As I briefly mentioned in my earlier post, I’m not a fan of backpacking or staying in youth hostels. I have lots of friends who swear by the experience, but they’re just not for me, and you shouldn’t feel like they’re your only option when traveling by yourself either! I choose not to backpack because I’m the queen of overpacking and the thought of having to lug everything around on my back when extremely useful four wheeled suitcases were invented for a reason makes me break out in a cold sweat. I have a bit more thought behind my decision to avoid youth hostels, however, the reasoning for which includes:
- Safety. I’m a young woman traveling alone, and I don’t always feel safe in hostel environments. While you can get all-female rooms, the stress that comes with sharing a room with strangers, not having your own space for your stuff, and having to constantly worry about all of your possessions creates a stress that just isn’t outweighed by the cheaper accommodation.
- Shared bathrooms. I know this is a minor thing, and it’s mainly me being a spoilt brat, but when I’m on holiday I don’t want to have to worry about who was doing what in the flimsy shower stall with bad water pressure before I got there. Having your own bathroom means no nasty surprises, and a comfort which makes the larger price tag worth it.
- Location. While a lot of cities do have very centrally located youth hostels (especially in a city like Sydney!), others (like LA), not so much. I know that no accommodation is ever going to be perfectly located to every single thing you want to see, but I like the freedom that staying in hotels gives me to be able to choose exactly which area I want to stay in. For instance, on my current trip to LA, one of the only well-rated youth hostels I could find was in Hollywood, while I wanted to spend most of my time at Universal Studios. It’s not a huge distance, but it would have involved walking and metro fares every day. By picking a hotel within walking distance of the theme park, I not only saved myself time, but also saved myself the cost of public transport or ubers back and forth.
Some people travel for adventure, but as an anxious person who likes my creature comforts, the kind of adventure that comes with backpacking and hostel hopping is not for me. I’d rather save for a little bit longer and spend that extra money on a comfortable trip than head out straight away and be stuck in a bottom bunk with people who come back into the room at 2am for my whole holiday.
In a future post, I’ll share some of the ways I choose my hotels, and how I often manage to stay for prices not too much crazier than a hostel listing.