Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

27 September 2007

How to Leverage a Hostel Stay During a Business Trip

When this entry was posted on Adrants, Steve saw fit to give it a preamble. I'm just mentioning it (yeah, preluding the prelude) so you don't wonder why I'm referring to myself in the third-person - in italics, no less.

Believe it our not, everyone that writes for Adrants does not, contrary to popular belief, live in New York. So revel, herewith, in the story of Angela as she masters the art of traveling on an Adrants budget as opposed to an Advertising Age budget which, for Adrants readers, is a very good thing.

After all, do you want the highly-edited, overly-tame version of Advertising Week - or do you want the gritty reality of life in the big city as seen by someone like you: People without huge expense budgets who go from glitzy hotel to cab to advertising conference and back again without reveling in everything New York has to offer? Read on

You never know when you'll need the skills necessary to support your survival (and cool factor) if you happen to find yourself at a youth hostel during Advertising Week on a (trendy) Bohemian budget. And after three days doing it, I'm a PhD. Read on to glean the fruits of my loving labors:

1. Buy a map. This serves two purposes: locating all the 1 Line stations in Manhattan, and all the shot-in-the-dark buildings the Advertising Week people chose for the seminars (couldn't one location have done the job?).

If colleagues ask why you never take a cab home, say nonchalantly that you know the Subway like the veins on the back of your writing hand. They'll be impressed. Or at least they'll look like they are.

2. Debate, fairly seriously, the merits of leaving the hostel in one set of clothes and changing into another at the conference. You feel like an jerk frequenting a hostel in your working pinstripe. It's probably the only time in your life you'll feel excruciating lust for a pair of flip-flops and a wife beater. Besides college.

3. Actually pretend to be a starry-eyed tourist when hostel-mates catch you taking pictures of ads or bringing home Anheuser-Busch paraphernalia. The problem with hostels is all your neighbors want to talk to you. What are you going to do, ignore them? That's not an option when you share living quarters or a loo.

4. Invent a reason (besides Advertising Week) for being there. Being an ad guy - even a blogging ad guy - is not exactly sexy amongst youth traveling-kind, particularly if they're from Socialist countries or still in college.

People usually invent a reason for you, so this isn't such a big deal: "You're on vacation? How nice." Yeah, if by vacation you mean distilling the social importance of the Green Giant.

5. If you smoke, carry both rolled cigarettes and ready-mades. You'll look trendier if you roll cigs at a youth hostel, but you'll look like a fringe pot dealer if you carry the habit back to Advertising Week. (Be extra cool: bring Parliaments* to the ad parties. This shows you're fringey in a "cultured" way.)

6. Consider foregoing the extra suit in your luggage for spare towels (trust me).

7. Get up at six. This provides you with two-for-one perks: you'll awe colleagues with your fresh-faced early appearances, and you beat your hostelmates to the shower. The early bird doesn't just get the worm; it gets the hot water too.

It's worth noting that staying at a youth hostel has plenty of merits, besides the fact that you'll save $700/night that probably would have gone to a Doubletree. The bonuses are listed below:
  • They sometimes have $1 beers.
  • They enable you to slip out of working-mode once you've left the frenetic world of Advertising Week and Times Square.
  • They have wall clocks that tell the time all over the world. I cannot describe the social dividends you rack up when you're able to recount, off the top of your head, what time it is in London for the homesick Saatchi & Saatchi guy. You will look like a genius.

*I'm actually a little confused about the significance of Parliaments as a trendy social tool, but from experience I know its power can't be denied. My best guess is that it vaguely associates the user with being Soviet.

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