Q&A: Favorite Hostels for Female Solo Travelers
It's come to my attention that there are some MAJOR misconceptions out there about hostels, especially for female solo travelers!
I've stayed in probably 50-60 hostels in my life so far, and most of them as a solo traveler. I LOVE and highly recommend hostels for female solo travelers! That's why this week's Q&A for FSTs on Instagram was:
What's your favorite hostel you've stayed in as a solo traveler, and why?
Scroll down to read the answers from eight solo-traveling women. Or, read on for the top three reasons hostels are so great for FSTs, and a few factors to consider when choosing one:
#1. They're the single best way to meet people.
If you're looking forward to meeting and connecting with other travelers from around the world, staying in a hostel is the #1 way to do it! They're designed for this, with features like dorm-style rooms, comfy common areas, and optional group activities like meals, tours, classes, and hikes. If you just sit in the common room of a social hostel, friends will often come to you!
#2. They're affordable.
I've stayed in hostels for as little as $3 a night for a dorm bed. On the other hand, some of the new, fancy boutique ones cost as much as $70 a night for a dorm bed—and there are plenty of options in between. You can always find a hostel to fit your budget, whether it's big or small.
#3. They're not like you think.
Trust me. A lot of women imagine hostels to be way different in their heads than they actually are. YES, there are gross hostels—there are also gross hotels, gross AirBnbs, gross apartments for rent. You have to do your research and choose well! But the hostels I've stayed in are, on the whole, well-maintained and clean.
No, you don't have to bring your own linens (they provide them and they're washed between every guest, just like in a hotel), and no, the showers aren't one big, shared space, locker-room style! (Some rumors/misconceptions I've heard floating around!) If you've never tried staying in a hostel before, you can't judge them. Book a night and see for yourself why travelers (solo and otherwise) love them!
When choosing a hostel, here are a few things to consider:
ATMOSPHERE. Do you want a party hostel with 25 beds to a dorm, where there's a bar instead of a common-room lounge, and where you'll have no trouble finding other travelers who want to go out and have a good time? 🍻There are plenty of these out there, and they're really fun! Not recommended for early-to-bed, early-to-rise types, as they typically have a lot of action at night.
The good news is there are lots of other types of hostels! There are super chill, smaller, more intimate hostels too.😌 Lots have an outdoor focus, or an emphasis on healthy eating, yoga or surfing, and amenities like a community garden. Check the hostel's website and Instagram for clues on their style, and read the reviews to get a sense of the types of travelers who stay there.
LOCATION. Hostels often have super awesome locations—there's one below where you can stay in a train carriage in the heart of Sydney! 📍Just make sure you check the location first. An affordable hostel can rapidly become expensive if it's far away from the attractions/activities you want to do and see, causing you to pay for taxis back and forth every time.
SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS. They're usually dorm style, meaning multiple beds to a room. This can be as few as 3 or as many as 25 (that's the biggest I've seen. It was actually really fun, if you're into party hostels!). Obviously, the more beds in the room, the more opportunity for noise and lights interrupting your sleep. I'm lucky that I'm a heavy sleeper, so this kind of thing rarely bothers me—but definitely invest in a sleep mask and earplugs/earbuds to help you with this aspect! 🎧
Dorms can also be mixed gender, or female-only. Hostel-lovers usually have strong opinions about which of these is better. In my case, I've stayed in both, and I tend to prefer the mixed-gender dorms since they're usually more social. But female dorms are better for those who prefer a more quiet, low-key dorm experience. 💤
Finally, many hostels also offer the option to stay in a private room, which may or may not have a private bathroom included. This is a great option if you want more privacy and quiet when you sleep, but still want to enjoy the social atmosphere of the common areas and group activities during the day.
Without further ado, here are eight female solo travelers' favorite hostels around the world, from Portugal to Mexico to Australia to Malaysia, covering all price ranges and atmospheres/styles!
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
"The Traveller Bunker had lots of cool people to meet, it was clean, and everyone was kind!"
Hostel 1 Paralelo
"The Yellow has an amazing vibe, lots of comfy spots to chill, and nice, clean rooms!"
Hostal La Isla
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico
"La Isla is very small, and they do evening and weekend activities and communal breakfasts, so everyone can meet!"
1001 Nights Dorm
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
"Staying in hostels is one of the highlights when I travel solo! It's also my source for meeting new people. If I had to choose one, I'd go with 1001 Nights in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They're very clean, the staff is professional and warm, and it has a great location and amenities."
Sydney Railway Square YHA
"I love staying in hostels! You meet so many great people. I liked Sydney Railway Square . You can stay in a train carriage!"
locations throughout Europe and the US
"Great price, and very well equipped!"
"I really loved Boutique Tag Hostel in Lagos, Portugal. Steps from the beach, wide-open deck space, and large windows in the dorm rooms that make you feel like you're in your own beautiful villa. Nothing spectacular about the amenities, but I just loved how this place made me feel."