Hostel Boom Follows Social Media Model
Travelers probably know that hostels can save you a bunch of bucks in super-expensive Europe. But hostel stays can save lots of money in Asia, too. Or Mexico.
And these are not your parents' hostels. Some now rival boutique hotels for style and atmosphere. They aren’t just for kids anymore, either. Though still in their infancy in the US, hostels in fact are the hottest thing happening in budget travel and lodging.
These hostels are not the same as the traditional ‘youth hostels’, though, the often barrack-like lodgings known for their curfews and their membership requirements. No, the ‘new era’ of hostels is geared toward ‘flash-packers’, "backpackers’ more upscale urban cousins, still conscious of budgets, but also awash in gadgets—smart-phones, pads, tablets and laptops—and always ready for a good party… and a good WiFi signal.
The social nature of the new era hostels (‘backpackers’ for short) seems inspired directly from the social media paradigm: get enough like-minded people together in one place at one time, and a party just might break out. So hostels can be something like a flash-mob… on the other side of the world. They’re more than that, though. If you’re at a hostel in Yerevan, Armenia, about to cross the border into Iran, you just might glean some valuable information from travelers in transit.
Still, while all the comments on hostel-booking sites banter back-and-forth about what not only makes a good hostel, but a ‘real’ hostel, one thing is clear. It’s a social thing, mate. And it’s not just the ‘world party’ of Europe or the ‘new normal’ of Australia, but an American thing, too, numbers climbing steadily and coming soon to a cool hip tech-savvy city near you. They’ve always got good WiFi. C U there.
Hardie Karges is the author of Backpackers and Flashpackers in Western Europe and