I travel a lot for work, and have for years now. And I love traveling, sure, but when you do it often enough for work it can quickly start to feel like an endless tour of the nation’s hotel corridors and conference centers. Fortunately, whether I’m traveling for meetings with colleagues, site visits, or a big convention, there’s one way I know I can always make my business trip a little more enjoyable: staying at a HI USA hostel.
That may sound weird, I realize: after all, hostels are so often a top choice for the young, the carefree, the “definitely did not fill my backpack with files and extra business cards for this trip” set. But accommodations for leisure travelers and business travelers don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Here’s why hostels are a perfect fit for anyone traveling for business or conferences.
1. Free Wi Fi
Few things are more frustrating than spending hundreds of dollars a night for a hotel room, only to find out when you get there that it will cost you an extra $14.95 per day if you want to be able to check your email or video into a conference call. Wi Fi is free at nearly every HI USA hostel, which means you don’t have to choose between pulling out the credit card and putting a hold on your in-office commitments every time you travel for business.
I love eating out at restaurants, and sampling the local cuisine wherever I’m visiting. But after a few days of breakfast, lunch, and dinner out, every business trip inevitably jolts me off the path of healthy eating I love maintaining at home. That’s why I love hostel kitchens: they let me buy groceries and prepare my own meals so I can stay
healthy even though I’m stepping away from my normal routine. Bonus: cooking in HI USA’s hostel kitchens is a great way to meet people!
3. Free breakfast
While we’re on the topic of food, let’s praise the free HI USA hostel breakfast, which means you never again have to start your day on a packet of hotel-room instant coffee and that complimentary granola bar you smuggled off of your flight last night.
4. Private rooms
Cheaper than hotel rooms and often decked out with a lot more character, private rooms at HI USA hostels are a great way to ensure you’ll get the good night’s sleep you need for that meeting tomorrow morning.
When traveling for business, it can be so easy to stay locked away in your room, answering emails and staying up late working on projects that could easily wait until tomorrow. But at HI USA hostels, there are always plenty of shared spaces where you can set up shop, with our without your laptop, and take in a little human inspiration from the travelers and sights around you. You might even decide to put the work away for a while and join a new friend in a conversation, or hostel staff on a walking tour of the city.
I work for a non-profit organization, so stretching my travel budget is important. Staying in hostels is a great trick, and it works for business travelers from all industries and walks of life. Recently, at HI Portland Hawthorne hostel, I met several PhD students in town to pitch their books at a conference (they met each other – and exchanged ideas – over the hostel breakfast table). Staying at hostels means you don’t have to shy away from a valuable professional opportunity or meeting just because you can’t afford the accommodation.
8. The experience
The bottom line is this: even if I’m traveling for work, I don’t want to end the week feeling like I came all that way to see the inside of a plane, a taxi, a hotel room, and a convention center. I want to feel like, somewhere along the way, I made a valuable connection: to a new person, to a new culture, or to a new city. And no matter what the primary purpose of my trip might be, staying in hostels helps me experience those connections.