Hint: don't sleep on an airbed
Music festivals are an integral part of the Australian summer. We follow the bands we love, discover bands we learn to love, and get a decent tan and a beer gut while we’re at it.
But one thing that can sometimes put a dampener on our energy levels is a poor night’s sleep when camping on festival grounds. It’s not so fun when people just won’t shut up at 3am while we’re trying to get some much needed shut-eye after a massive day. Tickets are expensive, like, really expensive, and they sell out fast — with the only other viable option seeming to be booking an even more expensive holiday house. There are some pretty first world issues with camping on site: hour-long queues for showers and toilets, $10ph phone charging booths that won’t actually charge your phone, and the discomfort of sleeping on the ground when the airbed gets sat upon just a little too hard and steadily deflates over the weekend. We love festivals, but camping is something we do out of necessity and not much more.
In steps YHA Australia — the largest hostel network in Australia with over 85 hostels around the country — and they’ve found the solution to the camping dilemma.
Hostels are a great place for young people for so many reasons. They’re affordable, clean, and have all the comforts of home without nagging parents or stuck up hotel staff to keep your fun at bay. Plus, they’re the greatest hub of like-minded music fanatics looking to spend less on accommodation and more on band merchandise.
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YHA hostels are located all around the country, and they’re wickedly close to our major bucket list festivals. Byron Bay YHA gives you easy access to Bluesfest, Splendour In The Grass and Falls, Sydney Central YHA is a hop, skip and a jump from Stereosonic, Laneway and Soundwave and Adelaide Central YHA provides a home away from home for WOMAdelaide, amongst others. They’ve even got one across the ditch in Hobart for Dark MOFO. And who wants to lug an entire camping kit on a plane?
You can’t really beat hostels for festival accommodation, especially when compared to the dismalness of the day three campsite and sketchiness of couch surfing (do we really know who these people are? Will they kill us in our sleep? And what’s this questionable stain on the arm of the fold out bed…?) With YHA, you’re guaranteed a solid night’s sleep and peace of mind when it comes to storing your belongings safely. Plus you get to have a long, hot shower every morning, use a mirror to perfectly apply your flash tats, wash your mud and beer stained clothes and have your pre-drinks without the need to hide them in protein shakers or sippy cups.
YHA also have a member-based system that brings you all the perks, including renting out an entire YHA for yourself and your mates, or group bookings for your next squad getaway, and they come in some pretty awesome forms — from train carriages, old movie theatres, tropical bungalows to a former prison cell. As a member, you get 10% off accommodation in Australia and abroad and a suitcase full of discounts on everything from tours to travel gear.
You also get the added bonus of staying as long as you like for some pre- or post- city exploring. How god-awful is it to pack up your decimated tent and scattered, smelly, broken belongings in the heat of the morning when you’re battling a raging hangover? How many times have you sat in your car, gripping the steering wheel with B+E roll/coffee pains, wasting fuel in a slowly crawling line out of the festival grounds wishing you were already home in front of the TV? And then there’s the long, laborious drive home with all of the other thousands of punters creating hell-sent traffic on the highway. It sucks. And every time we do it we remember why last time we chorused "never again, next year we book a house," while shooting sympathetic looks at the post-fest victims in the car next to us in the standstill jam. But at a hostel, you can sleep in the morning after. You can go and see the sights and soak in the culture of a new town. You can make friends at the hostel bar and then go club hopping with them, see some local acts and unearth the city’s coolest hidden venues. All with a warm, soft bed to come home to. And no one is going to kick you out with 15 minutes to pack.
You won't even get the post-festival traffic on the way home!