Many women my age say that they can’t travel because it is just too expensive. I would argue that, in many cases, options are simply not being considered.
Whether you are traveling to a nearby city or across the ocean, the primary goal is to find a safe, comfortable and inexpensive place to sleep.
If hotel prices are part of the problem, I have one suggestion, based on my recent experience in Bali. What about staying in a hostel?
Aren’t Hostels Just for Teenage Backpackers?
First, let’s deal with the myths and stereotypes about hostels. What images come to mind when you say the word “hostel?”
To paraphrase Wikipedia, “A hostel is a budget-oriented, communal accommodation where guests can rent a bed in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and kitchen. In a traditional place, rooms are mixed or single-sex, and private rooms may also be available.”
Hostels are usually associated with young travelers, backpackers and students. After all, these are the groups who are most typically associated with traveling on a budget.
I would like to propose that older women also consider this type of accommodation. I did it for 2 months in Bali and had a great experience on every level!
I admit that, for many women my age, the thought of staying in a hostel is intimidating. That said, in my experience, the fear is much worse than the reality. In fact, hostels can be perfect places for older adults to stay. Here’s why…
Stay in a Safe, Clean and Comfortable Place for Less
Now, there will always be exceptions, but, in my experience, many modern hostels are well managed, clean and safe.
My two recent experiences with Urban House in Copenhagen and The Onion in Bali have left me with nothing but great memories.
In fact, neither of them really call themselves “hostels,” so, perhaps, this is where some of the confusion starts. They are simply a new type of accommodation that prioritizes cost savings and a safe, fun environment.
Yes, unless you book a single room, you have to give up a little privacy. But, this is a choice. If you don’t mind staying in the same room as other travelers, then you can have some extra money for food, massages, trips – whatever you desire.
I’ve done both. In Bali, I wanted a little extra privacy and got a single room. At Urban House, I stayed in a dorm with 5 other young women, which was also great fun!
Experience Great Wi-Fi and Stay Productive
Another misconception about hostels is that they don’t have any extras, like Wi-Fi. This is no longer the case at many locations.
At the Onion, for example, there is a co-working space where, for a small membership, you can enjoy air-conditioned comfort, a big desk and superb Internet access! Free Wi-Fi was also available in my room.
I found this to be one of the great benefits of staying at The Onion. I was able to stay productive and connected.
Make New Friends and Enjoy New Perspectives
Staying in a hostel (or something similar, like The Onion) offers plenty of opportunities to meet people of all ages. In many cases, this aspect of hostel living enriches the holiday and solidifies the strongest heartfelt experience.
There are usually plenty of entertainment options and, depending on the property, you might also expect to hear live music several nights a week. While this can be slightly tiring, if you are an early sleeper, you just have to ask this question when you book and decide whether it makes sense to stay there.
Be Open to New Ways of Thinking and Living
So, if you are interested in giving hostels a chance, here are some qualities that I found useful to develop.
First, it is extremely important to be open minded and non-judgmental. In these environments, you will find people who are pushing life to the limit, trying new things, redefining their lives and enjoying many alternative lifestyles.
This is also reciprocal. At the places I have stayed, no one has judged me. I haven’t experienced any ageism – not even a funny look as I sit down next to a group of 20-year-old backpackers.
There is actually a levelling that goes on in these wonderful environments. Everyone has a common goal and wants experience a new way of traveling. Freedom is their definition of luxury!
Check Out My Special Places in Bali
On this trip, I stayed at The Onion Collective in Ubud. I give it my highest unconditional recommendation!
It’s a small place, so, if you plan to visit, book early and tell them that Margaret sent you. I don’t have any financial incentive to say this. It would just be wonderful to have this connection. They will treat you like gold!
They have 3 private rooms and 4 dorm rooms. Ask for the Cloud Room, if it is available. I loved staying there and would go again in a heartbeat!
Mark and Kadek would definitely not call the Onion a hostel. They would call it a home. Strangely enough, as I get ready to leave, I think I am going to miss the sound of the live band playing “Honky Tonk Woman” and the sign by the exit says it all – Love. Peace. Health.
Do you think that hostels and other non-traditional hotels are good options for women like us? Why or why not? What is the coolest small hotel or hostel that you have stayed in recently? Please join the conversation.