One of the best pieces of advice I received to prepare for the Camino was from Nancy Reynolds. In her presentation The Camino Experience she suggested staying at hostels to get familiar with the albergue lifestyle. One month before my Camino, I managed to do so, and I am so glad I did!
I hadn’t stayed in a hostel since my college days with three friends on an epic Eurail trip on a shoestring budget. After a few bad incidents involving a theft and cockroaches, I swore I’d never stay in a hostel again. Yet here I am, twenty-five years later, wanting to stay in these hostel-like albergues! The Camino works in mysterious ways.
Hostelling International, formerly known as International Youth Hostel Federation, coordinates more than seventy National Associations in over eighty countries that have more than three thousand affiliated hostels around the world. Who knew they don’t call them youth hostels anymore?