Hostel Interviews

France Italy Germany Spain

Stephanie V. Siek

  1. Current Age?

  2. Nationality

  3. Where do you live now?
    Athens, Ohio, USA

  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?

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

  8. Why or why not?
    Good opportunities to meet a diverse arrray of other travelers. Generally comfortable and cheap, if simple accommodations. Often located in or near the center of town, and sometimes the best way to get tips on things to do/avoid/eat is to chat with the gal/guy at the front desk or your fellow hostelers.

  9. Out of all your experiences hosteling, what was your:
    • Best Moment
      Finding a sunny spot in the common room and reading a book, then going out to a bar later.

    • Worst Moment
      When I locked my key inside my locker, crying after a hard day of interviews in a bed surrounded by other people. Those or getting scabies from dirty sheets at a Prague "sports hostel."

    • Biggest Hurdle, Obstacle or Difficulty?
      Living with scabies for two weeks as we waited for the medications to take effect.

    • Biggest surprise?
      That there are an equal number of insufferable, arrogant boors as there are enlightened, cosmopolitan world citizens.

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

  11. Why or why not?
    Whenever possible, I do, just to have that added degree of security.

  12. Who is the most memorable person you met in a hostel and why?
    The Eastern European guy who was telling me about how his brother ended up driving Saddam Hussein's son Uday in a limo in an Eastern European capital... He told some freakishly cruel tales about young Hussein's sexual tastes.

  13. Why do you stay in hostels, as opposed to other types of accommodation?
    Cheap, social, central/with good access to public transport.

  14. Is there a hostel you'd recommend to other travelers? If so, what is it and where?
    The Sleepy Lion, Berlin, Germany

  15. What is the biggest myth people have about hostels and hosteling?
    I think there's probably a misconception that because accommodations may be shared and inexpensive, that they are necessarily unsanitary. Usually not the case.

  16. Why do you like to travel?
    The usual stuff: meeting new people, having new experiences, tasting new foods. But what I really count as a successful traveling experience usually involves seeing some perspective that most people don't, like the crap that ethnic minorities in Denmark have to put up with (reminds me of suburban brands of racism in the United States – and few Danes want to admit there's a problem).

  17. What is your advice for other travelers wanting to stay in hostels?
    Always bring a bandanna. In a pinch it can be sweatmop, washcloth, towel, pillow, sanitary barrier, bag, rope, or baksheesh. Always carry a good lock and keep the extra key somewhere OUTSIDE of the baggage you plan to lock up. Talk to the people in the common room, and don't be afraid of asking that guy/girl over by themselves in the corner if they want to go get a beer or coffee in the bar. Always bring disinfectant wipes or gel (handy if you have contact lenses and don't want to trek to a bathroom to wash hands before taking them out). Take showers whenever the opportunity presents itself.