A 30-Something’s First Hostel Experience

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long. Despite having been to nearly 50 countries, and even getting featured on ABC News for it, I had never stayed at a hostel until early 2017.

In late 2016, I booked ultra-cheap Norwegian Airlines tickets from NYC to Paris and from Copenhagen back to NYC (both direct flights) for under $260 total. Since this was an impulse buy, I thought of doing something radical to lower my accommodation costs. My Hilton HHonors points saved me in Paris but in Copenhagen, where the hotel prices are much higher than the rest of the Europe, I opted in for the Generator Hostel Copenhagen.

Generator Hostels are “design-led” hostels that can be found in a dozen major European cities, including Barcelona, Berlin, Rome, London, Paris, as well as Miami in the US. These hostels are not your typical “youth-hostel” where things can be a little chaotic.

The public spaces like the lobby and the lounge looked comparable to luxury-hip hotels (think Aloft or Hampton Inn) although the rooms were typical 8-bed (4-bunk) well-maintained dorms which were immaculately clean.

As a single traveler, I booked this hostel for three main reasons:

  • Very good reviews (in fact, the score on Orbitz, where I booked using my Orbucks, was better than most hotels)
  • Very affordable rates (under $25/night in an expensive city like Copenhagen)
  • The opportunity to socialize & discover the city with fellow travelers via walking tours.

I thought it would be a little weird to sleep in a dorm with total strangers, but the bunk beds were good in eliminating the awkwardness. They were designed to create a private nook for when the guest is lying down and they all had electrical outlets for chargers, which made it easy for travelers to zone out and watch movies from their personal devices. Each bunk bed also provided a locker for valuables. The room had two private bathrooms, which also eliminated wait, and during my stay, it was actually not fully occupied, which made it a delightful stay. (Though I had to pay extra for towels since as a newbie, I assumed the rooms would have them).

The hostel experience was still there; I played petanque and pool with the other travelers, went on a city walking tour and thanks to the map with the discount coupons, I enjoyed some free drinks at the bars around.

Some photos from the Generator Copenhagen:


Before spending a big chunk of money on hotels, I definitely recommend doing some research to find out if your destination has a Generator Hostel or similar.

There is really no age-limit to getting to know yourself. I found out that I can perfectly fit in in a setting like this and for a single traveler, I can’t think of a better way to travel. I have already booked my upcoming stays in Barcelona and Tel Aviv at hostels.

About the author:

My name is Saf Dogan, I’m an NYC-based digital marketer, a Turkish-American polyglot, and an aspiring travel blogger/vlogger. Check out my Instagram feed @grabthatpassport and subscribe to my YouTube channel for travel inspiration!

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