As much as I hate paying for lodging I do love hostels & other cheap lodging. Occasionally I even take in the luxury of a hotel, but luxury comes at a price. Sure its nice to have your own comfy bed, lounge sofa, private bath with good water pressure, desk, iron, wifi & all the soap or shampoo you can take (umm…..I mean borrow).
But I feel like hotels are this giant concrete isolation chamber that creates a disconnect from other travelers or locals. Plus I hate spending money on a room I am only going to use for a few hours a day most likely for sleep or taking soap. So its hard for me to justify the cost of a hotel room, and why I avoid them when traveling. I just don’t think they are a good use of money, and a true budget killer.
Lodging costs are at the root of the stereotype of why people think travel is expensive. This is why I choose hostels or AirBnB when I am looking for lodging. Both of these options are far cheaper then any hotel. Plus they offer more chances of social interaction with locals & other travelers.
FINDING CHEAP LODGING BY EXPLORING HOSTELS
Unfortunately, hostels aren’t everywhere, and there’s a delay when trying to correspond with an AirBnB host. So sometimes you just need a comfy bed with plenty of soap to steal that is available for last minute bookings & conveniently located. Thankful for me that wasn’t the case on my first ever ski trip to Jackson Hole.
Back in 2008 me and two ski buddies that I met while working at Crystal Mountain set our sites on Jackson Hole. The holy grail of ski resorts in America or so we thought. We had been charging the slopes like only rookie riders can, and watching all the ski porn we could get our hands on. Every ski video we watched was about Jackson Hole. Maybe that had something to do with the only videos we had access too were made by Teton Gravity.
SKI TRIP TO JACKSON HOLE
It didn’t matter we found our passion on the slopes of Crystal Mountain, and we wanted to explore the ski resort in the movies. Through the employee benefits program we were eligible to ski at over 30 other resorts for free, and another dozen or so for half price. Jackson fell into the half price column, but it was freaking Jackson Hole.
New to vacation planning or destination planning we had no idea what we were doing. I couldn’t even tell you what site we used back then to find our lodging. All we wanted was cheap.
I mean one of us was living in employee housing, and the other two were living in a 1 bedroom cabin with 8 other people. Any lodging was going to be fine. Our trip was focused on ride time not room time so the cheaper the better. We found a place called the Hostel for only $14/night. DEAL!! The next cheapest place was a conventional hotel for only $59/night.
JACKSON HOLE HOSTEL IN TETON VILLAGE
The hotel wasn’t that expensive, but it also wasn’t in the village (ski resort property). So we chose the cheaper one that was only 100 ft from a chair lift. We couldn’t have been more happier when we arrived.
The hostel was so much more then lodging. It was a community center, rec center, entertainment venue & perfect. None of us had ever stayed in a hostel before so we had no expectations. The lobby looked like any other hotel lobby, but when we got to the rooms we fell in love. Remember we were 3 ski bums who were used to eating Ramen Noodles & hot dogs to survive the last 4 months of life.
The room was old and dated with four built in bunk beds painted dismal dark brown with initials carved into every thing. There was probably 15-20 layers of paint on every surface in the room, but it was our room and it was perfect. If you were writing a script for a ski trip vacation for three ski bums you couldn’t have written or described it better. It was just like in the movies!! And literally it was 100 feet from the chair lift, SNOWING, and costed less then a case of beer. SCOOOOOOORE!!!!!!!
WHY HOSTELS ARE BETTER THAN HOTELS
It wasn’t until later that night until we discovered how special this place was. After the chairs stop spinning on the slopes for the day is when the “real fun” usually begins. The map above our bed gave us directions to the rec room along with a little poem someone had wrote about how much they hated their ex-girlfriend. Theres no value on character, and the Jackson Hole Hostel was about unveil its true character & value.
When entering the community room we were blown away!!!! It had everything every hotel should have and then some. A large sectional couch filled with girls formed a “U” around this massive fireplace with a giant chess board coffee table. Behind them was a fully stocked bar with a sign that read:
THIS ALCOHOL WASN’T FREE, BUT WE WANTED YOU TO ENJOY YOUR TIME HERE SO PAY WHAT YOU WANT BUT IF YOU UNDER 21 YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BE DRINKING HERE
The bookshelves were filled with ski videos, board games, cards, dice & chalk. And you needed chalk to write messages to other travelers on the chalkboard walls. There was a free waxing station, pool table, ping pong table, vending machine, small kitchenette and 4 different TVs with their own DVD player to watch your ski videos. Did i forget to mention there was a heated pool & hot tub?
JACKSON HOLE HOSTEL IN TETON VILLAGE
This was our first exposure to a hostel, and we were in love. For $28 we had lodging, secure lockers, full bar, 1000s of ski videos, and a place to hang out with other travelers who weren’t locked behind a door in a cement compound waiting for 10am checkout.
Hotels are comfortable, convenient & even luxurious if you like your privacy. If your obnoxious and annoying I am grateful that I will only see you at the continental breakfast in the mornings, or passing by in the hallways on the way to/from your room. Thats not why I travel though. I travel to meet other travelers, and get insider info from locals. Which is why the Jackson Hole Hostel was eye opening fantastic. We made life long friends in 48 hours with some girls from Tokyo that I still talk to today because the Jackson Hole Hostel provided an opportunity that was affordable, social & convenient.
Just like hotel lodging isn’t my first choice. Hostel life isn’t for everyone, but I definitely recommend you give it a try on your next trip. You never know who you’ll meet or where you’ll end up. Did staying in a hostel make you want to be a full time traveler? Check out my guide to buying an RV, and take those travels to the next level.