Hostels have a reputation for attracting budget backpackers on gap year looking to have one last hoorah before heading into “the real world.” While I’d argue each hostel has its own unique personality, I understand what my late 20s-30s friends mean when they say they feel too old for the hostel scene.
There are many party hostels out there and properties with a more cliquey clientele that I enjoyed at the age of 21 that I wouldn’t love as much at the age of 27. While at one time my main focuses on the road were extreme budget travel and having wild nights I most likely wouldn’t remember, today I’m more of a moderate-budget-I need-my-space-and-privacy kind of traveler. That being said, I still love hostels and make use of them when on the road. Even for older travelers, couples and backpackers wanting some peace hostels can be a viable option. Here’s how:
1. Private Rooms
While at one time dorms were the standard, today it’s very common to find hostels offering private single and double rooms. Sure, you’ll pay a little more for a private room than a dorm; however, you’ll most likely still spend less than you would on a hotel or apartment rental. The great thing about booking a private hostel room is you’ll have your privacy and won’t have to worry about dormmates rifling through your belongings while still enjoying the budget and social benefits of hostelling.
2. Analyze Offerings
HostelBookers is great for laying out exactly what’s available, what’s included in the price and what’s a purchasable extra for each hostel. Look carefully at these offerings when making a decision on where to book. For example, while having an onsite bar and club venue may sound convenient, there’s a good chance the property will attract a more rambunctious clientele. Peruse property listings and look for amenities and offerings you would want to take advantage of yourself, like a garden, game room, book exchange or communal kitchen. Also make sure to read reviews, as seeing what previous guests had to say about the atmosphere of a hostel can be a good indicator of what to expect.
3. Luxury Hostels
As stated above, not all hostels are alike, as each has its own unique personality. In fact, there are a number of hostels that could be considered luxurious, even by travelers who don’t typically use this type of accommodation. For example, Seven Hostel in Sorrento, Italy, offers trendy decor, a rooftop terrace with plush white couches and Gulf of Naples views, satellite television, an al fresco solarium and a concierge for travel bookings. There’s also The Green Saman in Cali, Colombia, featuring a spa, yoga center, swimming pool, sauna, dance and cooking classes, upscale meals, language courses, a healthy restaurant and more. While properties like these offer opulent settings and amenities, they’re still budget friendly and allow for socializing and a more laid-back atmosphere.
4. Do Half-And-Half
Unless you’re rich, it’s almost impossible to travel long-term and just stay in hotels. If you’re really not into the hostel thing, think about compromising and doing half-and-half. Split you’re time between budget hostels and budget hotels, and if you’re up for it, throw in a bit of CouchSurfing — a service that allows you to stay on local’s couches for free — to balance your spending.
5. Opt For Peace Over Party
There are many hostels that have more of an earthy vibe where things feel calmer and more relaxed. Look for hostels with gardens, yoga, meditation, farm-to-fork dining, outdoor lounge areas, mountain views, countryside settings and other offerings that attract peace and quiet. You’ll barely notice you’re in a hostel.
For travelers who feel “over” the party hostel thing, how do you choose properties that fit your needs? Any tips for finding accommodation on a budget? Please share in the comments below.