Hostel Hopping 101 + A Few Faves

Hostel hopping is a great way to travel affordably and make new friends. Especially for solo travelers like myself. I’ve been traveling for the past ten months and have stayed almost exclusively in hostels. More than seventy percent of hostel travelers are millennials. The Hostel Trend Report revealed that the hostel industry is experiencing a growth surge thanks to millennial travelers, ages 18-35. On average, the hostel traveler spends more annually on travel. Because they get more value for their money they also tend to travel more often. This demographic prioritizes social interactions, shared experiences and says YAS to new friends!
New-Friends-Bangkok-Thailand
A few new friends and I watching the sunset from a Sky Bar in Bangkok.
Unlike the hostels of yesteryear, where dorms and bunk beds were the only options. Today 9 out of 10 hostels offer private rooms. The standard hostel offers free wifi, free food or snacks, and daily cleaning services. While luxury hostels have on-site restaurants, rooftop bars, and swimming pools. I’ve stayed in hostels in Miami, New York and all over Asia and I must say, I’m impressed. From pods and private rooms to containers, there is something for everyone and every budget. But before you head to hostel booking sites like Hostelworld or Agoda and book the accommodations for your next trip. Let me spill the tea on picking the perfect place, the do’s and don’t of co-living and shout out a few of my favorites.

How to Pick the Perfect Hostel

1. Location. Location. Location. Figure out what you want to do and find a hostel in a central location. If you want to see ALL the sights pick a place close to public transportation. That way you can move around the city easily without paying a grip for uber or taxis.

2. Make sure your needs are met. Do you need wifi and a workspace? What about lockers and hot showers? Make sure the place you choose provides what you need. Some hostels provide meals and a social calendar. Others have late check-out and early check-in options. Contact the places you’re interested in before you book and ask if they can sweeten the deal.

3. Read the reviews. I’ll admit, I’m obsessive when it comes to reading reviews. I could read them for hours…and sometimes I do! I know that I can’t base my potential experience on someone else’s. But if all of the most recent reviews report that the hostel was dirty or the wifi was slow. I know it’s not going to be a good fit for me. One feature that Agoda has is filtering the reviews by type of traveler. So if you’re traveling with a group, you can read the feedback of other groups.

Agoda-Review-Filter

The Co-Living Rules of Conduct

When staying in a shared dorm at a hostel, you’re technically co-living. For the last ten months, I’ve been living in hostels and have met some interesting people. Some of them have stayed in hostels and others have acted like they’ve never shared a space with another breathing being before. Here are a few tips, rules and reminders for anyone planning to stay in a hostel.
1. No sex in a shared room. No one wants to hear or watch you have sex with yourself or anyone else. If you need to get off, get a private room. The reason why shared dorms are so cheap is because there’s zero privacy. Trust me, no one wants to be a third wheel during your private time.
2. No outside guests. This is not your apartment or your room. This is OUR room. How do I know your friend’s not a klepto? Imagine there’s a “Keep Out” sign on the door for anyone who isn’t paying to stay in the room. However, feel free to invite your guest to the communal spaces like the lounge or outdoor area.
3. Turn your phone on silent. We don’t all have to catch a flight at 7 AM, so we shouldn’t all have to wake up for it. If your phone is on silent, it will vibrate when the alarm goes off.
4. Pack the night before. No one wants to be rushed in the morning. Most importantly, no one wants to be woken up in the morning especially if they’re on holiday. Pack your bags at night so that you can leave quickly and quietly in the morning.
5. Cover up. We get it, you’re comfortable with your body. But your nakedness is making me uncomfortable. Please put some clothes on.
6. Clean up. Another reason hostels are so affordable is because guests are expected to clean up after themselves. There is neither a mom nor maid here. Wash your own dishes and don’t leave your stuff all over the room. Also, wash yourself and your clothes. No one likes a smelly room or a smelly roommate.
7. Use Headphones. I know that episode of Friends is hilarious because I’ve already seen it. I don’t want to listen to it again. I also don’t want to listen to your pop/rock/rap music in the common area. Please use headphones in shared living spaces.
8. Keep your hands to yourself. Please don’t touch me or my things without my permission. Thanks!
9. Your bed is your bed, my bed is my bed. I understand that you’re drunk/horny/confused but please stay in your bed unless otherwise invited. That means you can’t sit on my bed and talk to me or crawl in for a late night snuggle.
10. Keep pungent smells out of the room. This includes nail polish remover, perfume and bug spray. Some people are very sensitive to smell, so these items could cause headaches or even sickness. At the very least, ask your bunkmates if it’s okay to use these items in the room.
11. Late at night use your phone light. If you’re checking in late or coming in from a night out, be respectful of your bunkmates. Instead of turning on the room light, use the light on your phone to get yourself ready for bed.

A Few of my Favorite Hostels

Bangkok

Hom-Hostel-Rooftop-Garden-BangkokFeelin’ myself in Hom‘s Rooftop Garden.
Hom Hostel & Cooking Club is literally my home away from home. Not only is it centrally located in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Area.  There’s free wifi, lockers, hot showers, comfy beds, and breakfast daily until 11 AM. It sits on the fourth floor of a mall. So anything you want or need is just an elevator ride away. Including a Thai Massage and Starbucks. What makes Hom Hostel & Cooking Club unique is the way guests connect over food. A professional chef comes daily to prepare what will be made for breakfast the next day. As well as cook a traditional Thai snack or dessert for guests to try. There’s an open concept kitchen where guests can cook and connect over their favorite recipes from home. Or try a new one from the plethora of recipe books on hand. Guests can also sign up for a private cooking class where they will learn to cook three Thai dishes of their choice. Although this hostel is in the middle of the action, this is not a party place. There are only six rooms total with shared dorms starting at $15 and private rooms starting at $64 per night.
Twin-Bed-Private-Room-Chao-Hostel
A look at the twin bed private room at Chao Hostel.
Chao Hostel is a high-end boutique hostel hidden inside the five-star Siam@Siam Design Hotel.
Want to shop till you drop? Chao Hostel is the perfect place for you. Walking distance from the biggest electronic mall in Bangkok, MBK where you can upgrade or unlock your smartphone. Prefer designer duds? Siam Paragon is also walking distance. Head to the Bangkok Art and Culture Center to view one of their ever-changing exhibits. The Jim Thompson House is just two blocks away from the hostel and just a stone’s throw away from National Stadium if you are in town for a football game or concert. If you’ve been dreaming of having cocktails atop one of Bangkok’s famous sky bars, you won’t have to walk far. Siam@Siam Design Hotel has a beautiful sky bar and delicious restaurant. Everything you need and anything you want is within walking distance of Chao Hostel.
Rooftop-Bar-Cocktails-Bangkok-ThailandDrinks with a view.
The Entertainment Room not only has a huge TV, computers, and books. There’s a pool table! The male and female dorm rooms are separate. However, there is an ensuite which is uncommon for dorms. Also uncommon, the beds. Instead of bunks each bed is raised and has ample storage under it. The dorms are $19 per night and private rooms start at $55.
The-Printing-House-Postel-Bangkok
Flexin’ at The Printing House Postel Bangkok‘s rooftop bar.
If you want to be near some of the most popular tourist areas including the Grand Palace and Khao San Road, The Printing House Postel Bangkok is the perfect place. Believed to be the first printing house in Bangkok, The Printing House Poshtel is located in a typical, Thai shophouse built in the early 1940s. The building’s six stories were initially used as a printing shop that published various textbooks, on subjects from religion to English grammar, for Thai educational institutions for decades. Offering everything from dorm rooms for the budget traveler to private and family rooms. This is the perfect place for the person who wants to explore. The Printing House Postel Bangkok feels more like a hotel than a hostel with its rooftop views of the city and private bathrooms in most rooms. Prices range from $20 for dorms up to $100 for private rooms.

Miami

Wynnwood-Walls-Miami-FloridaWhy blend in when you were born to stand out?

If you’re looking for a party hostel in Miami Beach, look no further than Sobe-Hostel & Bar. This small but mighty hostel has events every night. Ranging from video gaming to partying at some of the most LIT clubs in the area. Don’t worry about being left behind, the staff walks down the halls letting you know when they’re heading out. If the club scene is not your thing, there’s a bar on-site and every guest gets a free drink upon check-in. There’s also free breakfast and dinner daily and a washer and dryer. So you’ll stay well fed and dressed to impress. My favorite thing about staying at Sobe-Hostel & Bar was its proximity to Nikki Beach, the club, and the actual beach. I was at the latter almost daily, tanning my cheeks! My last tip, don’t sleep on the little Peruvian spot directly next door. I had the most delicious poke bowl of my entire life there.

Rock Hostel is the sister hostel to Sobe, I decided to stay at both. One major perk is that both places share a free airport shuttle. But that’s almost all that they share. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed them both for different reasons. Rock Hostel had a vibe that was a little more mature and laid back. There was a bar, restaurant, beats bumping throughout the day and it was just steps away from South Beach. But for some reason, I was able to get a little more work done there, while all I wanted to do at Sobe was turnup! The decor stays true to the name with paintings of rock gods spanning the corridors. If you stay at Rock Hostel you’re automatically invited to all the same clubs and events that guests at Sobe are attending. However, you get to stay in a room that’s double the size and has a private bathroom, lockers, cubbies, lockbox, and small kitchen area.

New York 

The-Local-Hostel-NYC-Pop-ArtPop art that stole my heart.

Finding an affordable place to stay in New York City under any circumstance is almost impossible. But I was there for Fashion Week, which meant the prices were astronomical. I lucked out by finding The Local. Ok, so Queens isn’t exactly central but the subway system in NYC is a dream! So I was never more than thirty minutes away from where I needed to be. My time was tied up going from show to presentation to show. So I didn’t really get to check out the local scene. I did have a few beers at the bar and get LOTS of work done in the co-working space. I really dug the hipster vibe and the bold and bright art on the walls. I did overhear The Wedding Singer being played on the projector and it took all the power in me to continue styling. Another thing I loved about The Local was their helpful staff. They provide a map of the area with directions to the Subway and local restaurants. The map even had closing times to give you a better idea if it was worth the walk. There was also a binder full of places that delivered. But the most delicious thing I ate while in NYC was BBQ from John Brown Smokehouse which is just a few blocks away from the hostel.

A special thanks to  Sobe-Hostel & Bar,  The Printing House Postel Bangkok, Chao Hostel and Hom Hostel & Cooking Club for hosting me. As always, all opinions are my own.

Hostel-Hopping-Tips-and-Tricks

4 thoughts

    1. So true!! I wish every guest at the hostel that’s I’m at currently could read this post. It would my life and the job of the staff 100 times easier!

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