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A column on the art of traveling well
Roadwise Home

My thanks to Hostels.com reader Suzanne Demetrio for offering a different perspective. Read what she has to say.

Cheers, Paul Otteson

A Response to Hostel Smart
from Suzanne Demitrio

I just read your article ... and I'd like to offer an opposite perspective.

I've traveled on the cheap all over the world. I'm a woman, and I often travel alone.

I think that toughing it out, where a hostel is actually unsafe, is silly bravado and false prudence. Just walk out and find a hotel, already. That's why you carry a credit card. It's worth the extra fifty bucks not to be raped, not to have your things stolen, not to become ill.

When you travel cheap, you're not actually impoverished and homeless; you're just playing at it. If you were that poor, you wouldn't be traveling. Real poor people, in my experience, tend to be much more cautious than me about risk, because they have to be.

The only hostel I ever walked out of was in Waikiki, Hawaii—a tumbledown motel converted to a sleazy flophouse, the stuff of which heroin flicks are made. So I paid what I had to for the only hotel room left in town. I got over it. Actually it turned out really amusing: I felt like a little kid playing princess in the ridiculous poshness of a touristy American hotel, with all those tiny bottles and soaps and a balcony overlooking the ocean. Everything's an experience.

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