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 The Hostel Life* /// VINJABONDHostels are often such a significant part of travelers’ lives that it develops into its own independent lifestyle… The Hostel Life.

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Hostels are budget dorm accommodations with shared space and facilities with one very special feature…

The social factor… A feature unique to hostels.

The inherently cooperative and communal way hostels work often create quickly built but meaningful individual friendships, groups of recent strangers that appear to be cliques but are actually friendly and even what can only be described as communities.

Traditional hotels are meant to isolate guests from each other, intentionally minimizing contact. Whereas it’s the exact opposite purpose with hostels as they’re designed to maximize social interactions.

Drinks w/ Backpackers at The Peter Pan Hostel in Andong - VINJABOND

Drinks w/ Backpackers at The Peter Pan Hostel in Andong –

The other major difference between hostels and hotels is the significant cost difference. This budget accommodation ideology is attractive for saving money but that’s just the secondary benefit.

The primary benefit is that it attracts like-minded people from all around the world from every background sharing the common love for travel.

So there’s commonality in extreme diversity.

Making hostels natural breeding grounds for both short-term and lifelong relationships.

Lunch on a Mountain Peak in Bali, Indonesia // Vagabonding

– Backpackers I Met at a Hostel And Traveled With in Bali –

“Hostelers” try to stay exclusively (or even religiously) at hostels as we travel. Seeking the familiar social connections and good times of previous hostels.

It’s far beyond just an inexpensive bed to sleep on but to continue to live the hostel life.

The potential for such memorable and enlightening experiences that only hostels can offer makes the already low cost of them a steal.

Allowing for an exceedingly affordable travel lifestyle.

On The Longboat Ferry to Don Det Island of The 4000 Islands in Laos

– Fellow Hostel Guests and I Island Hopping in Laos –

The most ideal hostel is one that feels like your staying at a good friend’s house and not like your a faceless stranger at a hotel. A 5 star luxury resort’s hospitality has nothing on a good hostel’s.

Merely staying at hostels doesn’t exactly qualify it as a lifestyle but its socially comprehensive and active nature is what makes it a part of a traveler’s life.

To myself and many other hostelers, its one of the most rewarding and favored part of long-term travel.

Karaoke Party With Hostelers in Taipei - VINJABOND

– Karaoke Party With Hostelers in Taipei –


A Day in The Life of a Hosteler //

    10:37 AM      In Turkey for the first time, I’m not sure what to expect as I look out the airport shuttle bus window with Istanbul passing by nearing my hostel.

    11:02 AM      Walking in to a new hostel is always exciting, even though it was empty with just Emre the manager waiting for me to check in. After a bit of chatting and a drink, I grab a tourist map and settle my backpack to my dorm bed.

    12:16 PM      Welcoming and embracing the slight culture shock from this new city, I tour the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. Hungry and jet-lagged, I start walking back to the hostel.

    1:08 PM      I happily see fresh backpacks on top of all 5 of the remaining beds in my dorm room, meaning new guests have arrived.

    1:11 PM      After putting my daypack down I run to the rooftop bar of the hostel and see a half dozen backpackers enjoying some Efes beers. The usual introductions proceeded and we all have more drinks and talk travel.

    2:02 PM      Now 7 backpackers and I from 5 different countries who were strangers just an hour ago are now friends. We decide to take a walk to the Galata Bridge fish market for lunch.

    3:57 PM      With our group now 11 strong, we attempt to stay together browsing the tight confines of the Grand Bazaar. We inevitably get separated but meet up later at the hostel.

    5:31 PM      I return to the hostel with 3 backpackers, a German, Australian and a fellow American. On the way “home” we got amped about going to Cappadocia in central Turkey. We book tickets as soon as we get back.

    6:44 PM      Almost at full capacity, the hostel is loud, busy and energetic like an unintentional party. Travelers from all around the world clash and bursts with culture, it’s beautiful.

    7:51 PM      After making a few more friends and exchanging Facebooks, some of us head out for dinner. We have Istanbul’s famed kebabs and islak burgers while enjoying a walking night tour.

    9:40 PM      We return to the hostel to a fully packed bar on the rooftop. Lots of drinks, languages and laughs flow. I grab an Efes draft and dive into the party.

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    2:00 AM      Lights out. Zzzz…

    10:59 AM      I barely make it upstairs for the hostel’s free breakfast. Almost every seat taken by familiar faces from last night struggling with the same hangover that I have but visibly happy to be in each other’s company.

This is just one example of the many possible types of days you can spend as a hosteler. Meaningful events and connections that all travelers should experience to get the most out of foreign travel. The hostel life.

Si Phan Don Laos AKA 4000 Islands // VINJABOND

– Hostelers I Traveled For a Week in Laos –

- Hostel Made Breakfast at Bong House in Seoul - VINJABOND

– Hostel Made Breakfast at Bong House in Seoul –

Local Japanese Girls in Tokyo, Japan // Vagabonding

– Hostel Friends After a Night of Partying in Tokyo

Backpackers at a Pool Party in Luang Prabang, Laos /// Vagabonding - VINJABOND

– Pool Party with Backpackers at a Hostel in Luang Prabang –

It’s the possibilities that hostel life make possible that make my vagabonding lifestyle a far more interpersonally remarkable journey.




The hostel life is an exceptional way to “sleep”.

[The featured photo was taken at a hostel pool party in Laos.]

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7 COMMENTS ///

  1. JnaDna

    You have the life!!! Sick photos man. But I’ll be backpacking soon hitting up hostels as well. I can’t wait!!!

  2. Lori Ali

    OMG such great group shots, I’m going to steal your “cheers” idea for photos, brilliant. Anyways, nice write up about the hostel life, I completely agree.

  3. Andre

    Sorry to comment on such an old article, but I just found your site, and started reading some of the articles.

    I was just wondering what you do with valuables when staying in a Hostel. I’m sure you don’t travel with tons of expensive equipment, but at least maybe a computer for updating the site and staying in touch with people.

    Is stealing a problem in Hostels, or is there an “honor among vagabonds”?

    • JOHN V CAIN //

      I’ve must have stayed at over 100 different hostels so far and never had any theft problems but I have heard some stories. But generally, it’s not a problem and many hostels have lockers.

  4. Kyle NYC

    The hostel life is similar to the college life, except it’s much more real in the sense that people are not as fake. Not to mention way more adventurous, obviously.


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