Tag Archives: backpacking europe
June 20, 2013

Review of Bus Hostel in Reykjavik

Bus Hostel Reykjavik

Bus Hostel in Reykjavik


Bus Hostel Reykjavik is a friendly, fun and super affordable place to stay while exploring Iceland’s capital or beyond. With welcoming and helpful staff and lots of vintage style and quirky details, quite unexpectedly Bus Hostel in Reykjavik became a home from home in one of the world’s coolest cities and we mean that in terms of both the weather and the lifestyle on offer there.



Review of Bus Hostel

The bar inside Bus Hostel


It says something about me and my usual mode of travel that when Kash asked me to represent Budget Traveller on a “Volcano-hopping tour of Iceland staying in a hostel” the bit I was most worried about was staying in a hostel. Volcanoes? Yep, all good, bring those deadly dangerous magma chambers on. Staying in a hostel? Well, that was when my knees started to shake and my palms moistened a little.

I needn’t have worried.

I needn’t have been so opinionated for so many years.

And perhaps I needn’t have spent so much money on hotels…?!



Review of Bus Hostel

Bus Hostel’s Vintage Decor in the Lounge


Bus Hostel in Reykjavik exceeded all of my snobbishly low expectations and then some.

With vintage decor filling the large open plan lounge and bar area, a fully-equipped kitchen close to the bedrooms and several separate bathrooms in which you are encouraged to indulge your inner rock star or opera diva as you sing in the shower, this is a hostel that wants to make its customers happy.


Review of Bus Hostel

Where you can find the bathrooms in Bus Hostel… I can’t argue with this!


Formerly used as the office of a bus company (hence the name), Bus Hostel opened its doors in May 2013 and it has welcomed a wide range of guests since then, from a globetrotting pensioner backpacker to a couple of newly-weds who asked staff members to be witnesses as their wedding.

Of course, there are the bits I’m still not sure I’d do in a hostel, like sleeping in a communal dorm or living off noodles for weeks but for those with sturdier sleep patterns than I, you can find a couple of large mixed and single sex dorms. But I was naive to think that that’s all a hostel has to offer. Bus Hostel also has rooms with just four or six bunk beds, ideal for those preferring a little more privacy and three “Ritz” rooms cater for couples who want a double bed and some privacy.


Review of Bus Hostel

I loved the long dining table at the back of this picture to work on


All the communal bedrooms have spacious lockers for valuables and if you do choose to have the bed linen they offer at a small additional cost then you will be guaranteed a cozy night’s sleep on a perfectly plump pillow and cotton fresh white sheets. All the bedrooms are wonderfully minimalist in a way that only Nordic countries can achieve, though do expect the odd quirky detail.


Review of Bus Hostel

Bus Hostel Wall art and a twin bedroom


Bus Hostel is located less than ten minutes walk from the city’s BSI central bus station and you can find yourself in the centre of Reykjavik at the foot of the impressive Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral within fifteen minutes walk. The bar serves cheap beer and wine and I warmed to the additional touches that I didn’t know hostels were known for like the book swap cupboard, free wifi, free luggage storage and the free food shelf in the kitchen.


Review of Bus Hostel

My favourite wall in Bus Hostel, Reykjavik


Sounding good? Well, I haven’t even got to the best part of Bus Hostel.

The staff there are exceptional. They are warm, welcoming and ready to help you get the most out of your stay with budget tips or trip planning. SAD Cars, a budget hire car company is also based in the same building and I can’t emphasise enough how amazing it is to see Iceland by road; less than an hour away you can find yourself surrounded by the landscape of a lava field or watching plumes of steam rise in the air from the geothermal springs and spas that are dotted across Iceland (you can see some photos of our adventures in Iceland here).

It was hanging out with Bus Hostel’s staff that made me realise that I’ve been missing out on a certain camaraderie among travellers that you don’t often enjoy when staying in hotels. Also I happen to know that Kristin – Bus Hostel’s manager – knows the best vintage and thrift shopping places in Reykjavik so be sure to ask her about them.


Review of Bus Hostel

Bus Hostel’s “Rules” – Good rules for life, i think!


A notoriously expensive country and city to travel in, Bus Hostel is currently the cheapest hostel and budget accommodation available in Reykjavik. Prices for a bed in a dorm start at 2800 ISK (£15) a night in low season and 4750 ISK (£25) in high season. A double room is 9100 ISK (£50) in low season and 12990 ISK (£70) when summer rolls around and this includes towels and bedding. Get to Reykjavik and the Bus Hostel by hopping on the FlyBus from Keflavik Airport. If you buy the Return+ ticket it includes a drop-off and pick-up from the hostel.

The only problem that Bus Hostel left me with was wondering what I do now when I travel? After ten years of avoiding hostels, my eyes have been opened and while it does mean I have more options to trawl through when I plan my next trip, I see this is as no bad thing.


Review of Bus Hostel

Another cool quote from Bus Hostel (and spot the Frankie!)


Bus Hostel Reykjavik, SKÓGARHLÍÐ 10, 105 REYKJAVÍK, Iceland. (Tel. +354 535 0350) www.bushostelreykjavik.com.

Frankie was a guest of Bus Hostel Reykjavik and SAD Cars and her flight to Iceland was sponsored by Icelandic budget airline Wow air (who probably have the best crew uniform I’ve seen). Her opinions – both snobby and otherwise – and her journey to hostel happiness are completely own and no-one could be more surprised than Frankie to find that she really did.


May 28, 2012

Travels With my Mum, Part I: Brussels


Latest guest blogger for BudgetTraveller is Emma Sparks, talented upcoming blogger and blogger in chief at Sparky Sees the World.

You can  follow her on Twitter to keep up to date with all things ‘Sparky’

Today’s post is the first of a series of posts about a Eurotrip Emma undertook with her mum a few years ago where they visited  Brussels, Cologne and Prague  before travelling to Croatia, Slovenia, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris.


Parents can sometimes worry too much when it comes to travel.

The stressful run-up to family holidays and weekends away are bad enough, so when it’s time to suggest you go away on your own, it’s important you are prepared for the onslaught of probing, angst-ridden questions:

‘You’re going on your own?’

‘Isn’t *insert completely safe country here* dangerous?’

‘What will you do if you lose your passport/phone/money?’

‘Will you call me every day?’


Repeatedly explaining yourself can be a bore, not to mention a waste of your precious trip planning time; that’s why when my mum began to express her doubts about my Euro-trip, I took a different approach: I decided to take her with me.




I was going to show her how organised and street-smart I was, how independent and adventurous I could be; I even hoped I might give her the travel-bug, so she would understand why I’m so motivated to see this world we live in.


Reluctantly agreeing to forgo her usual 2-week sun-bathing session for ten days on the road with me, my lovely mum didn’t have a clue what she was in for. As far as mothers and daughters go, we are pretty set. We’re extremely close and rarely exchange a cross word; this would be fine…right?



Mini rucksacks packed and cats cuddled goodbye, Mum and I set off for Brussels. A train ride to London from Cardiff in itself was a novelty for my home bird companion. I grinned with excitement, proud that I was showing her how well-prepared I could be. As we were splitting the budget 50/50, the trip was definitely on a shoestring and I’d planned it with that in mind.




The Eurostar to Belgium was a comfortable two-hour trip. After nearly losing ma mere on the STIB Underground network (I like to walk at a Londoner’s pace), we made it to our first hostel, Brussels Hello Hostel, on Rue de l’Armistice. Crossing all my fingers and toes that she wouldn’t turn her nose up at our €22-a-night dorm, we opened the door to a clean, spacious bright all-female room.





The first test was over. Next: dinner. Budget travel often means cooking for yourself, so we indulged in some simple but tasty grub from the local supermarket. Sitting at the little table next to the wide windows of our room, we could have been in a restaurant. Not bad for €10 total:



The next day, after a surprisingly comfortable sleep, we set off for a day of exploration. The sky was ominously grey, and I couldn’t help feeling guilty that I was depriving Mum of her annual poolside tanning holiday; nevertheless, we zipped around the city, taking in the sights.



Brussels may at first look a little grey and boring, particularly when you add the fact that it is the home of the important but a-tad-too-complicated-for-me European Union, but snippets of this city’s personality soon seep through the concrete and clouds:


Our first stop was the Grand Place, a large square surrounded by imposing baroque architecture.


As well as galleries and the town hall, the Grand Place is also home to the Tourist Centre. From there we went in search of one of Brussel’s quirkier attractions: Le Manneken Pis.




Obligatory photo next to the mischievous nipper done, we headed – via the Comic Strip museum – to an architectural monument I was desperate to see.


The Atomium




This unbelievably futuristic creation was built for the 1958 World Fair and currently houses numerous exhibitions and spaces for the public to admire. That’s right, you can actually enter this alien structure and take escalators to each section. Adult entry costs €11.


I’d highly recommend it.


Stuffed with Belgian chocolates and comfortably adjusted to hostel life, the next day we hopped on a train to our next stop: Cologne, where our adventures would continue…

January 4, 2012

Luxury Hostels of Europe: *NEW* on BudgetTraveller for 2012




Through the blog, I am always looking at new ideas and way of inspiring your future travels.


With this in mind I am launching a guide to Luxury Hostels of Europe on the BudgetTraveller in 2012.

Luxury Hostels?????????


I know it’s an oxymoron.

Hostels are supposed to cater for just backpacking tourists looking for the cheapest room in town- right?


Wrong. Things are changing.

There is a new breed of fashionable, uber cool hostels that are now offering many features of a budget hotel , while retaining the fun factor of a hostel.


Generator Dublin- One of the cool luxury hostels I'll be visiting


Starting from March 2012, every month I’ll be travelling across Europe checking out and reviewing this cool breed of new hostels.

London, Paris, Florence, Reykjavik, Sofia, Hvar, Berlin, Nice, Lisbon – there is an amazing list of destinations I am going to be visiting.

Along with each luxury hostel review, will be a mini-guide to enjoying the best of each destination on a budget.


As the BudgetTraveller I want to present to my generation ( I’m 33 in March ) how we can still backpack on a budget but with a luxury twist, or be a ‘flashpacker’


At my age,  I’ve found a lot of people who have a closed mind about hostels.


Question: Would you look for luxury in a hostel?


Images that come to their mind are of bland buildings, 16 bed dorms of drunk, snoring, smelly people.

Sharing communal toilets.


So I am on a mission to change their perception. Possibly my own?

It will be an interesting challenge.

To make hostelling convenient, comfortable and also fun.


In my research, I’ve picked up some awesome terms. ‘Flashpacker’ was one

Amazing how travel is diversifying into so many niches.


The Geek Flashpacker



I’ve learnt that I am going to be a ‘geek flashpacker’- since my trip will be inspired by technology with no guidebooks involved.


Since I’ll be using social media tools like Twitter to find tips from locals- I can also call myself  a ‘coolpacker’.


I’ll be using geo-locational tools like foursquare to keep people updated plus picking up tips.

The trip will be visual- I’ll be using the photo sharing network, Instagram to give people a flavour of the hostels I am staying in and what makes them unique.

So it’s real-time,  social travel trip.

Plus they will be videos from each hostel and destination on Youtube channel and the BudgetTraveller blog.


Over the next few weeks I’ll be researching the best upscale hostels across Europe.

I’ll be asking you my readers for tips and ideas.

Please email me your tips and suggestions for hostels on my Facebook Page:




Smartcity Hostels, Edinburgh- Rooftop Terrace, cool bar and restaurant in a great location


When picking a luxury hostel, factors I am looking at include-


  • Private rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
  • Good location ( Being centrally located important?)
  • They have to be fun and character.
  • Free or affordable wifi is a must plus a good breakfast.
  • Friendly staff – good hospitality doesn’t cost a penny.
Anything else I should add or subtract?


The guide launches on the blog in March 2012- so stay tuned.

If you like to get involved in the project please email the BudgetTraveller at [email protected]