I believe that at some point in the past decade I was bitten by a wanderlust bug and traveling became the top 1 thing on my daily list of things to do. After traveling the 50 states, I decided to go back to some of them and…explore some more! But yes, I know how much money goes into hitting the road, so on today’s post I’m gonna share with you one of my secrets to travel the world without breaking the bank! If you follow me on Instagram, in the past weeks you might have seen my best moments in Seattle, one of my favorite cities in the U.S. But just like any other major city, accommodations can be way more expensive than you expect and this is the one thing that can increase your travel budget and keep you from actually going out and exploring the world. So for that and other great reasons, I try to and recommend staying in hostels!
And if you follow my adventures you know that I always try to book a stay in one of the many Hostelling International Hostels, they have locations in all my favorite U.S. destinations (including NYC!). Their hostels are usually the nicest ones, clean, organized and with great facilities. So this time wasn’t different, we stayed at the American Hotel, which is actually a hostelling international hostel. And it was love at first sight: we checked-in SUUUUPER late because I missed my connection flight in Chicago and they were super nice about it and very helpful, even at 3 in the morning! So I wanted to share all the details of our stay in Seattle here on the blog as well, you know, just in case you have missed my awesome instagram stories! And if you want to book a room in any of the amazing HI hostels, make sure to check their website HERE!
Since some of you have asked me on my instagram about hostels, I decided to write more about the reasons why I try to stay in hostels when I travel. And believe me, it goes beyond the price! Yes, hostels are usually cheaper than hotels, so if you wanna save money, make sure to check the hostels available in the area you are traveling to. But here are the…
7 reasons to stay in hostels… #whywehostel
Yes, this is something you will see in many hostels and HI (Hostelling International) usually offers free or very affordable activities for guests. It varies from small parties (BBQ, movie, ice cream nights!) to free walking tours! I always try to join one of them to get a better chance to meet new people and learn new things and this time wasn’t different. We did the free walking tour in Downtown Seattle, which was about 90 minutes long and I had a great time! Our tour guide was awesome and I learned so much in less than two hours than I would have learned on my own. Try to join some type of walking tour on your first days, it will give you a different perspective of the place you’re visiting and it will enhance your experience a lot more! And I snapped a pic of the end of our tour with the guys! They were from Panama, LA, England and Russia! It was great meeting you all!
This is one of the best things about staying in hostels: they welcome people from all over the world, with all budgets, backgrounds and personalities, which also means: they always have something cool and different to recommend when you ask for tips! When I stay in hostels I confess that I get a bit lazy and don’t even plan the trip with so many details because I know the minute I ask a front desk person for tips, I will leave some of my notes behind and follow whatever their “local point of view” is recommending. And they are always right and I end up doing something even better! You can also always check the HI Free For All page, where past travelers share the best free things to do in major cities accrodd the US that aren’t obvious, but real hidden gems!
When traveling it helps a lot when we have access to things that make our lives easier. And usually hostels offer some of them, so when booking a stay I always recommend checking the facilities that are included. At the HI Seattle Hostel we had everything we could wish for: Computers, printer, laundry machines, lockers, TV room, 24 hour kitchen (free breakfast!), even a small library with many board games! And you can’t forget: free wi-fi! There were also many restaurants in the area and an amazing asian market with all types of delicious food!
It’s not a rule for all of them, but many hostels usually offer free breakfast. Some are more on the make-your-own-pancake style and others go beyond and include differents kinds of breads, spreads, oatmeal, cereals, juices and fresh fruits. Which, lucky me, was the case for our HI Seattle hostel!
5-Private and shared rooms
Yes, some hostels offer private rooms as well. When traveling by myself or with friends, I usually stay in shared female bedrooms. And no, I don’t mind at all. At the beginning (I believe it was during my first backpack trip in Europe in 2009) I was a bit concerned, with many “what if someone steals my camera? What if someone snores too loud? What if, what if….” and honestly, I never had a problem. Hostels are actually pretty safe and if you have valuable items, you can use a locker or in some cases, there are hostels that will have a safe available at the front desk as well. I also never had a problem with loud guests or something like that, most hostels have quiet hours and their own rules to avoid unpleasant experiences for everyone. But if you are a light sleeper, you can always use an ear plug and/or an eye mask or try to book a bed in a room with less people. When I travel with my mom, I try to stay in private rooms, for bunk bed reasons, she prefers the bottom one and sometimes they aren’t available, so by booking a private one I can guarantee she gets the bed she wants. The picture below was taken in our private room at HI Seattle Hostel!
Hostels are usually located in strategic places. People from all over the world – with little or great english knowledge – stay in hostels, so the easier to get there, the better it is. And this was the case for our hostel in Seattle as well. The hostel was located in Seattle’s Chinatown, close to all public transportation and walking distance to major Seattle’a attractions such as the Pioneer Square, home of the Underground Tour; Pike’s Place Market; the iconic gum wall; sports stadiums such as Safeco Field, Qwest Field and Seattle Sounders FC; the Seattle Center and the Space Needle tower. And you can’t forget the Waterfront, one of my favorite places to end the day! The hostel also has an instagram account so you can see what they are doing in real time: @hiusa_seattle and if you wanna see what other hostels await for you in the USA, check their instagram @hiusa here!
7-Meet new people and make friends for a life time!
Solo traveler or not, one of the best things about traveling is the chance we get to meet new people. When staying in a hostel, chances are so much higher that you will not only meet new people but find great adventure partners and make friends from all over the world. During our last stay at the HI Seattle I got to talk to many people during breakfast and I even bumped into 3 Brazilians! One of them is Gean, she is traveling the world on her motorcycle and we spent hours talking about the places she is headed to and the ones she visited. It was so much fun! She also created a fanpage to share her experiences, click HERE to follow her adventures!
Another thing I learned is that 2017 is designated by the UN as the Year of Sustainable Tourism Development! So HI USA has a page all dedicated to how we can travel and leave a positive print on the planet while having the best time of our lives! I loooved it and the tips are great, many hostels are doing incredible things and I highly recommend you checking it out! You can learn more here!
Another tip? Always keep an open mind, staying in a hostel is an experience that changes you in so many ways and I’m excited to share my future stays with you! Thank you so much Hostelling International for the invitation and awesome experience! I can’t wait to come back! I hope you guys like it and don’t forget to follow me on instagram @marthasachser and @blognyandabout for more NY tips adventures in the city! Ah! The HI Seattle is located at 520 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104, close to this beautiful Chinatown gate! For more information click HERE to visit their website! See you next time!