Updated: Jan 30
If like me you find hotel prices, and even Airbnb prices limiting the length of your travels or negating them altogether, why not have a look at hostels.
As soon as you mention hostels to friends, particularly if you’re an old bird like me, people pull a face as though you’d told them you like to eat your own faeces. And they’d tell you it’s not for you and you’d hate it.
I would never have afforded a month in Waikiki if I hadn’t secured one of the last slots available in the Polynesian Beach Hostel.
I’d looked at hotels and Airbnb, the cheapest was half as much again as the hostel and not as well equipped or positioned. I’d looked at camping, but really I’d have had to hire a car, that costs as much as a month in a hostel, plus buying all the equipment that I’d have to leave there, plus site fees and the inconvenience, it just wasn’t worth it. I’d also looked at Helpx, I’d done it before in New Zealand, if you don’t mind working to pay for food and accommodation it’s a good option. You can find the website at helpx.net. It’s free to view and only around twenty quid to join for two years.
I wanted total chill time, so booked the hostel and to be honest I also wondered if it was for me, but I can tell you yes, thus far it really really is.
Hostels, well first off, if you’re picturing a wooden shack, cold water, twenty to a dorm, shittin in a hole, like I did, you’d be wrong. I won’t pretend to know all about hostel life, I’ve only been to one, but I can tell you what I have found, being a newbie to the hostel in Waikiki. Lemon Road in Waikiki holds several hostels and they all operate similar to one another.
Yes, it’s full of ‘kids’, yes you have to share a room with people not of your choice, and yes sleep can be disturbed by comings and goings but it is so worth it. It’s worth it on many levels; constantly meeting new people, learning peoples stories, plans and dreams, understanding the varied youth outlook on life, helping and being helped to find the best places to visit being just some of the best experiences. And just to say, I'm not the only old here, there are several!
It can get a little noisy in the evenings, but quiet time is 10pm til 7am, so not a problem really. Also no visitors are allowed in the dorms.
I’m a loner, so only make acquaintances, get involved in common room chats but go out on my own. You can easily make friends or travel partners though, as many do. Everyone is happy, enjoying life, no dramas or misery to bring you down.
I’ve been in the same six bed dorm for six days and have had around twenty different roomies.
There are lockers in the dorm, you need to buy a padlock if you are not trusting of others, which I’m not.
The sheets and towels are provided, you can swap them when you want. Tea and coffee is free. There’s fridges and a kitchen. The Polynesian Beach Hostel make pancakes for breakfast each morning, so you can get a free breakfast too. The large alfresco dining area, has a big telly with all the channels, adjacent is a smoking area, where lots of chats and planning happens.
The dorm is swept and mopped everyday, along with the en suite bathroom being cleaned. The staff are chilled and helpful, they work hard. Don't mistake this facility for a designer boutique hotel, because it's not. But it is comfortably basic.
There are all female and all male dorms, but I was in a mixed one. To be honest, the random roomies aren’t always great. I had one creepy guy coming on to me when we were the only two in the dorm one night. Which was a bit of a worry, but luckily, after refusing his offer of a massage, he got the message and left me alone. Another thing I didn’t like was the custom in some cultures to hawk and spit, I find it utterly revolting, and so do most westerners.
It seems east Asians tend to do this. Someone should tell them it’s not acceptable in western culture I reckon! Apart from those two points, I absolutely love it. I’d recommend it to anyone, of any age. Give it a go next time you are travelling.
See website for info on Polynesian Beach Hostel here