In the past, hostels have generally been associated with over-zealous, boozed-up young adults; dingy, dodgy dorm rooms with ultra-thin mattresses and far-flung European destinations à la the movie Hostel. But at HI USA, we believe hostelling can be a real force for good. And as more and more people are opening their eyes to the joys of travel, this form of social, budget-friendly accommodation is fast becoming the popular choice for young and old who are looking to explore the United States and beyond.
Summer is officially over: you’ve spent the months liking and sharing on Facebook, hitting reply-all and taking endless calls, and now you’re gearing up for winter festivities and the kind of chaos that the holidays bring. But before you go back to the office or enter another season of heavy social media activity, what about a mini escape to unplug, unwind and recharge your own battery while giving your overworked iPhone a break too? Our suggestion: The secluded hills and beaches of the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Every major city in the world has that neighborhood: the one that’s a little rough around the edges, that has the interesting characters, and that the guide books might tell you that you can skip. But sometimes these places can also have the most interesting histories, offer great insights into the way that a city came to be, and introduce you to a side with more local flair than you’ll find on the beaten tourist path.
One of the reasons we choose to stay at hostels is that we are looking for experiences that are off the beaten path. Sure, when visiting a city like San Francisco, it’s basically mandatory to see as many of the major sights as you can, but as any traveler will tell you, we often make our best memories by interacting with the locals and becoming one -- even for just a little while.
The only thing better than getting to know a new city when you’re travelling is getting to know your fellow wanderers and the different places they are from. The absolute best part, though, is discovering that despite whatever differences you may have – language, fashion sense, or taste in music – you almost certainly have a few things in common, like a shared love of adventure and new experiences.
San Francisco is a city of iconic bucket list-worthy things to see and do, from biking across the marvel that is the Golden Gate Bridge, to cruising the hilly streets in one of our city's famed cable cars. But there's somewhere that's a definite must-visit for the hostel traveller and wandering soul: the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Why?