Premium Backpacking: Accomodation

I have stayed in many hostels across many countries around the world. Each hostel is different and each experience is different.

Common to most if not all hostels is the dormitory experience. Young people who travel end up in hostels as these are cheap, social and accessible – all key needs of young backpackers. What these young people bring is the abundance of energy which electrifies the hostel experience.

Late night partying. No problem.

Waking up at midday and then heading to the pub. No problem.

Coming back at 4am and heading to the museum at 10am. No problem.

Oh! Those young people. They never seem to get tired. I know. I was one of them, sometime back. Well, a really long time back.

Today, I love my sleep. I love my routine. I enjoy sleeping early unless there is a really good reason to stay awake beyond 11pm (ok, am lying….beyond 10pm). I love getting up early and starting my day with a coffee and the newspaper. I love this life. And when I explore, I bring this life with me. I love going to museums, bars, restaurants, hikes etc. As long as I can start early and go to bed early.

All good so far.

But as soon as I stay in a hostel within a shared dormitories, I hit a problem. I struggle to get good sleep and then the dominos fall. I am tired throught the day. I hate that young people have so much energy. I can’t complain at all since I am at a hostel and the dormitory experience comes with this expectation of little sleep and lots of noise.

The last such experience was during Easter 2022 at Munich. To be fair to the young folks in my room, they were very mindful of the noise they made at 4am but when you are drunk, you are loud even while trying to whisper.

I decided at that point that I won’t be staying in shared dorms anymore. I have yet to travel again to see what else is out there for someone like me. I see myself in the premium backpacker category.

Premium = Quiet Space + Social Atmosphere Optionality + Access to Attractions + Reasonable Price

Some options out there are
1. Air BnB
2. Hotels
3. Private Rooms in Hostels
4. Guesthouses
5. Camper Vans

I find Air BnB to be quite expensive these days though there are some really good value out there. Same with hotels and guesthouses. Depending on the location, I will gladly choose these.

My favourite option is a private room in a hostel. It makes more sense. There are some really good hostels out there which also attract people who want (yes, even young people) a quieter experience (read: not a party hostel). A private room here seems like the best option.

For long duration trips, a camper van feels like the best option to balance cost and quietness.

As I get closer to 45, comfort really matters to me while balancing with quietness and cost.

If I have to be truly honest with myself, a nice hotel would just be fine (or even better, a boutique hotel) but given that money doesn’t grow on trees and I like to be on the road for weeks to months, I guess a premium Backpacking accommodation experience would be a private room in a hostel followed by a camper van.

Best of all worlds.

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