Now for those of you who are not familiar with the hostel concept here it is:
It used to be geared to youth, hence the former name of Youth Hostels, but has grown in popularity and usefulness where now it is open to all. Although, there are party hostels that do not allow people under the age of 18.
The one big hitch for Americans is that many hostels in popular destinations in the USA are for international and as such allow very few Americans at any given time. And rarely from the same state the hostel is located. This is not true for all of them by any means, but since it is a relatively new concept here in the States most hostels are used mainly by internationals.
There are several types of room accommodations, all of them much cheaper than traditional motels, with many more benefits for travelers on a budget. They do have a small amount of completely private rooms, but most are shared with a shared bathroom.
There are co-ed dorms (this is what I prefer as the guys are great to the women and very courteous and friendly even when they have no idea what you are saying to them), there are also single sex dorms. Usually they either accommodate 6 or 8 individuals in each room with bunk beds. They are all extremely clean and have daily cleaning services. Lockers with locks and plenty of room in each to pack and repack as all travelers do constantly.
Several of the benefits include, breakfast made daily (usually), full kitchen use for cooking and storing your food, many many local events for CHEAP, and nightly activities at the hostel itself. Movies, beer pong, comedy nites, karaoke nite and an abundance of other activities. Many have free bikes or kayaks ~if by the water~ or inline skates all to use while you stay there.
Of the ones I’ve stayed at in the USA I’ve enjoyed most the hostel in Clearwater, Florida, Bon Paul & Sharkey’s in Asheville, NC, USA Hostel in Las Vegas and now added to that list is USA Hostel in Hollywood.
While I was there last week I did all kinds of fun things. They had an all you can eat BBQ for $6. I enjoyed my BBQ while getting to know some fun people from Germany, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Amsterdam, London and Chicago. I made a friend, Dominique from Germany, and spent time being a tourist in Hollywood…
I also, for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, visited Crenshaw, South Central LA.
For those in the know that is gang land. I was wrong in thinking that Wal-Marts would be everywhere. That I could simply take my last check from Knoxville and load it onto my Wal-Mart Visa card with no issues.
WRONG! So I said a prayer and got on a bus at 6 am from Hollywood and Vine bound for Crenshaw. The bus driver was very encouraging and informed me I would be fine as there is an entire police department in the Wal-mart parking lot. HUH?!
I really didn’t have any trouble everyone was very kind. I had never been in a two-story Wal-Mart. It is OLDDDDDDDDDDDDD. There was a separate escalator just for the carts to go up and down on. So strange.
And it was barred around the entire parameter of the parking lots with lots of beautification on the inside of the fence. Different Wal-Mart experience for sure.
Once back on the bus I headed straight for home. Paid for a couple more days at the Hostel and got on the bus that was leaving right then for Venice beach. Which is where I spent the rest of the day…