Groundhoppers who don't pay for hotels

Scotty BUFC

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Myself and a mate did an overnight coach from London Victoria to Lille during the last Womens World Cup, to go to the England match in Valenciennes. Arrived into Lille about 5am, and had to wait a few hours for the first Sunday morning train onwards.
We got the return coach back to London that night so spent a couple of nights away without needing a hotel.
 

paulh66

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The 'chore' bit would be spending hours on t'internet trying to find a non-rip-off hotel, and then have the inconvenience of being tied down to that limiting factor.
Yes that would be a chore but for wifi and flexible bookings! £3 extra for a flexi booking on Travelodge, cancellable until midday on day of arrival, gives me all the flexibility I need if the trip's just mainly for football. Even the cheaper saver rate can be moved (just once) for a £5 fee (+ any difference in price), subject to availability (which can be patchy). All done online in a minute or two.
 

Wiretown.Editor

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I have been an IYHF member since 1986 (I later upgraded to life membership when I could afford to) and while it is perhaps true that some people on here would not want to share a dormitory, this has never been a problem for me as I went to a boarding school. Some youth hostels do have private rooms but these are not really worthwhile as these rooms tend to cost the same as ordinary hotels, at least in the wealthier European countries.
Went Youth Hostelling many times from 1980 onwards and for the first few years always under our own steam. The majority of them seem to have closed now. Went with my brother, cousin and some mates. Cycled to from Warrington to Cornwall and back, up to Northumberland then down the east coast, plus walked in the Dales, Lakes, North Wales and Shropshire all using YHA from home. I worked for the YHA from 84-88 based in Matlock, hence my affiliation to The Gladiators. Also went hostelling/camping in France, but I was driving by then.
The simpler the hostels the better for me. They had more character.
 

Leyther_Matt

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I've led a very sheltered life going by this thread. Always stayed in a hotel when doing an overnight trip, albeit sometimes only getting back in the early hours and up early the next day. I can't function without a shower in a morning, and ideally I like to shower and change upon arrival if I've been travelling for a while.

This day in 2012ish I attended Kilmarnock v Hibs on a Sunday - the first train didn't arrive in time for kick off so I got the last train north on the Saturday evening instead (going straight from work in Wigan) and stayed in Kilmarnock Travelodge for all of 15 quid and then got the last train back from Glasgow a couple of hours after the game.

I expected my highest hotel price to be two nights in a four star Park Inn in Malmo when Hibs played there in 2013, but in actual fact it was 1432SEK in total which even now would only work out at £62 a night. I've paid more than that for one night in Edinburgh on some occasions for big games, and even then I shared the room so cost even less.
 

Stoodley Pike

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Went Youth Hostelling many times from 1980 onwards and for the first few years always under our own steam. The majority of them seem to have closed now. Went with my brother, cousin and some mates. Cycled to from Warrington to Cornwall and back, up to Northumberland then down the east coast, plus walked in the Dales, Lakes, North Wales and Shropshire all using YHA from home. I worked for the YHA from 84-88 based in Matlock, hence my affiliation to The Gladiators. Also went hostelling/camping in France, but I was driving by then.
The simpler the hostels the better for me. They had more character.
Done a lot of youth hostelling myself, like you mainly for walking and cycling (and, occasionally, whilst watching sport). Born into a walking family, I did my early youth hostelling with my parents and twin sister. Chores, stamps and curfews! Bakewell was my first, in 1970.

Eventually, maybe 15 years ago, I gave up on the YHA, which seemed determined to sell off all its small, isolated, characterful hostels in favour of investing in (and building) huge city centre hostels which, to my mind, had little in common with youth hostelling's original ideals and simplistic approach. One rarely met a warden who wasn't completely disillusioned with the YHA's 'new' business plan. The YHA got so expensive, there was no saving to be made if one stayed in a B&B. And, of course, have a room to oneself! Increasingly, self-catering seemed to be discouraged by the YHA. I got the impression the YHA preferred customers to buy the fast food-style crap it prepared.

My dad used to recall a time when drivers were simply not allowed to use youth hostels. The rule was abandoned because, apparently, so many customers were simply driving up then parking out of sight, round a corner, before booking in.

Originally, youth hostels were spaced so one could walk from one to the next in a single day. Selling them off, piecemeal, broke this useful chain and rendered even more of them redundant. It's a long time since I looked at a YHA handbook, but I'd be surprised if more than 50 per cent of the hostels I've stayed at are still operational.

I do recall, whilst cycling, with an ex-girlfriend, round the three peninsulas of southwest Ireland, an amusing incident in the independent Dingle youth hostel. Run by a Frenchman (who'd played rugby league, as it happens), it had mixed dorms. Having booked in, my girlfriend and I sought out our beds, to dump our stuff before heading out. The dorm was empty, bar a couple of German girls, who were emptying their rucksacks and systematically sniffing their knickers, pair by pair, presumably to determine which had been worn and which had not. You don't see that in most hotels!
 
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Bigaitch

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Doesn’t involve me personally but four mates of mine went to Swindon to watch Orient play a Tuesday night LDV match in about 1986. They legged it back to the station after the game as the last train to Paddington was due around 10pm. Having made the station with a minute or so to spare they saw the train was on the platform and jumped on. However, this was going West, not East and they ended up sleeping in the waiting room at Bristol Temple Meads waiting for the first one back the next morning. How I chuckled when I heard the story.
 

Cleeve

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Doesn’t involve me personally but four mates of mine went to Swindon to watch Orient play a Tuesday night LDV match in about 1986. They legged it back to the station after the game as the last train to Paddington was due around 10pm. Having made the station with a minute or so to spare they saw the train was on the platform and jumped on. However, this was going West, not East and they ended up sleeping in the waiting room at Bristol Temple Meads waiting for the first one back the next morning. How I chuckled when I heard the story.
I had a similar experience in the 70s when a few of us from Bradford University had a rare Friday night out in Leeds (in particular for a pub that sold Timmy Taylor's Ram Tam). At the end of the evening we were at Leeds station running for the last train home but were directed to the wrong platform and found ourselves Hull-bound. So, we decided there was no point getting off at an intermediate stop and instead we'd go all the way to Hull where someone had a friend at Hull University. At the station we were interrogated by the BR staff and a policeman who agreed not to charge us extra if we got the first train back about 0630hrs.
We had to walk a long way to the halls of residence, and then be polite and sit around chatting over a coffee before being kept awake for the rest of the night with someone playing an LP of whale noises at high volume. We got back to Hull station for the first train out, and when I got back to Bradford I cooked a full meal for breakfast and went straight back out to catch the train to see Middlesbrough versus Bristol City.
 

Stoodley Pike

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Doesn’t involve me personally but four mates of mine went to Swindon to watch Orient play a Tuesday night LDV match in about 1986. They legged it back to the station after the game as the last train to Paddington was due around 10pm. Having made the station with a minute or so to spare they saw the train was on the platform and jumped on. However, this was going West, not East and they ended up sleeping in the waiting room at Bristol Temple Meads waiting for the first one back the next morning. How I chuckled when I heard the story.
When I worked in Leeds, I had a shift pattern that included a 15.00-23.00 turn. There was just time to trot the five minutes from the office to Leeds station, to catch the last train up Airedale to Silsden (my park and ride station). As you can imagine, on Fridays and Saturdays, it was a nightmare. I was the only passenger who wasn't hammered.

One Saturday evening, I found myself sitting opposite a couple of fortysomething blokes. Halfway to Shipley, the first stop, we got talking. Turned out they thought they were heading for York. "This isn't the York train," I said. "Where's it going?" one of them asked, alarmed. "Skipton," I replied. "Shit," the other said. "We only came out for a couple of drinks - and we've got on the wrong bloody train." They baled out at Shipley. At that time of night, there wasn't a train in the Leeds direction. Goodness knows how they got from Shipley to York.
 

Tales From The Riverbank3

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A couple of examples of 'getting stuck in transit' however the following sticks in the memory.

20th August 2002 - Isthmian League Premier Division
Heybridge Swifts 0 v 2 Purfleet (Paul Linger x 2) - Prog 60 pages £1.50 - Admission £7.00 - Att. 170

One of those occasions when the journey home or lack of was much more memorable than a routine away win.

For an obscure reason thought that the KO was 19.30 which would have meant a dash back into Maldon town centre albeit up the steep hill that leads from the banks of the Blackwater up to the High Street. Wrong, KO was 19.45 there was an eternity of stoppage time meaning that I was a long way short of the last bus back to Chelmsford by the time it departed.

No idea why I did not spend a tenner on a taxi back to Witham or even spent a bigger amount locating a hotel/b&b, instead I phoned the then partner, soon to become wife and then in turn ex wife. The conversation went along these lines.

Me: I have missed the last bus from Maldon, can you jump in your car and come and rescue me. It should be added that C lived in Rainham twenty and a lot miles away.

C: No - Sound of land line being put back on receiver.

On the next occasion I called, she did not even pick up the phone. I did not attempt a third call.

Much as I like the creature comforts of own bed with duvet etc. a tranquil and warm August night in and around Maldon was almost idyllic walking around Promenade Park and a deserted town centre to the sound of night time birdlife. Even recaptured childhood days by having a go on the swings at 2.30 in the morning. Quick sustenance at the out of town supermarket and then the 05.45 bus back to Chelmsford which was extremely busy, train from Chelmsford and a bog standard day at w*rk.

The following evening, I met up with C to visit a friend of hers that was in hospital. The previous evenings events were never mentioned, though occasionally when the eyelids were getting heavy there was a shrill 'wake up!!' aimed in my direction.
 

Oxpete

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Train is way too expensive for me to get anywhere from Wilts. Only one Nat Express bus through Melksham, so options limited.

Over the past few years, I've made my journeys to Swansea from Swindon station. If booked early enough, I've found advance single tickets as cheap as £10 each way on GWR, which opens up a wide spread of the country for you.

When I do this, it means building in plenty of slack for the Oxford-Swindon bus, but I can happily waste away any spare time in the excellent Glue Pot pub near Swindon station.
 

Ropemaker

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Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I went many a time to games in Scotland and travelled back to London on the overnight train. Both for Saturday games and midweeks, though that train did eventually stop running on Saturday nights. I also travelled overnight on trains and buses whilst abroad during that time as well.

These days, like many previous posters, I do prefer creature comforts. Though when catching a flight at stupid o'clock in the morning which is too early to get to the airport using the first train that morning, I will sometimes get the last train the previous night to the airport and wait a few hours rather than staying in a hotel.
 

Westberkspalace

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time birdlife. Even recaptured childhood days by having a go on the swings at 2.30 in the morning. Quick sustenance at the out of town supermarket and then the 05.45 bus back to Chelmsford which was extremely busy, train from Chelmsford and a bog standard day at w*rk.

The following evening, I met up with C to visit a friend of hers that was in hospital. The previous evenings events were never mentioned, though occasionally when the eyelids were getting heavy there was a shrill 'wake up!!' aimed in my direction.
Errr ??? I didn't know you were a childhood swinger? 2.30 in the morning, why ?
 

Kirby Knitters

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Some beauties i did in the 80s saving on hotels.

21:24. Bristol TM - Glasgow Central.
22:45 Glasgow Central - Penzance.
00:05. Kings Cross - Edinburgh.
23:30 Glasgow QS - Inverness.
23:50 Inverness - Glasgow QS.
21:00 Euston - Stranraer.
22:00 Stranraer - Euston.
 

Kingsmere

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Maybe a new thread could be Why Groundhoppers Don't Win At Monopoly.
 

Loiner

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Some beauties i did in the 80s saving on hotels.

21:24. Bristol TM - Glasgow Central.
22:45 Glasgow Central - Penzance.
00:05. Kings Cross - Edinburgh.
23:30 Glasgow QS - Inverness.
23:50 Inverness - Glasgow QS.
21:00 Euston - Stranraer.
22:00 Stranraer - Euston.
In the swinging 60's we quite often used overnight trains to watch Leeds United at London grounds.
Friday 10-25pm Leeds - St Pancras.
Saturday Midnight St Pancras- Leeds.
Gave us time to pursue other interests and a pint or five.
 

Belushi

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Back in October 1969 my friend Barry had a plan. Catch a morning train to Euston from Coventry, have a few beers, watch Coventry beat Arsenal, have a few more beers, then catch the last train home.

Thanks to an Ernie Hunt goal everything went to plan. We caught the last train home but unfortunately fell asleep, not waking up until just before Birmingham New Street, just before midnight. The last train to Coventry had just left.

What to do? I was just sixteen (I looked older!). no mobile phone (obviously), and anyway, my parents didn't have a house phone. Luckily there was an all-night bus to Sheldon on the A45, from there we hitched a lift almost straight away back to Coventry, and I was home by 2.30.

Next morning my mum said, "You were home late last night". I replied "Sorry Mum, last train, bit delayed".

PS I wasn't a feral teenager. In those days people seemed to grow up more quickly, and you didn't need ID to get served in a pub.
 

Stoodley Pike

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Back in October 1969 my friend Barry had a plan. Catch a morning train to Euston from Coventry, have a few beers, watch Coventry beat Arsenal, have a few more beers, then catch the last train home.

Thanks to an Ernie Hunt goal everything went to plan. We caught the last train home but unfortunately fell asleep, not waking up until just before Birmingham New Street, just before midnight. The last train to Coventry had just left.

What to do? I was just sixteen (I looked older!). no mobile phone (obviously), and anyway, my parents didn't have a house phone. Luckily there was an all-night bus to Sheldon on the A45, from there we hitched a lift almost straight away back to Coventry, and I was home by 2.30.

Next morning my mum said, "You were home late last night". I replied "Sorry Mum, last train, bit delayed".

PS I wasn't a feral teenager. In those days people seemed to grow up more quickly, and you didn't need ID to get served in a pub.
Reminds me of a Saturday rail trip I had, with a school friend, to Nottingham. We'd be about 14. Somehow, fannying about, we managed to miss the departure from Nottingham that would've got us back to Huddersfield in time to catch the last bus home. Which meant, for me, a five-mile walk, up hill and down dale, from Huddersfield. Never occurred, at any point, to ring home (again, long before mobiles). I remember walking along our road, about half-one in the morning, to discover, with a gulp, virtually every light in our house was on. I got a right bollocking and was grounded for a month. Happy days.
 

Kirby Knitters

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Boarded a train at Edinburgh with a mate after a game at Hearts to head back to Glasgow and awoke back in Edinburgh having fallen asleep. We were both the worse for wear with no idea of the time and to this day are not sure if we did the trip on more than one occasion but made the last train south not having time for a swifty before doing so.
 

Digdagdog

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Over the past few years, I've made my journeys to Swansea from Swindon station. If booked early enough, I've found advance single tickets as cheap as £10 each way on GWR, which opens up a wide spread of the country for you.

When I do this, it means building in plenty of slack for the Oxford-Swindon bus, but I can happily waste away any spare time in the excellent Glue Pot pub near Swindon station.
I agree but that means some serious advance planning. A good trick I've found is that I can book (well in advance) a ticket to Ealing Broadway for £8.50 from Chippenham (single and change at Reading onto stopper)) and then onto the District/Central and likewise coming home. Fare to Paddington would be £26 single (direct). So that's £17 versus £52.
I did this when I went to Spurs in 2019 for a Sunday friendly against Atalanta (second game at the new ground); except that there were limited slow line trains so I had to (theoretically) go to Padders and then back out to EB...of course didn't... and same on return.
Big other problem for me is then parking at Chippenham unless I can get Mrs Dog to pick me up, or else one of my ungrateful children
 

The vulture

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I agree but that means some serious advance planning. A good trick I've found is that I can book (well in advance) a ticket to Ealing Broadway for £8.50 from Chippenham (single and change at Reading onto stopper)) and then onto the District/Central and likewise coming home. Fare to Paddington would be £26 single (direct). So that's £17 versus £52.
I did this when I went to Spurs in 2019 for a Sunday friendly against Atalanta (second game at the new ground); except that there were limited slow line trains so I had to (theoretically) go to Padders and then back out to EB...of course didn't... and same on return.
Big other problem for me is then parking at Chippenham unless I can get Mrs Dog to pick me up, or else one of my ungrateful children
Plentiful free parking a few minutes walk from Chippenham station, can advise you if required.
 
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