By Liz Masson, Wanderlost Writer
The price of accommodations can easily be one of the largest expenses incurred while traveling. It seems unavoidable; one undoubtedly needs a place to sleep at the end of each day and, if you are staying at a hotel, this necessity could cost you upwards of $75 per night – essentially for a bed, shower and breakfast. Many travelers do not realize that there is a better option particularly well-suited for college students, but there is, and it is becoming increasingly common in the United States: hostels.
Hostels are a less formal and more culturally rich type of accommodations that run the gamut in terms of style; some resemble what one might consider a traditional hotel, while others are more like a bed and breakfast. But most have some characteristics in common: they usually offer shared rooms and bathrooms with free sheets and breakfast for a fraction of the price of hotels, they take on the local flavor of the city in which they reside and many offer additional perks like storage, bike rental, laundry facilities and kitchens that make them an incredible value.
The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel in Columbus, Ohio
One of the greatest benefits of hostels, though, is the opportunity for social interaction; far from being shut in their own rooms, travelers from all parts of the globe interact, become friends and experience the city together, making hostels a great option for both solo travelers and groups. They are also particularly well-suited for college students who are usually on a limited budget and accustomed to dorm-style living anyway. The best part: a shared room is usually only $25-50 per person per night.
While they tend to be associated with European travel, hostels are catching on in the United States and in fact several exist in Ohio. Two are spotlighted below: The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel in Columbus, the capital of Ohio, and The Cleveland Hostel in Cleveland, one of Ohio’s major cities.
A new way to experience the capital
While conducting market research, Mathew Dietrich discovered that Columbus was the largest city in the world without a hostel. This changed in August 2010 with the opening of his own – The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel at 2407 Indiana Ave. – located in a friendly red duplex where Dietrich had lived as a student at the Ohio State University.
“I had purchased my home in 2006 and lived there during my time at OSU,” Dietrich said. He studied business administration with a concentration in management information systems and rented rooms in the home to friends. Then in 2010 he traveled around the United States, staying in hostels in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and more, and decided to open his own.
“That sort of casual atmosphere was what drew me,” Dietrich said.
Dietrich now lives in the hostel that he operates in addition to having a full-time job. He is extremely satisfied with the experience. “There is a constant variety of enriching debates that occur in my living room every day,” he said.
The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel currently has a maximum occupancy of 15: two 5-person coed dorms, one 3-person coed dorm and a private room that can accommodate up to 2 people. Costs range from $26-$28.50 per night per person for a coed room and $52 for
The three-person coed dorm in The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel in Columbus, Ohio
a private room.
A slew of other perks are included. Guests receive free sheets, pillows and towels to use during their stay, free breakfast, a free locker and lock to store belongings, free parking, free bike and helmet rental, free wifi and free laundry with the use of their own detergent. Two kitchens and two laundry rooms are available for guests to use. There is a hot tub and grill on site, and activities include bonfires, potluck dinners, bar crawls and more.
“It’s truly the only 24-hour neighborhood in Columbus,” Dietrich said of his hostel’s location. He also stressed the social perks of hosteling. “You’re never alone when you stay at a hostel,” he said. “That’s really what hosteling is about, the ability to meet people.”
Dietrich hopes to open two more similarly-sized hostels in the future, each located in distinct districts of Columbus. For guests wishing to visit, reservations for The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel can be made online. Check out more photos below.
Cleveland, hostel style
Mark Raymond knows a thing or two about hostels; he has stayed in more than 100, in over 70 countries around the world.
“You look at all these different countries and think, ‘What’s it like there?’” he said. “It’s a great thing to travel and see places you’ve heard about and read about.”
Raymond put this experience to good use while opening The Cleveland Hostel, at 2090 W. 25th St., in August 2012. Located in a century-old building in the Ohio City neighborhood, the hostel combines all of the features Raymond knew from experience that travelers wanted, such as a location near the city center, easy access to public transportation and grocery stores and markets close by, with a big kitchen and two common areas inside the hostel itself. The hostel also includes a rooftop deck with a view of Cleveland’s skyline, and like Dietrich, Raymond lives in his hostel as well. “I get to live in a great neighborhood too,” he said.
The Cleveland Hostel currently has a maximum occupancy of 60, with a combination of coed dorms, private rooms and one female dorm. Bathrooms are a combination of en suite and shared, and rates range from $25-$27 per person per night for a shared room to $65-$75 per night for a private room.
Guests also receive free sheets and towels, free wifi, free parking, in-room lockers, coin-operated laundry and ironing facilities, bike and luggage storage, and $15/day bike rental. The hostel offers guests a $5 breakfast, including coffee, at the nearby Bonbon Pastry and Cafe located at 2549 Lorain Ave. An info board, updated weekly, gives suggestions on what to do around the city.
Raymond hopes to partner with more businesses in the future and provide as much as possible for his visitors. Anyone interested in staying can book online or by calling (216) 394-0616.
Traveling accommodations can be, and should be, viewed as more than an unavoidable expense incurred each day. If you’re looking for a place more in tune with the destination you are visiting, with the chance to experience the city together with other visitors from around the world — not to mention save more than a few bucks — hosteling is not just an option, but an opportunity that should be ignored by no one.
Additional photos of The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel:
- Flags hang from the hostel’s front deck. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)
- The hostel’s private room. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)
- One of the bathrooms inside the hostel. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)
- Free bikes, helmets and lockers are available for use. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)
- One of two free laundry facilities. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)
- One of two common areas for guests. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)
- One of two kitchens available for guests to use. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)
- The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel owner, Mathew Dietrich. (The Wayfaring Buckeye Hostel, Columbus, Ohio; Photo: Liz Masson)