When it comes to travel in the US, expenses can easily add up. And of those expenses, lodging tends to be the most burdensome. Unless you want to sleep in a less-than-reputable hotel, vacationers in the US often have to hand over a pretty penny just to have a place to sleep at night.
There’s at least one form of lodging that has long been popular in Europe but has yet to take hold in the States: hostels. A hostel is a relatively inexpensive establishment that provides shelter for those who are studying, working, or travelling for fun. After having used hostels to travel across Europe as a teenager, I decided to explore one in my own backyard of New York City. I wanted to see how our hostels stacked up, if they’re worth the money saved, and if they can bring in a new era of American travel.
A quick search online pointed me toward Hostelworld. There, I was able to view pictures, read reviews, get a price quote, and see ratings based on amenities and location. I booked a stay at The Local because of its high rating as well as its proximity to the Hudson River — getting a view of the city skyline was a top priority.
Nightly rates usually range from $US55 on a weeknight to $US74 on a weekend night for a regular dorm room. It can be as cheap as $US44 a night in the off-season. After fees, I paid $US82 for a night’s stay.
See what my stay was like, below.
Just like most buildings in New York City, this hostel has clearly been renovated from its previous facade. The front desk is bright and cheerful, welcoming guests from all over the world.
The Local offers many amenities: a free drink on arrival, small art gallery, work area, café, free WiFi, board games, and a comfortable bed. The free WiFi and computer usage is an especially popular offering for travellers.
The dorm options include a four-person bedroom or a private two-person bedroom. I chose the four-person bedroom, which provided a cosy and simple setup. Bunk beds are a staple of hostel life, and The Local is no different.
The bedrooms are clean and outfitted with trusty lockers to store bags in. There's also a private bathroom -- something that doesn't always come with co-living. A bright sink and mirror sit adjacent to the private bathroom in every room.
After I was properly moved in, I made my way down to the café, where coffee, snacks, pastries, and 23 different types of craft beer are sold. There are pastries and beer galore at The Local's own bar.
Other countries don't have the same payment customs as Americans do, so there are polite reminders throughout the café.
Hostels are a good place to make friends and swap adventure stories. The bartender and guests share contact information to stay in touch.
Every night there's a new event, from movies, excursions, and live music to their signature 'Drink & Draw' event, where the travellers can show off their artistry. The 'Drink & Draw' Hall of Fame showcases the best of the drawings.
The Rooftop of The Local has another cosy lounge area, complete with couches and picnic tables to enjoy the cool air. A guest steals a moment to herself atop the rooftop.
The hostel has a jaw-dropping view of the Manhattan skyline. Guests would periodically climb to the rooftop just to take a quick photo to send to friends and family back home.
While a hostel is a far cry from a standard hotel, it is a more community-driven environment. People from all different backgrounds come to this place to mingle and relax after a long day's adventures. Hostels are known to travellers in other corners of the world, but there is hope they will become a favourite for American travellers as well.
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