Independent Travel, Hostel Style {Guest Post}

Hello, friends!

I hope you’re all enjoying these guest posts as much as I am. Christy from Sweet and Savoring is here today to talk about one of my favorite things: travel! I often visit Christy’s site just to stare at her lovely pictures and reminisce about my own travels. In addition to the pictures, she has some good information, and her writing style is wonderful as well. Enjoy!


Hi everyone! I’m so happy and honored to be guest posting for Liv!

 Travel is one of my passions (I think eating might be the other one!), so I thought I’d talk about a big part of my travel experiences: hostels.
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[The view from the Little Red Boat Hostel in Stockholm, Sweden]
Have you ever stayed in a hostel? You’ve probably heard lots of scary stories- and maybe even seen the creepy movie “Hostel”, which unfortunately gives one of my favorite types of accommodation a bad reputation.
Hostels may not be for everyone, but they are a budget-friendly way to travel for independent, open-minded travelers. Sometimes you might find private rooms or 4-person rooms, other times you might find yourself sleeping dorm-style in a room stuffed with 10 bunk beds. It’s all part of the hosteling adventure!
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[Not exactly the homiest place I’ve ever stayed, but it did the job! Montreal, Canada]
I’ve stayed in hostels in Hawaii, Portland (OR), Montreal, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and all over Europe, and luckily, my positive experiences far outnumber my negative ones. Here are some exterior shots of some particularly memorable hostels:
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[Stockhom, Sweden]
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[Nosara, Costa Rica]
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[Manarolo, Italy]

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[Barcelona, Spain]
As you can see, each one couldn’t be more different from the next!
Part of the beauty of travel is that you’re constantly opening yourself up to new experiences: I have no idea what’s in store when I walk through the door of a hostel, but I do know I’m probably going to make some new friends. There might be some games involved, there might be a hilarious communal dinner, or maybe there will be a late-night talk with my new best friend-for-a-week.
Sometimes at hostels, you’re not surrounded by dozens of other weary travelers. One of my most recent hostel experiences was in the small city of Lucca, Italy, two years ago. Unfortunately my camera died a few days prior to my arrival, so I don’t have any photos to share, but trust me when I say that Ostello San Frediano was a gorgeous, historic building. I happened to be there at a quiet time of year- February- and basically had the whole hostel to myself. Such a thrill! It was especially nice since I had been couchsurfing and doing work exchanges, so I was hoping for some quiet relaxation time. Happily, this place lived up to that wish. The hallways were long, the ceilings were high, and I’m pretty sure I was the only guest on my floor. Get this: when I opened my door, I discovered that my room had two levels! The first floor was basically a small sitting area, and a twisty staircase led up to a double bed and bathroom. Talk about scoring the jackpot!
Of course, I also felt like I’d hit the jackpot when I slept in this place for two weeks, with almost no privacy whatsoever:
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[It looks grungy, but I had the time of my life here. Ometepe, Nicaragua.]
So really, it’s all relative. I got quiet and solitude in Italy when I needed it, and I learned to open up and let go of my creature comforts more than I ever had while in Nicaragua. That hostel with the hammocks was where I spent some of the best weeks of my life- it’s been three years and I’m still looking forward to returning.
Some hostels have restaurants, some have kitchens so guests can prepare their own meals.

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[A very clean, but small, hostel kitchen. Berlin, Germany.]

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[Some hostels cook you amazing breakfasts! Granada, Nicaragua]
Both of these are appealing for different reasons. On several occasions, I’ve arrived at a hostel after a long day or night of travel and cannot decide whether I want to sleep, shower, or eat first. Guess which one usually wins? Built-in restaurants come in handy: I just plop my backpack down in my room and wander, bleary-eyed, toward the tantalizing food smells and the clink of silverware and glasses.
Remember that hostel in Ometepe, Nicaragua that I mentioned? It was owned by Italians, and one night a week, they served the most delicious pizza:
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But El Zopilote also had a communal kitchen, and during my three weeks there, I learned to make some pretty good fried plantains 🙂
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So many stories! I could go on, but I’d love to hear any hostel experience you guys have. What are your favorite kinds of travel accommodations? What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever stayed? Do you have any questions about any of the places I mentioned?
To read more about my travels, head over to the Travel posts on my blog, Sweet and Savoring.
Those places look so great – and the food isn’t half bad, either. 😉 The only time I stayed in a hostel was when I visited Cardiff, Wales, when studying abroad. I have to say, I wasn’t the biggest fan, but after reading this post, I’d be willing to give it a shot again! Thanks again so much for the pictures and suggestions, Christy!
Happy Thursday, everyone! It’s almost the weekend!


  1. I had so much fun putting this post together! Haven’t yet been to Wales, but my husband used to live there and talks about it often 🙂

  2. I have never stayed in a hostel but my brother stays in them all the time in Europe. These pictures make them look really nice and clean.

    1. These hostels were clean, Nicole, but the quality, cleanliness and service varies A LOT (just like with hotels or any other accommodation). It’s good to read reviews on sites like if you’re planning a trip 🙂

  3. Awesome! I’d totally stay in a hostel when traveling 🙂

  4. I’ve never stayed in a hostel before (never traveled out of the country so I haven’t had the chance) but I always thought it sounded like kind of a cool idea and this seems to second that!! Thanks so much for sharing some of your gorgeous travels 🙂

    1. Hey Sarah, it was my pleasure! Also, there are plenty of hostels in the U.S- you could find them on If you’re traveling to a new city, it’s a great way to get information about places to visit, plus hostels are such a relaxed, laid-back environment 🙂

  5. I’ve never been to another country (other than Canada) before, so these tips are super helpful! They will be great to remember if I ever do a study abroad program. Thanks 🙂

    1. You’re welcome- I hope you do get to do a study abroad program or travel soon!

  6. […] her post on egg allergies, Fiona for her tips for exercising in the summer, Christy for her post on independent travel and hostels, and Michelle and Mike for their post on fitting in fitness!) I loved all of the posts, and loved […]

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