When it comes to accommodation, I am a tad high maintenance. Though I am impressed with people who do the couch-surfing, $5-a-night rooms, and camping things, the fact is, I would become a deeply unpleasant person if I travelled like that.
Nathan began the holiday with an "I don't care where we stay as long as it's safe" mission statement, but dropped that about two weeks in, adopting instead a more "if it's okay for celebrities, it's okay for me" attitude. He's harder to please than me now.
However, after five months travelling and with ever-decreasing funds, we've had to embrace reason and lower our accommodation sights.
Enter HostelBookers.com, our new and valued friend.
Until this holiday, hostels were one of those things I hadn't experienced, but knew I didn't like. Much like oysters, I was pretty sure if I tried them I would be unimpressed. And would gag. But I was wrong (crazy, but true)! A lot of hostels are way better than hotels.
I love that you're surrounded by other people on a budget, so everything caters for that kind of traveller. As well as the actual price of rooms, when staff recommend restaurants and activities, they are within your price range.
I haven't crossed over entirely; we've only stepped into the world of private rooms, and have not done dorms. But, mostly because of free breakfasts and the fact you can cook yourself, we've still saved quite a bit of cash.
The best we found in America was Boston Hostel, which was pretty much brand new when we stayed there in July.
It was cheap, clean, had wifi, friendly staff, nice breakfast, but then there were extras that pushed it past pretty good and into totes amazeballs.
Group activities were planned every day, such as going to a Red Sox game, guided tours, and pub crawls, but there was no pressure to join if you didn't want to.
Food may not be everything, but I do just want to say, in case anyone is headed to Boston, there was also a free pizza night while we were there, and a full jar of biscuits at the front desk - All. The. Time.
We also struck hostel gold in Switzerland this week, staying at the Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof in Interlaken.
Switzerland has got to be one of the most expensive places in Europe, so we really needed to go as cheap as possible, and this place turned out way better than we expected. Again, nice clean rooms, comfy beds and all that jazz, but with the booking we also got free entrance to the Interlaken swimming pool and mini-golf.
Note: The mini-golf was actually a mistake. My putting abilities were not quite comparable to Nathan's, and my sore-loser qualities were in full swing. Does putt-putt bring out the worst in anyone else?
Probably not surprisingly, eastern Europe claims our worst hostel title. The place we stayed at in Krakow, Poland, was just totally bizarre. The sheets didn't actually cover the beds, and there were some highly questionable mattress stains. The top bunk was so high you were nose to roof, and for breakfast they dished up stale bread and warm, sparkling (but flat) mineral water.
We've obviously been lucky, because I know there are worse out there. I heard a lovely story recently about a couple staying at a hostel and waking up during the night to find that their body heat had warmed up the mattress to bring out the strong urine smell that had been hidden earlier. Eww.
Tripadvisor, once again, an essential travel tool.
Anyone have any hostel recommendations they'd like to share? Perhaps a place to avoid?
Amelia was a guest of Switzerland Tourism