Advice For Your First Time…In A Hostel

Just as a side note – I think I like this title as part of a series. What do you think?

Staying in a hostel is a unique experience in traveling. They aren’t as common in the United States as other lodging but they are, in general, a safe and budget-friendly alternative. That said, staying in a hostel requires more preparation than staying in a hotel. If you’re considering staying in a hostel for the first time, there are things you need to know, do and bring before arrive, including:

  1. Know what kind of accommodations you have. The type of room you will be in will determine what you need to pack. If you’re in a dorm room, you’ll want to bring a padlock to keep your belongings safe. If you have a private room but shared bathroom facilities, you’ll want to bring a bath robe and your own soap. You’ll also want to know what kind of breakfast they offer and if they provide any toiletries.
  2. Have zero expectations. Hostels can be quite a culture shock to newbie travelers. You are sharing a space with complete strangers, some of whom won’t share your hygiene habits. Your living quarters won’t always be clean. Your roommates will not always keep track of their towels and a clean bathroom is not a guarantee. It’s even less likely your bathroom will have toilet paper, soap and shampoo. These are some truths that you will have to accept if you’re going to embrace the hostel life.
  3. Don’t forget your flip flops. Even though hostels are like a home away from home that doesn’t mean you should walk around barefoot. You’ll want to wear shoes at all times while you’re staying in a hostel, but especially while in the shower. Foot fungi can spread like wildfire even among the most sanitary people. Despite a hostel’s best efforts to be germ-free you don’t want to take a chance on it.
  4. Location is key. You’ll want to stay in a hostel that is (a) in a decent part of town and (b) close to the things you want to do. A hostel’s website may do it more justice than it deserves, so once you’ve decided on a few possibilities I would suggest checking reviews. Reviews aren’t always 100% accurate but if you find common complaints among multiple reviews, it will give you an idea of things to look out for.

Staying in a hostel is a rite of passage for travelers, but it can become problematic if you don’t plan ahead. If do your homework, pack your flip flops, keep an eye on your towel and disregard your expectations, you’ll be just fine.

 

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Travel Questions No. 6 – Would you ever travel by bus?

Haunted Destinations – The Mizpah Hotel

 

In my endeavor to visit haunted hotspots all over the country, the Mizpah Hotel came up early in my research. I didn’t think there would be many places in Nevada that would be considered “haunted”, since the state is sparsely populated, so when I found the Mizpah I was pleasantly surprised.

The Mizpah is located in Tonopah, Nevada, which is about three hours north of Las Vegas. The drive is pretty barren, as most of Nevada is. The only thing of note I found on the way out there was a dead burro and two brothels. I was slightly taken aback by the disheveled appearance of them; I always imagined classy mansions and sparkling waterfalls, not rundown trailers with cracked paint and a lopsided front porch.

When I finally got into Tonopah, I was also surprised at how small Tonopah is. It sounds silly, but I don’t really travel too much around this particular state (because I live in one of the only two places most people know about in Nevada), so driving into a town that has a main road and brick buildings was kind of a trip. I was worried I would have a hard time finding the hotel, but little did I know – the Mizpah is the brightest thing in the entire town. You can’t miss it.

I walked into the hotel with my dogs and wondered if I had traveled back in time. The Mizpah was built in 1907, and the owners of the hotel try to maintain that look. The front desk staff is very friendly, and even made accommodations for my dogs. It was a little rough getting up to the room, with dog crates and bags, since there is only one entrance in and out of the hotel. After three trips, I was finally done unloading the car and was able to finally relax.

The rooms are pretty small, but that is to be expected with an older hotel.  I really liked the claw foot bathtub, but at some point a draft went through the room that rattled the bathroom curtain in a way that freaked me out. That, combined with my male dog peeing on me, were the two things that made me think the Mizpah was the first place I might see a ghost.

hauntedroommizpah

So I went searching. I took the stairs and went to every single floor, just to check them out and see what was going on. It kind of reminded me of the Overlook Hotel, with the interior décor and the statues that stand along the staircase. One thing that freaked me out a little bit was that there was no music or any sound whatsoever on any floor. I couldn’t even hear other guests rustling around in their rooms. I think the lack of sound, combined with the uneven floors and creaky staircase, all combined to give the place an overall unsettling atmosphere.

The resident ghost of the Mizpah, according to legend, is The Lady in Red. She is a former prostitute who was murdered on the fifth floor of a hotel by a jealous lover. She supposedly goes after men for the most part, whispering sweet nothings in their ears in the elevator but that didn’t deter me. I rode in the elevator multiple times, and I still came up empty.

I wish I would have stayed in one of the “haunted” rooms, but that can always be for another time. Overall, I would say that this is the creepiest place I’ve been so far but I still have a long way to go. If you ever get a chance, stop in at the Mizpah for a night or two. It will make for an interesting story on the way home from or on the way to Las Vegas.

Haunted? – My Experience at the Mizpah Hotel

In my endeavor to visit haunted hotspots all over the country, the Mizpah Hotel came up early in my research. I didn’t think there would be many places in Nevada that would be considered “haunted”, since the state is sparsely populated, so when I found the Mizpah I was pleasantly surprised.

mizpah hotel

The Mizpah is located in Tonopah, Nevada, which is about three hours north of Las Vegas. The drive is pretty barren, as most of Nevada is. The only thing of note I found on the way out there was a dead burro and two brothels. I was slightly taken aback by the disheveled appearance of them; I always imagined classy mansions and sparkling waterfalls, not rundown trailers with cracked paint and a lopsided front porch.

When I finally got into Tonopah, I was also surprised at how small Tonopah is. It sounds silly, but I don’t really travel too much around this particular state (because I live in one of the only two places most people know about in Nevada), so driving into a town that has a main road and brick buildings was kind of a trip. I was worried I would have a hard time finding the hotel, but little did I know – the Mizpah is the brightest thing in the entire town. You can’t miss it.

I walked into the hotel with my dogs and wondered if I had traveled back in time. The Mizpah was built in 1907, and the owners of the hotel try to maintain that look. The front desk staff is very friendly, and even made accommodations for my dogs. It was a little rough getting up to the room, with dog crates and bags, since there is only one entrance in and out of the hotel. After three trips, I was finally done unloading the car and was able to finally relax.

The Lady in Red

The rooms are pretty small, but that is to be expected with an older hotel.  I really liked the claw foot bathtub, but at some point a draft went through the room that rattled the bathroom curtain in a way that freaked me out. That, combined with my male dog peeing on me, were the two things that made me think the Mizpah was the first place I might see a ghost.

So I went searching. I took the stairs and went to every single floor, just to check them out and see what was going on. It kind of reminded me of the Overlook Hotel, with the interior décor and the statues that stand along the staircase. One thing that freaked me out a little bit was that there was no music or any sound whatsoever on any floor. I couldn’t even hear other guests rustling around in their rooms. I think the lack of sound, combined with the uneven floors and creaky staircase, all combined to give the place an overall unsettling atmosphere.

The resident ghost of the Mizpah, according to legend, is The Lady in Red. She is a former prostitute who was murdered on the fifth floor of a hotel by a jealous lover. She supposedly goes after men for the most part, whispering sweet nothings in their ears in the elevator but that didn’t deter me. I rode in the elevator multiple times, and I still came up empty.

hauntedroommizpah

I wish I would have stayed in one of the “haunted” rooms, but that can always be for another time. Overall, I would say that this is the creepiest place I’ve been so far but I still have a long way to go. If you ever get a chance, stop in at the Mizpah for a night or two. It will make for an interesting story on the way home from or on the way to Las Vegas.