UPDATE: I wrote everything below was before I stayed at my current hotel (HOTEL, not hostel) in Cairns. Having checked in here, I’m not saying I’ll never do hostels again but I’m platinum status at this here IHG hotel and they rolled out the entire red carpet for me. Soooooooo hostels still have a place in my heart when I wanna be cheap and rough it a bit but yeah, I’m #TeamHotel at this moment. Now that being said, about hostels…

Commonly I’m asked about being able to afford frequent travel. There are lots of ways to manage that. Like, I pay for as much as is logical with points or miles. Also, what others may spend on designer clothes or shoes, I spend on plane tickets. And I solo travel.

Solo travel means I could end up spending more since I have no one to split lodging or Ubers with. But what it means for me is that I can opt to stay in hostels.Most’a y’all ain’t staying in hostels so when I’m  traveling with other humans, I gotta stay in real human lodging and spend real adult money. Alone, I can forego some comfort and privacy if it’ll mean I can put that extra $100 saved towards Breakfast with Koalas. Yes, that’s a real thing I intend to do in a few days.

So first things first, get Eli Roth’s 2005 horror masterpiece out of your head. Hostels aren’t anything like Hostel. Well, I can’t speak for Eastern Europe actually because I’ve not stayed in a Slovakian hostel. Yet. Umm, I may not ever actually. I love BOTH of my Achilles tendons, thank you. …. Maybe I should the movie out of my head.

Anyway, this is view from my current hostel in Sydney, Australia. See how bright it is. I have no doubt I’ll walk out with all the internal organs I came in here with.


Back on topic: hostels are cheap. That’s their main appeal for me. Rarely, I also love feeling like I’m living the whole backpacking, winging it, type culture. But primarily, the cost is the appeal. Cheapest so far has been about $6/night in a 4-bed room in Edinburgh, Scotland. All female. For other hostelers, the appeal may be to meet people, share experiences, blah blah blah. Nah, bruh. I don’t need new friends. I’m [way] older than alla yall up in here. I put up with your 20-year-old musings because I can rest my head here for the price of my grande caramel macchiato. I’m not tryna help you find yourself though.

I promise I really like people though *insert crying laughing face*.

I’m in my 30s now so I have rules about hostels. Wanna here ’em, here they go:

  • If I’m gonna dorm it, no more than 8 beds in the room and must be an all female room.
  • My preference though is a single room with one bed in it for just me. Yes, those exist and are common even but they cost more. Think $60ish a night for a single room in a hostel where dorm beds are like $18/night.
  • Clean. Modern preferred. This is not always available and after this current series of stays as I’ve hopped through San Francisco, Syndey and Auckland, I’m done with shared bathrooms. I can’t deal with other people’s hair primarily. Like, why wouldn’t you clean that out of the sink??? How can I put this gently and as non-prejudicely as possible….other “types” of people don’t have the same cleanliness requirements my people have. Eating straight off of tables, eating off other people’s forks, taking showers barefoot in strange bathrooms. I don’t understand ANY of that. I’ll pass.
  • Free wifi required.
  • Centrally located required.
  • Free breakfast is usually standard nowadays so anything less and I’m probably booking the next place.
  • No more than two to three nights stay. I cannot share my real-life space with other humans for much longer than that. Much less in a shared room with people who ain’t even old enough to rent a car yet.

Take a look at a couple walk-throughs I did at my most recent hostels. This is the good and the bad of hostel life from the perspective of a 30-something. I do recommend trying a hostel JUST ONCE if you can and you haven’t. They can be fun. But you will absolutely live if you never do it.

A relatively nice hostel, the HI San Francisco at Fisherman’s Wharf

And this place was terribly, Amsterdam Hostel in San Francisco. OMG. Just no. I tried to stay positive but once some ate my DUCK FRIED RICE out of the fridge using MY fork, I was done.

More hostel photos. The good and the bad…

HI San Francisco at Fort Mason used to be Army barracks.
It’s basically a dorm. Return to college anyone?
Common spaces.
When your roommate gets up at 7am and turns the entire light on. Ma’am.
Literal roommates. $20 bucks a night though. In expensive-behind San Francisco.