Looks like hostels in the U.S. are still carrying a reputation of being cheap, but not so community spirited as suggested in this Detroit Free Press article. Which means is backpackers usually aren’t stampeding the doors of American hostels or when they do the experience can only be described as “eh” and “so-so.” I mean, when I go to Europe or Central America I embrace the chance at rooming for pennies to meet new, like-minded, free-spirited folk like myself, but I don’t feel so inclined to do that in the states. I’m either at a hotel or a friend’s pad crashing as comfy as ever.
Hostels total about 10,000 worldwide, but only 350 of those are within the United States. Another thought-provoking claim from the article comes from Mark Vidalin, the marketing director of HI-USA, who states most Americans wouldn’t be able to define the meaning of hostel correctly. David Capelle owner of a hostel booking site where travelers can post ratings and reviews said 40% of people using Hostelz.com live in the U.S., but only 9% of them book American hostels. So not to bore you any further with numbers, what’s the deal? I’ve debated on staying at a hostel here in my own country digs, but never seemed to super excited to do so. Will more advertising give our American hostels what they’re looking for – tons of people and a lively atmosphere? I don’t know.