After booking a trip to Europe, Asia, Latin America or any other part of the world, the next thing to do is find lodging that seems like a good fit.
All in all, hostels are a cheap way to travel with an undeniable social aspect that allows you to meet people you never would be exposed to otherwise.
The more our generation from an individualistic society desires to travel, the more the culture of hostels is expanding.
But how often do we look to stay in hostels in the United States? Better yet, have you ever stayed in a hostel in America? If you are a born and raised US citizen, chances are you don’t really think about staying at a hostel the way you do when you’re exploring other continents.
To even get an accurate number of hostels in the US from the internet is difficult enough. According to Jarred Partridge, the owner of HI San Luis Obispo Hostel, there is around 350 hostels nationwide.
Partridge is the owner of the only hostel in San Luis Obispo, out of the way and down Santa Rosa Street. It could pass for one of the town’s classic old homes with baby green colors and old-school surrounding fence. But a sign that reads “Hostel Obispo,” clearly sets it apart from any other home. The cozy vibes immediately settle in with the off-white walls filled with ceramics on top of wooden shelves. A piano stands in the corner of the living room with a big comfortable couch leading into the communal kitchen where their famous sourdough pancakes are made every morning for guests.
“I sometimes say it kind of feels like you’re coming to stay at your grandma’s house,” Partridge said as he looked around the kitchen and living room.
While this hostel is cheaper than it would be to stay at a hotel, guests could also just choose to book a private place to stay with Airbnb. However, guests that choose a hostel also come for the social aspect.
“I feel like hostels will always have their niche group of guests who like the hostel experience,” Partridge said. “You have to trade some of your personal privacies in order to have this communal setting.”
HI San Luis Obispo Hostel small size that fits 25 guests sets it apart from hostels in bigger cities, which adds to the cozy and friendly vibes that are already home to SLO. Although the average stay is about one day, Partridge said that the types of travelers is a diverse range from seniors, families, college kids and international travelers.
“I’m very thankful to be in the position that I am. It’s like traveling in a sense but the travelers are coming to me,” Partridge said. “I’m constantly meeting people that have good stories to tell and are just happy to be here.”
Barbara Levin is a KCPR staff member and Cal Poly journalism senior. She assembled this coverage of San Luis Obispo’s only hostel and took the photograph.