If you’re looking for inexpensive accommodations on the road, especially in big cities, add hostels to your list of options. These are not your father’s youth hostels, the ones I stayed in when I was barely out of teenager-hood.
Think rooftop yoga, cocktails in a palm-shaded courtyard, and clean beds in Manhattan for $50 a night. Those are all perks you’ll find in some hostels around the world. The days of backpackers sharing big rooms and bathrooms down the hall are over in most cases. And while there is still that option at some hostels, many are more like inexpensive hotels but with benefits.
One of the biggest benefits, says the CEO of Hostelling International, Russ Hedge, is that today’s hostels are a great way to plug quickly into a place. Hostelling International—with about 50 hostels in the US—is committed to encouraging cross-cultural experiences. Hostels today are mostly well designed, very clean, and many have kitchens that can save a traveling family (or anyone else) money by providing a venue for home-style meals.
America is coming late to hostels, but major investors are making plans to roll out sophisticated offerings in the next couple of years.
And that’s to the good.