I never lie on this site.  Okay, maybe as a writer, I do take creative license with some events.

When it comes to accommodation, I do stick to the truth. I absolutely utilize hostels.  I’m not sneaking away and sleeping soundly in 5-star hotels, then writing about that horrendous bed bug attack or exposed wires and look at the shocking pictures I posted (pilfered from Creative Commons)!!!

I honestly use hostel booking sites to scope out a highly recommended place to lay my head.

As you already know, during the Ultimate Train Challenge we are going to be spending a lot of mileage on trains.  25,000 km to be exact!

To date, my major train travel was through India.  There was a remarkable difference between  ‘AC – third class’ and ‘sleeper car’.  AC-third class actually had cute curtains you could pull across to gain privacy, a nugget of gold in India.  And the secondary benefit was not baking to a crisp in the car because air conditioning blasted over my head.

Let’s just say sleeper car attracted an interesting crowd.  There was the snoring Indian man parallel to me.  The smelly foreign couple.  Shoes were optional.  Or the Scottish guy who wanted me to smoke a spliff with him in the western toilet.  Did I?  You’ll just have to use your imagination on that prospect.

Snoring man, India

Despite the revolving door of fascinating characters, the chai and biryani wallahs belting out their wares, it was a colorful experience I’ll never forget.

As much as I’m excited to snore along with others on this upcoming, exciting train journey, I will be stopping in some places to catch a breath.

And what a breath.

As an avid user of hostel booking sites, I’m thrilled my train crew is partnering with HostelBookers.

To ramp up for the beginning of our journey, we’re officially meeting in Lisbon August 30th at Rossio Patio Hostel.  I’m heavily infatuated with this hostel, it’s a railway station for goodness sake!  Right on the second floor of the Rossio Train Station, designed in the 1800′s.  Can’t wait!  Our stay will be two nights and off we leap into Europe.

Rossio Patio Hostel: train station!

After getting my fanny into Russia, we’ll next re-meet on  September 16th in Moscow at the Prosto Hostel.  After a few weeks on trains, a nice board game with Hodson and Nora might fit the bill.  Or speed drinking vodka.  Really depends on mood.

Unfortunately, the Moscow stay will be short, as we look towards our final destination: Saigon.  On September 30th I’ll open a bottle of bubbly with my teammates at Thien Thao Hotel.  We get a full week here, which will be much needed after logging several miles and time zones.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m almost sure those are rose petals!  They might be a bit wilted when I arrive, but will that matter?  Pampering, here I come.

Thien Thao Hotel: Jeannie's gonna roll around in that

I’ve always found it user-friendly to search on HostelBookers.  You can filter your results by ratings, prices or even click on the map view to find a hostel by location. Keeping budgets in mind, there are no fees or service charges to book accommodation.  That puts the pocketbook at ease.

The pièce de résistance to HostelBookers is if you find the same accommodation somewhere else for a cheaper price, they’ll refund double the difference! Sweetness.

If our hotel in Saigon is any indication, HostelBookers is for more than just hostels. You can also book hotels, apartments, guesthouses, and even campsites. Gone are the days of a single resource for a sole purpose.

If you find yourself in these ciites or anywhere along my stops in Spain, France or the like, come by and say ‘hi’.

HostelBookers has joined the Ultimate Train Challenge adventure by coordinating our accommodation in Lisbon, Moscow, and Saigon.  

Part of the Ultimate Train Challenge is our commitment to raising $10,000 for charity, by partnering with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and the Da Nang Association of Agent Orange Victims.  Each dollar will go directly to children at the center near Da Nang who suffer from the effects of Agent Orange to this day.  You can help donate by purchasing Eurail tickets through my website or donate directly by going through the Ultimate Train Challenge site.  I’d like to thank our European sponsor, Eurail for supporting this important cause.

Photo: fotologic