Robin Esrock’s recent experience as a backpacker sheds some interesting light on how visiting budget travelers may view our fine city.
Arriving in the city, I head to the backpacker district to find fellow travelers, and a cheap place to stay. My immediate impression, besides the striking mountains in the distance, is the sheer number of homeless people. Not even in Bolivia and Laos, both the poorest countries in their regions, did I see so many seemingly destitute people.
With most of the city’s hostels located on Granville Street, or near the Downtown Eastside, what are the impressions of budget travellers to the city? Just as I filed reports about exotic cities based on my experience in their downtown core, what would I have said about Vancouver if I were staying on the Downtown Eastside, as opposed to, say, Kitsilano? What do budget travellers think of Vancouver, and what are they telling fellow travellers as they journey around North America?
Luckily, most of the world travelers that end up in hostels like the C&N Hostel or Cambie Street Hostel have travelled extensively to the far corners of the world and their frame of reference is slightly different than the average sheltered North American. However, if you were planning a trip to Vancouver from overseas, the proximity of the downtown hostels to cheap food and nightlife may lead you to believe you had made the ideal accommodation choice.
But, today’s backpackers are tomorrow’s tourists, so if anyone asks you to suggest cheap accommodations in Vancouver, be sure to suggest the Jericho Beach Hostel. Mikey has a bed booked for all of July and August.