14 August, 2006

Hostel

After a fingernail-biting weekend of no confirmation email (okay, ten days to go, still no place to stay in Paris... okay, nine days to go, still no place to stay in Paris... perhaps I should have reserved the hostel on the competent-looking third-party website instead of the poorly-translated hostel-run website? perhaps they didn't recieve my request? perhaps I should have booked three months in advance if I was going to do it online? perhaps... okay, eight days to go, still no place to stay in Paris OH MY GOD I WONDER HOW COMFORTABLE THE PARK BENCHES ARE IN FRANCE...), I have recieved word that I have a place to stay for my two days in Paris.

My hostel search started a few weeks ago at Borders when I had a few hours to kill. While wandering through the store I discovered a wonderful book that has reviews of a bunch of hostels in France and Italy. So I sat down with it for a while and looked through the Paris section and got some idea of what I'd be in for if I booked a hostel bed for two nights in Paris in August. I decided that the two requirements I had were that it have a kitchen accessible to guests, so that I could store my insulin in a fridge, and that it didn't have a lock-out in the middle of the day. My flight gets in at 7 in the morning Paris time, which is 10 at night my time, and while I'm going to try to stay awake all day I do want to have the option to crash in a safe place just in case.

The one downside to the book was that it didn't list youth hostels (some hostels, apparently, have age restrictions). So I went online about a week after looking through the book, googled "hostel paris" and found a website, hostelworld.com, that lists, reviews, allows customers to review, and helps book beds in hostels. After a little poking around, I found a couple hostels that looked good, and called one of them to find out whether I needed to reserve a room. They said, "Paris? August? At least two weeks in advance."

Well, two weeks in advance was almost a week ago, and I didn't. On Friday, when I finally got around to trying to book a room, I discovered that 1) the hostel I'd chosen had a bed available on Thursday night but was booked on Friday and 2) many of the prices listed on hostelworld.com weren't really prices: they list prices "per bed," and many of the places on the site only had "double private rooms," which have two beds per room, both of which you had to reserve. So I panicked for a while, and performed many complicated searches on the site, and ended up looking through the list of hostels with openings for my two nights starting from the top-ranked place and moving down the list.

I booked a room in a youth hostel- 18-25 only. It's a little unorthodox in that it's not one big building: it's a series of apartments housing 4-6 people, with a full kitchen inside each apartment and no lock-out, and it was the highest rated youth hostel on the site, which made me happy. 29 euros/night, they gave me directions from the airport to the metro station, and they'll meet me at the metro station.

My mother's a lot less worried now.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Clairre said...

Two things. A) You're a nerd; book accomodations sooner =). B) Having just read your earlier posts on here, I hate you. You got up at 7 to go to the consulate, and they gave you the visa that day?! Ugh. I got up at 4:30 to get there, sat in line for hours, and got the visa sent to my house 6 weeks later. I want to go to France. France is more organized than Spain.

10:24 PM  

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