Hi-Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of nine hostels in northern California and 200 hostels scattered across the United States. There are also hundreds more in Europe, where hosteling began.
These aren't just for students or twentysomethings. To indicate that it is more inclusive of families and single people of various ages, American Youth Hostels recently changed its name to Hostelling International.
Hostels are known for their simple, inexpensive, shared accommodations. Guests bring their own linens and clean up after themselves, which keeps costs low. Still, bunking in a roomful of strangers isn't everyone's idea of a vacation. And the strict curfews, chores, and quiet times might feel a little too much like summer camp. But for tourists on a budget, this alternative to swanky hotels and high-priced bed-and-breakfasts can be appealing.
For more information about hostels in the United States, from Key West, Fla., to Ketchikan, Alaska, visit the Hostelling International Web site: www.hiayh.org or call 800-909-4776.
For information about hostels in other countries, see www.iyhf.org/iyhf/world.html or call (202) 783-6161.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society