Read of the Week Dec. 31, 2012 - Jan. 6, 2013: Backpackers & Flashpackers in Western Europe: 500 Hostels in 100 Cities in 25 Countries

from member Hardie Karges

Hostels are the biggest thing that has occurred in decades for budget travel. Just when it seemed like travel was an activity becoming reserved exclusively for upper class whining and dining in overpriced resorts, and when a backpack was becoming nothing more than a fashion statement for dot-com jillionaires to hide their valuables and their vulnerabilities, the explosion of hostels and budget airlines in the last few years has once again leveled the playing field and made travel possible for almost anybody and everybody with the desire and the disposition. Accommodations ARE the most expensive part of travel, after all. Hostels have long been around, of course, at least in Europe, but those were youth hostels. These are hostels for backpackers, and flashpackers, too, their more upscale urban cousins. There’s a world of difference. Now Internet is a standard feature, computers available for free or for rent, and many a flashpacker with smartphone or laptop. It’s not just Europe now, either, or just youth. It includes the whole world, and it’s a way of life. If it’s a cool place to visit, then there will probably be a hostel there by now, in local neighborhoods and staffed by local people, all with at least a working knowledge of the English language. You can easily organize a trip and stay in budget hostels the whole way the whole time now. This book will help. It’ll also tell you the history and major attractions of each town, city and country. C U in Helsinki, or Inverness, or Rimini, or Lisbon, or… you name it.

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