If you think hostels aren't for you, think again

Hostelling International Boston was the only place to stay in Boston affordably and comfortably, as I quickly found. Also known as HI Boston, it is actually a chain of hostels available in the U.S. and Europe. Because there are so few hostels in America, often Hostelling International is one of the only brands available and now I know that the quality of their brand and service makes them one of the best choices. 

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When I first arrived in Boston, I had a different hostel booked for the first night, because while it was not as well rated as HI, it was decently rated and a few dollars cheaper. But after one night, I found that the hostel I was staying at was not worth the money—customer service was nonexistent, the bathrooms were dirty, the dorms crowded and dark. So I called HI Boston, crossing my fingers that I would get a bed over the holiday weekend. Soon I was dragging my luggage down the stairs of the T (the metro in Boston) on my way to Chinatown. 

My first impression of the hostel was that it was beautiful, clean, and big. The entrance and lobby serve as both a hangout and a waiting area, with big comfy couches and a fireplace. You can buy some basic snacks and drinks or hang out in the community room that has a projector for showing films and sports matches. There is an industrial kitchen upstairs, where free breakfast (coffee, juice, yogurt, toast, bagels, and cereal) is served every morning and sometimes a free community dinner. But guests are free to use the appliances to make their own food, or grab a cup of tea or coffee anytime throughout the day. On the second floor is a laundry room, a book exchange, a pool table, and lots of places to relax and meet new friends. Then there is the community events board. This is the magical board that is always full to the brim of cool activities, meet-ups, and free outings. That’s the best part about Hostelling International, they always have things to do and make it easy to meet other travelers. 

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The rooms themselves are spacious and the bunks are nice. If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, I can assure you that this is the best possible set up. Each bunk has a large locker next to it, that acts as a caddy for all your bags and valuables. Tip: Hostels don’t usually provide locks, either use a luggage lock or travel with a combination lock. By the head of each bed is a hollow part in the locker that has multiple outlets and a reading light. I used this as my bedside table, charging my phone and keeping my glasses and a book. This feature is great on the top bunk, so you don’t have to climb in and out of bed or store things on the side of the mattress where they could get lost. The bathrooms were awesome, because instead of large communal bathrooms, like in a gym, there were lots of individual bathrooms, each with a shower. As always in a hostel, the state of the bathrooms relies heavily on the other hostel inhabitants. While the cleaning staff did a great job, some bathrooms get untidy when travelers don’t clean up after themselves. It should be noted that while not all hostels provide towels (some charge you to rent them) they are included in the price at HI and it’s easy to switch out your towel for a clean one.

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HI Boston is a beautiful and affordable place to stay, whether you are a lone traveler, a couple, a family, or group of friends. It’s the first hostel I stayed at where there were so many different ages and groups of people. There are many dorm rooms (which are usually smaller so people aren’t constantly coming and going) as well as private rooms. HI has a great setup with lots of amenities so that you can be comfortable and meet other travelers. While I initially balked at the cost, with breakfast and so many other extras included with amazing service you won’t find another hotel or hostel in an American city that is so worth the value. When traveling in the U.S., Hostelling International would be the first place I would look.

Prices:

Dorms come in mixed gender, female, and male and vary in size. Large rooms (8 beds) are cheap than smaller (4 bed) dorms. For one bed in a 6 bed dorm it is $44.49 Sunday through Thursday, and then $59.49 on Friday and Saturday. There is also a $3 charge per night if you are not a member; membership is $28 a year. 

Private rooms can vary in price depending on the day of the week and the season, but on average in June a double room is about $220 per night. 

Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with HI Boston. As always, the opinions expressed here are completely my own.