resorts. I really don’t have a preference when it comes to
type of lodging. For me, traveling is not about what size my bed is, the type of
mattress or what the thread count of my sheets are. It’s about the PEOPLE I meet.
The more friends I can make from the most different countries and cultures the better!
So, the next time you want to go to a new city and either can’t afford a decent hotel or
just want a more diverse and budget friendly place to sleep, a hostel could be the best
choice. You can do some research and actually book directly online at some of my
favorite websites below: (hostels are under lodging: specialty lodging)

Hostels are proof that you don’t always get what you pay for, sometimes you get MORE!
Teresa Vincent is a Travel Blogger/Photographer/Consultant with her own website at:

You can also follow her on twitter and facebook @TTsTrippin



  1. Hi Carnival,

    This is really a fantastic read on Mott Green. I’ve been following his adventures in Grenada and was grief stuck when he unexpectedly passed away during the spring. What i can say is that it truly is amazing that someone could, (1st of all), backpack, hike, escape whatever, his own country and then land in a type of Caribbean paradise! I love the way that he formed the one-of-a-kind “GREEN” & totally organic chocolate company. Mott Green was truly a great pioneer for soul searchers. Thanks again. Stephen

    Comment by Stephen Starczewski | August 31, 2013 | Reply

  2. September 1, 2013 – Welcome to ESL Carnival Teresa Vincent! Thank-you so much for your submission on hostels! #travel #hostels

    Comment by ESL Carnival | September 1, 2013 | Reply

  3. Comment by ESL Carnival | September 5, 2013 | Reply

  4. Comment by ESL Carnival | September 5, 2013 | Reply

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