Packing food to take to your hotel not only cuts down on travel expenses, it saves your kids from being subjected to the onslaught of fast food that families often consume while on vacation. For added convenience, some hotels include mini-refrigerators and microwaves in each room or available for rent. If you have space, pack some plastic utensils, paper plates and bowls.
Start off the day with a hearty breakfast. Pack plain bagels that your kids can top with jam or honey packets. Bake a host of mini-muffins before you depart on your vacation and store them in plastic storage bags or containers. You can also include a variety pack of cereals, the kind in small boxes; some companies even use boxes that double as bowls. Purchase an 8-ounce carton of milk from a nearby market or the hotel’s own convenience store. You can make instant oatmeal in the hotel microwave by simply adding water to the dry mix.
Lunch and Dinner
For a kid-friendly lunch, you can easily make sandwiches with just a loaf of bread and jars of peanut butter and jelly. Ready-made tuna kits, featuring sealed pouches of tuna, mayonnaise and crackers, do not require refrigeration. Some soups come packaged in microwaveable bowls, including flavors like chicken noodle or split pea. Certain brands also sell microwaveable bowls of macaroni and cheese or spaghetti that require nothing more than added water. If your room does not have a microwave, you can use hot water from the coffeemaker found in most hotel rooms. For something more homemade, cook some spaghetti ahead of time at home and pack the pasta in a gallon-size storage bag. Bring a jar of spaghetti sauce and warm the two ingredients in the microwave.
Parents concerned with keeping their kids hydrated should pack plenty of juice boxes. Save on space by purchasing half-pint bottles of water. For added variety, include on-the-go punch mixes that you can easily store in your purse or backpack. When your kids get thirsty, just throw the mix into a bottle of water and shake for a punch concoction. Many hotel rooms provide plastic cups. You can also get ice from the front desk or in the hallway at some hotels.
Snacks offer the widest range of non-perishable options, including granola bars, raisins, pretzels, trail mix, fruit rolls and crackers with spreadable cheese or peanut butter. Consider small fruits that don’t take up much space, such as tangerines, apricots or plums. For rooms equipped with microwaves, take bags of microwave popcorn. Pack tubes of yogurt and individual gelatin or pudding packs if your room includes a mini-fridge. Reward your kids for good behavior with lollipops or bite-size candy bars.
by Jane Gosford
Staying at a hotel can be an amazing experience. Hotels of today offer guests every amenity under the sun. Many of these amenities are offered at no charge. With all of the items offered to you by hotels, it can be surprising when you find that you’re missing the creature comforts of home. Before you leave for your next trip, be sure that you pack these essential items to make your hotel room feel a bit more like home:
Even if your hotel has the most luxurious bed that money can buy, you may still find that you have trouble falling asleep. You’d be surprised at how much effect your broken-in pillow has on a good night’s rest. The next time you get ready to leave your house for your big vacation, stop and grab your pillow. Those sleep-filled nights will be well worth the extra luggage.
If you have room in your suitcase, be sure to pack at least one towel. Unless you are staying in a five-star, luxury resort, chances are that the towels supplied to you are smaller than the bath towels you use at home. They also won’t be as soft and fluffy as if you had washed them yourself. Bringing a towel along with you is just one simple way of making your hotel stay more comfortable.
Let’s face it: pay-per-view in a hotel room can get expensive! If you’re traveling with children, you’ll want to keep them properly entertained. Pack your kids’ favorite gaming system and a few games. If you aren’t traveling with kids, you may still want to bring along your laptop, portable DVD player or iPod. Even though you’re on vacation, you’ll still have down time. Having access to the same types of entertainment you have at home can make your time in a hotel room more pleasant.
Adapters are especially important to pack in your bag if you are traveling to Europe. Other countries don’t use the same voltage as the United States. This means that your chargers, hair dryers and curling irons won’t fit into the wall sockets in your hotel room. You can find adapters at most stores that sell electronics.
If you are sensitive to smells, bring along a bottle of Fe-breeze on your next trip. Bring along the same scent that you use for your home. When you get into your hotel room, spray the curtains, the bedding and even the shower curtain. Spraying your room with Fe-breeze will rid it of the chemical smell found so frequently in hotel rooms. You’ll be able to relax more easily when your room smells a bit more like home.
If you’re traveling on your own, whether it’s for business or pleasure, bringing along a few pictures of loved ones can make your room feel homey and inviting. Pack a favorite photo of your kids, spouse, friends or pets in your carry-on bag. When you get to your hotel room, pull them out and set them on your nightstand or dresser. You’ll instantly make your hotel room feel more personal.
No stay in a hotel room will ever be as comfortable as your own home. By packing your own pillow, a towel and a few pictures, you can make your hotel room as relaxing as possible. You may not be planning on spending all of your time in your hotel room, but the time you do spend in it should be as comfortable as it can be.
Stay safe and protect your valuables in and around your hotel room.
Worried about protecting yourself from dangerous strangers while traveling? Concerned about protecting your valuables from theft while staying in a hotel room? Here are some safety tips to keep in mind.
To protect yourself:
Keep the door to your room locked at all times. If you are inside the room, turn the deadbolt and fasten the security chain.
When you leave your hotel room, pull the door completely closed behind you. Make sure the latch has engaged. Take a moment before you leave to try the door and make sure it is closed and locked.
Do not open your door to strangers. Use the security viewport to see who is outside your door. Do not trust someone claiming to be a hotel employee if you are not expecting one. If you are unsure, call the front desk to check. Leave the security chain engaged while opening the door for further protection.
Check all windows and doors in your room every time you enter it and leave it to make sure they are closed and locked.
When entering or leaving the hotel after dark, use the main entrance.
If you travel often, consider buying a portable alarm system to hang on the doorknob for added protection. These movement-sensitive devices can awaken you if a door lock should happen to fail.
To protect your valuables:
Use the safe provided in the room to store keys, wallets, extra cash and credit cards, jewelry, and other small valuable items you are leaving in the room. If no safe is supplied, check with the front desk. They may have locked storage available for your use.
Don’t leave cash, travelers checks and expensive electronics and jewelry lying around the room.
Leave larger expensive or breakable objects at home, if at all possible. If you must bring them, store them in the closet and out of the way of the cleaning crew.
By using your common sense and taking a few precautions while on the road, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from danger and hang on to your possessions.
The Gardner Hotel offers all the amenities all world class hostels offer. We are open 24/7. We have a variety of hotel rooms including family rooms. The Gardner Hotel has a unique sense of old world charm and the western frontier. The reception is lavishly decorated with well-maintained memorabilia dating back to the 1930s. All the rooms are maintained to the highest modern standard. Weekly and monthly rates are available on request. If you’re looking for a good hotel in El Paso with good rates then you’ve come to the right place! Our Front Desk Staff are truly knowledgeable about both Juarez and El Paso, the local sites and travel to the interior of Mexico.
A fully equipped kitchen and dinning area
Hot wash laundry
Common room with pool table
Cable TV and exchange library
On demand coffee
High speed internet
The Gardner Hotel offers a variety of rooms to meet the needs of all guests including an international hostel with up to 4 bunk beds per room and a shared bath. The hotel is fully air cooled. The Gardner Hotel has evaporative cooling, which is very common in the dry desert southwest.
The rooms still have their original antique furniture, with the exception of a few necessary upgrades, to give you a small taste of the history we have to offer. Come relax in our rooms, but be sure to experience Downtown El Paso and the surrounding areas to get the full experience!
Stepping inside the lobby of the Gardner Hotel and El Paso International Hostel, guests are transported from busy Downtown streets to a place that is reminiscent of another era. Its marble staircase leads to rooms that have seen countless guests.
The hotel was opened in 1922 by Preston E. Gardner, a lawyer who in 1923 ran for mayor of El Paso and lost to Richard M. Dudley, after whom Dudley Field is named. The Gardner Hotel was originally intended to be a five-story 100-room hotel, but when construction costs went $50,000 over budget and only three floors had been completed, Gardner stopped building. Because of fears of fire in the 1920s, the Gardner was constructed entirely of steel making the hotel almost completely fire proof.
Gardner Hotel has a lot of history but most notably, on Jan. 9, 1934, bank robber John Dillinger and two members of his gang checked into the Gardner Hotel. Dillinger signed the name John D. Ball on the registry and stayed in room 221. But because Dillinger didn’t break any laws during his stay, the El Paso Sharif’s Department did not arrest him. Dillinger checked out a few days later but was captured Jan. 25, 1934, in Tucson after being recognized by firefighters who had saved his heavy luggage from a burning hotel there.
Gardner sold the hotel to William McMurray in the 1930s. But as Mr. McMurray got older, the El Paso hotel was sold to Joseph George Nebhan. After Joseph Nebhan gave the hotel to his son, John Nebhan, all but six guests were thrown out and all but a maid, a janitor and a clerk were fired and it was run as a retirement hotel from 1962-1983.
The current owner, Joe Nebhan (son of John Nebhan), began working odd jobs around the hotel when he was 8. He took over management of the hotel in 1981 and soon realized that the Gardner could not continue operating as a retirement hotel and so he began to operate the El Paso hotel as an El Paso hostel and hotel on Feb. 9, 1984.
Hostels offer dormitory-style rooms at reasonable prices and are primarily used by young and international travelers.
To this day Gardner still operates as a hotel in half of its rooms. The other half operates as El Paso International Hostel, with up to four bunk beds per room and a shared bath in which Men stay on the second floor and women on the third. The Gardner is the only hostel in El Paso and one of about 10 hostels in Texas. It was rated in 1996 by American Youth Hostels as the best in the country.
In the early 1990s, Nebhan made a striking discovery. As he was cleaning the opalescent glass in front he noticed a glint of copper. After a thorough cleaning, a copper trimming was revealed. Nebhan decided to take things further and found that oak was hiding beneath eight layers of paint at the building’s entrance. This inspired Nebhan to redo the hotel and bring it back to its roots… The front desk was replaced by a style that would have been used in the 1920s. The skylights were uncovered and the blocked windows were replaced with stained glass and a telephone switchboard from the 1930s is now on display in the hotel’s lobby. He tried to restore the hotel to its original appearance as much as possible.
The oldest public phone in the area sits against the wall along with 1920s-era artwork that adorns the wall. The hotel’s original elevator with a collapsible door still runs guests to the upper floors and much of the original hotel is still intact today.
To those zooming past the hotel at 311 E. Franklin as they enter Interstate 10, the Gardner Hotel of El Paso is much more than just another old building that lines the road. It’s history.
Summer or winter holidays are moments in which we sometimes decide to leave the familiar comfort of our homes and go visit something else. You could go to the seaside, to the mountains or to the countryside to escape from your everyday life but besides seeing new places you should also make sure you have a place where you can spend the night and maybe eat.
Camping or staying in a local person’s house are options for young people or for people without responsibilities. Nevertheless, even for them, staying at a hotel could be the best choice for the following reasons:
1. First of all a hotel room is very comfortable, the sheets are clean, there might be central heating or air-conditioning in certain places. Besides you don’t risk having your tent crumbled upon you when it is stormy or waking up in a puddle if it rains too hard.
2. Second you should not worry about what to eat because the hotel offers a rich menu. You are free to choose among the delicious courses the one you prefer and simply enjoy it. You don’t have to wake up early and start picking firewood to make coffee, unless you have very young children who wake up with the sunrise.
3. Even when the weather is bad you can find different means of spending your time in the most pleasant way. For example some hotels have indoor pools so you can ignore the clouds and the rain and continue your vacation; other hotels offer spa treatments which can keep you busy for an entire day.
Staying at a hotel has multiple advantages besides these three like the respect for your privacy and the security of your luggage which you don’t have to carry around but simply lock it in your room. The best part about it is that you don’t need to worry about anything like buying food, water or finding a good place to camp for the night. Instead you are free to think about the places you want to visit and the souvenirs you want to buy.
Traveling is one of the most unique ways that can help individuals grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually. There is nothing better than few days in another culture that can help people better understand the differences between cultures and societies. In the end, this is what tourism is all about and this is also why people should be able to travel as far as they can and as often as they can. Hostels have emerged from a need to accommodate young tourists coming from all over the world and seeking a unique experience. The hostel has been thought as a place in which people with limited budgets can spend the night for a much reduced price in comparison to hotels. But there are many hostels in the world and this means that there are many things to expect when looking for a hostel. Here one can learn more about the main things a cheap hostel can offer. Looking for hostels is quite easy given the fact that one can simple google youth hostel or hostel along with the desired location and the odds are that there is plenty of choice. Some hostels are more traditional in the sense that they will try to combine the atmosphere that the tourist hopes to find in that particular place with the comfort and innovation that can be offered by a hostel. Other hostels on the other hand may less conservative and more futuristic in their design and they may feel less personalized.
The main feature of a youth hostel is however the number of beds in a room. Depending on the space of the room the number of beds can vary from as little as two or three to 15 or even more. There are clear rules governing the space that needs to be available for every person in the room and the odds are that that space will not be much exceeded, especially if looking for something very cheap.
WHAT YOU’RE BOOKING YOURSELF INTO
There are many preconceived notions about what type of accommodation a hostel actually is. The simplest way to correct these is to say they are all wrong.
A hostel can be anything from an old abandoned factory – gutted, cleaned and converted into a truly modern place to lay your head – to a small boat with a few beds inside, floating in a canal. It can be an old three room apartment filled with cots or a historic castle that once housed wearisome royals.
The sleeping accommodations can range from a private room with 2-6 beds to bunk-bed type sleeping arrangements with 15-30 people in one room. It is safe to say that most hostels nowadays have a variety of sleeping arrangements to choose from but one can usually find the dorm style sleeping as a choice in any place that calls itself a hostel.
What probably defines a hostel more than anything is a more communal atmosphere. Travelers tend to mingle more and facilities may be offered that you would not find at a place considering itself a hotel such as a usable (in reference to permission to use, not necessarily its cleanliness) kitchen. Those choosing this type of accommodation usually provide their own or rent towels and sometimes bed linens and the crowds tend to be younger.
Although a younger generation of travelers tend to frequent hostels more than the 30-something crowd, the days of “youth hostels” are gone. Today you would be hard-pressed to find any place turning away Euros because of age and sometimes (although this seems to be fading out) rules of conduct, such as smoking and drinking are ambiguous at best.
Most of all however you will not find a rating system such as the 1-3 star rating hotels use (besides user ratings found on websites) which means doing your research is important. Unless of course you love the thrill of walking into the unknown and taking things as they come. If that were the case however, you probably didn’t make it this far into the article.
THEY HAVE MORE AMENITIES THAN A MOTEL 6
Once you have figured out what kind of stay you will be looking for you will want to see what your options offer. It is safe to say that hostels tend to offer more in-house perks than budget hotels. Finding the cheapest bar in town right in the basement of your hostel is not uncommon. This can be a great way to unwind on a budget while exchanging future hostel tips with other travelers after walking around the city all day. Many hostels also have common areas where relaxing around a TV, trying to decipher the Simpsons in French or partaking in a game of fussball can pass more time than expected while waiting for your next train. You might be surprised at the number of facilities that are beginning to offer huge projection TVs with cable or Satellite as part of the entertainment included in the price of a bed. On a similar note, with the decrease in the size of laptops and the increase in travelers who can’t leave those behind, WiFi connections are becoming standard in many locations. If this isn’t available there is in most cases some way to access the Internet and write home or download your videos to YouTube.
Be aware that some hostels enforce a curfew or lock-out period. While the practice of curfew is dying it does exists and you will probably want to avoid it. How annoying would it be to be enjoying a city, loose track of time only to find that you are not able to enter the hostel until the sun comes up? Not a great thing. Just pay attention to the description of the hostel when booking; it will tell you if there is a curfew or not. The lock-out period is also a feature that you will likely just have to deal with from time to time. Usually happening between 11-3 or thereabout a hostel will ask you to leave your room (or maybe the entire building) while they clean up, change sheets or prepare for new arrivals. While this may seem annoying, it is likely that you will be out and about enjoying the city anyways.
KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING
Of utmost importance when choosing a place to sleep is to consider what you will be doing when you’re awake. Knowing what sites to see in any given city is a give-in but knowing where they are at in relation to your hostel takes a little investigating. Look through your guide book or find a map of your next destination and get an idea of where things are at. Finding a hostel in the vicinity of where you are headed will certainly minimize your walking time and the costs of metro tickets. This will not only give you more time to see more things but by consequence give you some bearings in the city when you arrive. Paying attention to the maps on sites like hostelworld.com usually gives you an idea of what to expect.
Just as important as knowing where the sites are will be knowing where the train station or airport you are arriving at is in relation to your sleeping quarters. There is little worse than arriving tired in a city at 10pm only to find that your hostel is still two bus rides and a four block walk from the station. Never ever forget to write down directions to your hostel from the train station or airport you will be arriving in; trying to find an Internet cafe just to look up directions which were right in front of you when you booked the place is annoying and a waste of time. Understand the scale of the maps and talk to other travelers about what areas you should avoid. It isn’t necessary to plan out each day and route you will take while city scouring but knowing you won’t have to travel far every time you forget you camera or need your jacket is a comfort. Also, just like knowing what you want in a hostel, knowing what you want in its surrounding area is helpful. If you plan on bar hopping you might want to figure out where your type of crowd goes. Younger travelers tend to be found in one area, travelers with money to burn in another and the gay and lesbian crowd likewise has its own popular districts. If art is your thing a close proximity to popular museums might be something to look for and etc.
IT’S GOING TO COST YOU
Being close to major tourist attractions and ritzy neighborhoods however comes at a price. On a budget it sometimes pays to stay a bit farther out of the city center. Overlooking the arc de triomphe or having the Roman Forum as your front yard will obviously cost more per night. Staying a bit farther away from these types of locations will translate into savings and walking through or getting lost in a new city has its perks. You really never know what you will find off the beaten path. If you plan on buying city transportation pass, such as the Roma Pass, that provides unlimited travel anyways you can save a few dollars by looking beyond the borders of the average tourists’ range of sight.
Generally you can expect to pay anywhere from 10 Euros to 35 Euros (15-51 dollars currently) per night per bed. A rule of thumb however is that if you’re paying more than 25 Euros you can probably do better. This will in the end depend on what city and country you are in and how much the majority of travelers there are willing to pay. Likewise, being right in the middle of the action also brings with it the crowds and noise that some may be wishing to avoid; all things to consider.
WORD OF MOUTH
When using booking sites like hostelworld.com and Hostel Bookers take the time to read a couple reviews. These reviews are written by people who have stayed there and can give you a sense of what to expect. Keep in mind however that a great review does not always translate into a great place and vice versa. More than anything talk to the people at your current hostel. They have just come from somewhere and know exactly what that somewhere is like. More often than not the best hostels are hostels someone will tell you about. Let’s face it people are going to talk about places they love and places they hate. Timeliness is also a benefit of talking to your fellow travelers. A great hostel one year is not always the same 12 months later. Keep your ears open and you may just find a jewel not even listed on the web.
Ultimately there are going to be times when you just have to pick the cheapest place to stay or only have 3 minutes left in an Internet cafe and have to pick a location. This only adds to the excitement of a European trip. With a little planning though, you can limit the stress of hunting down a bed after you arrive in a city, dealing with a lack of vacancy and hating every minute you have to spend under the sheets of a poor decision.
What Hostels Are:
Hostels, also called simply backpackers, are a cheap way to lodge safely with like-minded travelers around the world. Hostels usually feature security, social life, showers and rooms with multiple bunks. Some hostels are bare bones beds and baths at $8 per night; some are almost luxurious. Read on to learn all about staying in hostels, what to expect, and finding and reserving the best bed for you. We’ll largely be talking about European hostels, though Latin and US places have basic similarities.
Who’s Staying in Hostels:
These places are populated by young and young-at-heart backpackers and a few (usually older) budget businessmen. Flashpackers sometimes choose single rooms. You’ll also find couples on weekend breaks in European joints. Most of your fellow guests will be international, with less Americans than you might expect.
What Hostels Have:
Hostels always have dorm rooms with multiple beds, shared bathrooms, a check in area, a cooking/food area and a sometimes secure spot for your pack. They’ve usually got common areas for socializing, even if just picnic tables in a courtyard. Laundry facilities are often offered — sometimes bars, tourist desks, and internet access, too. Most hostels have linen and pillows. European digs may have breakfast. Some places have (sometimes seriously sweet) suites and private rooms.
What Hostels Don’t Have:
Backpackers’ don’t have concierges, daily in-room maid service or bedspreads. They’re seldom spotless, and they have waaaay less bed bugs than your mother thinks. They seldom have in-room phones and tv’s, but often have tv, pay phones, games, vending machines and computers in a common area; some have no towels (lame!), or require towel deposits. Management doesn’t supply, but may rent, locks for in-house lockers.
Many times when one is making their travel accommodations they find themselves asking the question what exactly is the difference between a hostel and a hotel. Indeed, this can often be confusing for someone who is not familiar with the concept of a hostel. There is, however significant differences between these two types of travel accommodations.
A hostel is like a small communal living inn. Generally these are reserved for those who are traveling on a budget. Hostels are favored among young people especially when traveling overseas, as they afford the opportunity to save money and at the same time experience local culture and meet other people who are from different places.
A hotel is a more established and has a more together and proper environment. Rooms are often well-appointed and private, dining options are abundant and offer a wide selection, facilities are professionally maintained an immaculate. A hotel provides a level of sophistication and comfort that is appropriate for travelers who are more established.
Hostels on the other hand are perfect for those who are interested in traveling for the adventure of seeing new and exciting places without getting caught up so much in where they’re staying than rather what they’re going to do while they’re saying there. Hostels are a favorite among young people were traveling with friends, or for those who have hit the open road seeking out the next adventure that their journey takes them on. Hostels generally charge a much smaller amount for their accommodations and usually include very limited additional services. Mostly, hostels provide accommodations in communal living environments similar to dormitories. These dormitories are most often separated by gender and house anywhere from 6 to 10 people in one space using lockers and bunk beds. Generally they are individually owned places with a unique attitude that is indicative of the environment around them. It is often been said that if one wants to get a true feel for the culture of an area they need only spend a weekend in the local hostel.
Hotels are often part of a chain and are more uniform between locations in one place to another. This means that whether you are staying in Shanghai or Walla Walla Washington you can be assured that a hotel of the same brand will more than likely carry the same type of accommodations and amenities, despite location. This is one of the main advantages to a hotel as you are able to know what to expect when planning for your stay. Hotels are perfect for those who want the peace of mind that comes with knowing what to expect from their accommodations while ahead of time.
As you can see there are significant differences between a hostel and a hotel. While a hostel has its advantages there are of course good reasons to go with a full service hotel. A full service hotel on the other hand may not always be the best choice for someone who is traveling on a budget or who are young and interested in enjoying the experience of traveling merely for traveling sake. In this instance a person may find the hostel is more suited for their needs. No matter if you choose a hostel or a hotel or next vacation accommodations, be assured that with proper planning and forethought either of these choices can provide you with the accommodations you need for a great vacation.