The Handbook
The Handbook

When you first read the title of this article, your mind probably flashed to your ‘gap year’ days as you backpacked across Southeast Asia sleeping in some of the world’s most questionable spots for a cheap night hit. But, you’ll be as surprised as we are to know that hostels have really stepped up their game! They’re still cheap, they’re still cheerful, but boy, are they pulling out the stops in terms of quirky interiors, lively communal areas and no bedbugs in sight… Still don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself.

Freehand, New York

One thing we can all agree on is that New York is mahoosively expensive but if you’re looking to save a few extra pennies for the multiple dollar pizza slices you’re going to be devouring, Freehand is set to be your new best bud. Tucked in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, the hotel-cum-hostel is locked inside the former George Washington Hotel, which was notorious for hosting the finest names from musicians to creatives. Today, it’s serving up stellar interior inspo and rooms a’plenty from kings to bunks.

Caveland Hostel, Santorini

Ah, Santorini. Home to picturesque blonde beaches, turquoise seas and a plethora of whitewashed buildings, Santorini has become a go-to destination for influencers, celebrities and sun-chasers alike. The locals, however, has cogged on and now it’s become a tourist destination for those with an extra few buck, but if you’re looking to cut costs Caveland Hostel is the perfect alternative. Designed the represent traditional Santorinian architecture, Caveland will make you feel as though you’ve quite literally stepped inside a cave, but its bright surroundings and sunny skies will help nourish the appeal. The interiors are simple with vibrant art dotted on the walls and hippy-esque furnishings flocking the beds and sofas. If shabby-chic is your vibe, this little spot is for you.

Freehand, Los Angeles 

You’ll be partying quite literally like the celebs when you enjoy a stay at Freehand in Los Angeles. Locked in the heart of Downtown LA, Freehand merges the free-spirit and fun vibes of your classic hostel with the chic and classiness of your finest hotel stay. Designed by Roman & Williams, expect bright colours and boho vibes. There’s no doubt that you’ll be leaving sun-kissed and celeb struck.

Long Story Short, Czech Republic

If minimalism is your go-to, Long Story Short is the hostel for you. Located in the historic centre of Olomouc, the stylish hostel boasts space for up to 56 guests throughout a mix of dorms and private rooms. As for interiors, expect to find a mix of subtle artwork and vintage furnishings mixed in with modern quirks. Next door you’ll find Vault 42, an open c0-working space, that’s perfect for those lucky freelancers traveling as they work.

Credit: @jorgsn

Wallyard Concept Hostel, Berlin 

Berlin is a city bursting with vibrant culture, charismatic and artistic scenes, and has won the heart of many a traveller fleeting its streets. Nuzzled in the beating heart of Berlin, you’ll find Wallyard Concept Hostel serving up new heights for the hostel world. From monochromatic rugs to house plants a’plenty, the hostel is bursting with unique quirks that you’d find in a hotel but without the buck. Fear not too, if you don’t fancy sharing, there’s even the option for your own private chamber too!


Credit: @allaboutlapland

Seven Fells Hostel, Finland 

Set up by two fun-loving backpackers back in July 2019, Seven Fells Hostel boasts affordable accommodation for eager travellers, nuzzled just a brisk stride away from the centre of Äkäslompolo. As well as offering warming rooms, you’ll have access to free bikes in the summer and free kick sleds in the winter. Of course, the real appeal is the electrifyingly bright Northern lights. Nab up your room here.

iO Hotel, Malaysia 

If lying in a room the size of a shoe is your kinda thing, iO Hotel’s Capsule room is perfect. On your travels across South East Asia, stop off at Malaysia for perhaps the weirdest night of your life… You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped inside the pods in the blockbuster movie Avatar (you know the one’s where they jump into before heading into the different dimension), yep, it’s weird but oh, it’s an experience and a half!


Bungalow Bay, Magnetic Island, Australia

Shy away from the tourist traps of Sydney and Melbourne, and explore Australia’s bewildering wildlife in a whole new way at Magnetic Island, a world-heritage listed island on the Great Barrier Reef. Boasting walking tracks of up to 20km, it’s a real bushwalkers paradise, and with a little handy stay at Bungalow Bay, you’ll soon be on your way. Whether you’re looking to channel your inner cavewoman by camping among the shady trees, go full on backpacker in a shared bungalow, or have a ‘luxury’ experience in your own ensuite double room, there’s really something for all.


Credit: u/Proteon (Reddit)

Skywalker Hostel, Isle of Skye

Wowee, just look at those stars!

Voted ‘Best in Scotland’ in 2019 by Hostelworld (these guys seriously know their stuff), Skyewalker Hostel is seriously killing it for location. Tucked beautifully on the little Isle of Skye, the hostel-cum-cabins offer up the perfect spot to while away your time staring out into the wilderness. If you’re a solid city dweller, you’ll certainly be wowed away come nighttime as you stare longingly out into the night sky.

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