Hostel Interviews

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Claire McDonald

  1. Current Age?

  2. Nationality

  3. Where do you live now?
    Shizuoka, Japan

  4. Occupation

  5. When it comes to travel accommodation (but leaving out crashing with friends, family or people you meet on the road), how often do you stay in hostels?
    pretty much all the time

  6. Where have you hosteled?
    Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, USA

  7. Would you stay in a hostel again on future trips?

  8. Why or why not?
    All of the hostels I have stayed in have been of absolutely excellent quality, some I would even go as far to say as being as nice as some hotels I have stayed in. I also like the atmosphere of staying in hostels. If one travels alone it is also a great way of meeting people to travel with or just to talk with about new destinations or destinations that aren't mentioned in the quide books.

  9. Out of all your experiences hosteling, what was your:
    • Best Moment
      Sharing a room with some of the most courteous guys I have ever met.

    • Worst Moment
      Catching an infection from a dirty bathroom.

    • Biggest Hurdle, Obstacle or Difficulty?
      Which hostel to stay in in New Zealand as they are all so bloody good.

    • Biggest surprise?
      How cheap the hostels were in New Zealand and how immaculate and comfortable they were.

  10. Do you ever book any of your hostel accommodation in advance?

  11. Why or why not?
    I normally travel during peak travel times (us teachers have lots of hols but they are always during peak holiday time) so I always book in advance to ensure my place in my chosen hostel. I sometimes travel with my boyfriend so it is nice to sometimes have a private room, and these have to be booked well in advance.

  12. Who is the most memorable person you met in a hostel and why?
    A guy who ran a hostel in Thames with his mother, as he was so kind and he helped us out loads when he didn't really have to.

  13. Why do you stay in hostels, as opposed to other types of accommodation?
    They are extremely economical but offer all the services I could possibly need, which are orientated towards the traveller. Could a hotel really organise trips to the start of the Tongariro Crossing or to a quiet unspoilt part of the Great Wall? No it couldn't, so that is why I like hostels. I also like hearing about where other people have been, thus hearing about places I may not have thought of going. There are no false pretences in staying in a hostel unlike in a hotel.

  14. Is there a hostel you'd recommend to other travelers? If so, what is it and where?
    Can't remember the name but it is not far from the Caltrain terminal, San Francisco, USA; any that I stayed in New Zealand they were fantastic, all of them.

  15. What is the biggest myth people have about hostels and hosteling?
    That they are filthy dirty holes where poor students travelling the world stay.

  16. Why do you like to travel?
    I studied languages and I live in Japan and have lived in Italy, so I would say to meet and see other people, places and cultures. It opens your mind to things that you didn't realised existed until you travel.

  17. What is your advice for other travelers wanting to stay in hostels?
    Do it. They are excellent places to meet fellow-minded people. Yeah some places are hellholes, especially in some underdeveloped countries, but like everywhere the number of good places always outweigh the bad. But if you research well before going then there should be no problems. Even travellers on the tightest budget can live well. When booking accomodation look at the pics, if there aren't any then perhaps use this as a warning sign. Read the recommendations of people who have stayed in these places and see what they say. Look at also the location and the facilities. If you want somewhere quiet don't stay somewhere where there is a nightclub or a noisy bar.