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Independent travelers choose a hostel

The latest opinion poll showed that a third of our fellow citizens chose independent travel last year. Many people have been traveling on their own for a long time abroad. Russians only have to learn this. Recently, such independent tourists from Russia are no longer rare on the streets of European capitals. Trips devoid of plan and preliminary organization bring much more pleasure and experience than ready-made tours.
A ticket, some money in your pocket – and go. However, stop, still a visa and accommodation! .. And here hostels can also be very useful, because the main expense item in each trip is exactly accommodation.
As you know, hotels have the right to send invitations and provide visa support. A hostel reservation is the basis for obtaining a tourist visa to some European countries, namely to the UK, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy. This is the cheapest way to get a visa (except, perhaps, invitations from friends). The cost of an invitation from a hostel is about 20-30 dollars.

What is a hostel?

Translated from English, hostel is a hostel. The French say: “Auberge de jeunesse”, the Germans – “Jugendherberge”. The hostel in the understanding of the Russians over the years has acquired a negative connotation. Therefore, speaking of modern hostels-hotels of the western sample, it is preferable to use the original language. Then there will be no undesirable associations with dirty stairs, broken plumbing, and other “charms” of Soviet dormitories.
The hostels began centuries ago by roadside taverns that offered cheap lodging for non-fastidious travelers. However, the first hostel in the modern sense of the word appeared only in 1907, when the German teacher Richard Schirmann decided to take out-of-town walks with his students on Sundays. But his students were very poor, and it was difficult for them to find a suitable place to spend the night. The company had to spend the night in schools that were free on weekends and during the holidays. So the teacher came up with the idea of ​​organizing permanent places for spending the night for students and the teacher began to offer overnight accommodation to young travelers at the school where he worked. In the evenings, tables and chairs were removed from the classes, and bags of straw were placed on the floor. In the morning, each guest helped put all the furniture back and sweep out the remaining straw. Later, the hostel was moved to Altena Castle, where it still exists.
Over time, school hospitality has changed somewhat – now in many countries university dormitories are turning into hostels for the holidays, if the holidays last more than one week. True, in the countries of Eastern Europe only tourist groups accept such hostels, but they can not take a single tourist.
In the 1920s and 1930s, several more hostels were opened in Europe. In order to unite them in Amsterdam in 1932, the International Federation of Hostels – IYHF was created.
In the middle of the last century, the idea of ​​low-budget tourism helped to develop hippies: backpacking (from the English backpack – backpack) came into fashion. Passion for a change of place with a willingness to be satisfied with a minimum of amenities has led to an increase in the popularity of hostels.
After a century, hostels have changed a lot. A few years ago it was a place exclusively for an overnight stay, which after an incomplete breakfast, consisting usually of a cup of coffee and toast with butter and jam, had to be left before a certain hour.
Decent hostels today are equipped with air conditioning, telephones, televisions and Internet connections. However, despite all the changes, the democratic spirit in the hostels remained – the cost of spending the night is still equal to two cups of coffee. As a rule, hostels have rooms of various capacities (from 2 to 7 beds) with amenities in the room or in a unit for several rooms, and the so-called dormitories are rooms for 10-20 people (with shared amenities in the hallway) . Of course, the less amenities, the less you pay. According to the restrictions established by the International Federation, the hostel needs hot and cold water. Bed linen is often available at an additional cost.

Breakfast can be included in the price, or the hostel will have a kitchen where guests can cook their own meals. One of the important details – the hostel should have either lockers or a secure room in which you can leave things and to which the client will have access at any time.

Hostels in Russia

Our hostels are expensive compared to European ones. Perhaps because there are very few of them so far.
The first Russian hostel opened in 1992 in St. Petersburg. The National Youth Hostel Assosiation RYHA was founded a year later. Today it unites accommodation facilities in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Veliky Novgorod, Petrozavodsk and Irkutsk. The most favorable development was the development of the hostel movement in two capitals.

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