(Chill zone at Moustache Hostel in Pushkar, India)
Don’t you ever wonder what it was like to live in a 1960’s hippie commune?
You know lounging around with dirty transients, playing groovy music, getting high and partaking in Free Love.
All that’s DONE AND CANCELLED, right?
Wrong: start traveling the world and check into a hostel. It’s not just for young hippies and stoners. You will find all ages of hippies and stoners — plus digital nomads, bikers, bloggers, hikers, ravers, couples and even some (hippie) families.
“MEET THE WORLD” is the tagline of HostelWorld.com, which is the best tagline ever written, as that’s exactly what you can do in hostels.
Meanwhile, I’ve found it hard to meet anybody staying in hotels, apart from the staff. Everyone else seems to be confined to their own unit as a family, couple, or group and not open to strangers.
Hostels offer communal living and cooking spaces, plus roommates and activities to enjoy; while hotels just give you a box to occupy — another Gilded Cage like your box at home, at work, or in your car.
The best hostels are run by groovy characters who don’t really care about profits, they just want to provide a space for travelers to connect and chill. The average price for a hostel dorm bed is $5 to $10, or a private room for $25 to $30 per-night.
Yes there are pitfalls of staying in hostel dorms. You will hear the loudest snoring and smell the worst deodorant smells since middle school. But have a few beers before bed, get some earplugs and a sleep mask, and you’ll be fine.
Most hotels are run by giant, soulless corporations who want to suck you dry. The average rate for a hotel room worldwide is $120 and on top of that they’ll charge up the ass for parking, meals, and even water.
So you can spend two weeks in a hostel for the price of one night in a basic hotel. And I’d rather support independent hostel owners (or AirBNBs) who create a unique environment with art, architecture, and atmosphere; rather than the Paris Hiltons of the world.
If you wanna party like Paris, go for it. But why get a hotel then pay for cabs to the bars to meet people? It’s all in one place in a hostel like Pappi Chulo in Goa, India.
Roll up to Pappi on your bike, hit their bar, pick up a passenger and go party at Larive Nightclub, just down the street. The bar at Pappi is open sometimes until 6 a.m. and run by an American woman named Angela. She’ll take care of you, even if you come home tripping acid in the middle of the morning. Trust me ; )
Okay, I try not to write negative things on here, but I make exception for That Crazy Hostel — THE WORST HOSTEL IN GOA. That Crazy Hostel is worse than the hostel in the movie “Hostel.” The bathrooms are so rancid they make you wish you were in a Turkish Prison Cell. I don’t have a picture but if I did, you would puke.
And the hostel owner has a penchant for coming back in the middle of the morning, barging into the dorms shouting “Shots!” and then ordering his bartender to “Play Mambo No. 5 as loud as the speakers will go!”
Of course you can’t appreciate the best hostels, until you’ve been to the worst.
My current location: Hostel Chale Mineiro in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I found it on HostelWorld.com at a price of $9 per-night with breakfast included. And I have the whole dorm to myself, because there’s no other international travelers here.
That’s all for now, kids. See you on the dusty trail.