Whenever we go on vacation, we’re always looking to save a few dollars whenever we can. We will enjoy everything we want to enjoy, but on the other things we’ll try to minimize cost as much as possible. That’s why we bought International Student Identification Cards (ISIC) to get student prices at attractions and why we bought a Eurail pass to get our train tickets slightly cheaper.
One place we also tried to save money was in our lodging. Our logic was that we could stay at slightly more affordable, slightly inferior, places a few nights during our trip as long as we stayed in comfortable places the other times. Since we weren’t spending a lot of time in our rooms, it didn’t make much sense to pay top dollar for a bed for seven or eight hours.
That’s when we started considering youth hostels, known throughout the world as a very inexpensive way to sleep. Whenever you think of college students backpacking throughout Europe on the cheap, the first thing that comes to mind are youth hostels. However, hostels aren’t always the most affordable option, especially if you’re a couple and are seeking out a double occupancy room.
For example, there is a well known youth hostel in Bacharach called Jugendherberge Stahleck. It’s 500 feet up from the city, accessible by stone stairs, and offers a fantastic view of the Rhine (we went up to check it out and enjoy a bottle of Reisling). It was about 20 euroes a person. Overall, it would’ve been a great deal had we been able to get their website to work right (Rick Steves’ has a lot of great things to say about them). Even so, at around forty euros, a 20 minute climb with our stuff, and no dinner, the option we chose wasn’t too shabby.
The place we ended up staying, Hotel am Markt, was 65 euros, or 25 euros more than at the youth hostel. While we didn’t see the rooms in the Berg Stahleck, I would argue that a hotel probably has more comfortable rooms than a hostel and the hotel offered complimentary breakfast.
So, is breakfast for two, skipping a 500 foot climb, and knowing you could stay in a double room that night worth the 25 euros? For us, yes, but I know that if we were still in college we would’ve done the climb, skipped breakfast, and used the 25 euros elsewhere.
One other benefit of staying in Hotel am Markt, located at sea level, was that we could eat at a restaurant (we ended up eating pasta there anyway) and enjoy some Reisling ice cream without having to decide whether or not we wanted to climb up and down the mountain!