Paris, Madrid, Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires and Reykjavik have opened hostels that are affiliated with the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF).
Although called youth hostels, these have no age restrictions. But you will find that most of the guests will be in their teens or 20s.
The new Washington International Youth Hostel is at 1009 11th St. Northwest, Washington, D.C.; (202) 737-2333). For $10 a night, accommodations are available in men's and women's rooms with four to six beds. If you are not a member of the IYHF you can buy a one-night guest card for $3.
The Washington hostel, which has a midnight curfew, can accommodate up to 250 people. It has a kitchen, a dining room and special rooms for families, and is within walking distance of the White House and the Smithsonian Institution.
One drawback to youth hostels in many countries is the evening curfew. Some hostel managers, however, give guests a front-door key.
Curfews are not a problem in France. The new Paris youth hostel (whose reception area is open 24 hours a day) is at 80 Rue Vitruve on the east side. You can reach it by bus or by taking the Metro to the Porte De Bagnolet stop.
sh Room for 400 Guests
The hostel has a bar, parking for bicycles and motorcycles, and special rooms for families. It can accommodate up to 400 visitors.
Rates vary, depending on how many people share a room. For example, bed and breakfast in an eight-bed dormitory room is 48 francs (about $8 U.S.) per person. A one- or two-bed room costs 65 francs (about $11.70 U.S.) per person.
Breakfast in France is often bread, jam, cheese and coffee or hot chocolate.
The newly renovated hostel in Madrid is the only IYHF hostel in Spain that does not impose an evening curfew, a real help because the dinner hour in Spain often begins about 9 p.m.
The Madrid youth hostel is not in the center of the city but in a park, and is on subway and bus routes. The address is Apartado 11,004 Casa De Campo.
The hostel can accommodate 120 people. The rate for bed and breakfast for guests under age 26 is 495 pesetas (about $4.50). It's slightly more expensive for older guests.
sh Ski Resort
If you visit Madrid between December and March there is a youth hostel in a ski area 60 kilometers from the city. The Puerto De Navacerrada hostel can be reached by bus or train, and ski equipment can be rented at the hostel.
For several years the IYHF has pushed to help develop hostels in Latin America. The first step has been to open hostels in major cities that can earn funds to support smaller hostels out in the country.
The new youth hostel in Buenos Aires is at Calle Brasil 675. It can accommodate 130 visitors, is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., and the rate is $4.50 a night.
A second youth hostel recently opened in Reykjavik at Sundlaugavegur 34 is not as central as the older hostel, but it is beside the city's largest outdoor swimming pool. Reach the hostel by taking the airport bus to Hotel Esja, then walk for 15 minutes.
Iceland is an expensive country, so youth travelers may buy food in a supermarket and use the hostel kitchen facilities. Even at the hostel, a prepared breakfast costs about $6.50.
Accommodations cost $9 a night. The youth hostel association there has a travel service to help you make arrangements to see more of the country.
Most hostels provide blankets and require visitors to use a sheet-sleeping bag. If you don't have one, you can usually buy or rent one at each hostel. IYHF memberships should be bought before you leave the United States.
Some hostels will allow non-members to use their facilities at slightly higher rates. Memberships bought now are valid until Dec. 30, 1988.
For more information, contact American Youth Hostels, P.O. Box A, Harbor City, Calif. 90710; (213) 831-8846.