The next time you find yourself in Boston, you’ll want to check out this place out: Hostelling International Boston or HI Boston, for short. Renovated from the historic Dill building in central Boston, this LEED certified hostel is clean, comfortable and cozy. For solo travelers, HI Boston is quite the deal with dorm room prices starting lower than $50 a night. Private rooms are a bit more pricey, but are still comparable to other hotels in Boston. Accommodation includes free pizza nights, movie nights, free or discounted tours, coupons for local eateries and continental breakfast in a giant self-serve kitchen.
Those who want to save a little money will most likely stay in a dorm room equipped with six beds; however, the rooms are designed in such as way to provide a level of privacy that most hostels lack. Each room is long and narrow and fits three bunk beds head to toe along one wall. No one goes to sleep looking across the room at another traveler. The only thing that would make the experience better would be if curtains were attached to each bed for added privacy.
Sleeping isn’t the only thing that HI Boston specializes in; promoting community engagement and environmental conservation is also at the top of the hostel’s priority list. Aside from encouraging visitors to reduce, reuse and recycle, HI Boston has installed a self-guided green tour within the building. Just follow the green “G”s plastered around the building and you’ll see what we mean.
When it comes to serving the community, HI Boston has several programs in motion. From something as simple as having a conference room available for any local organization or group to use, to more hands-on projects such as coordinating volunteer opportunities for locals and visitors alike, the hostel has thought of many different ways to interact with the Boston community. Locals are welcome to join HI Boston lectures, concerts and other events. There’s even a voluntour program that visitors can get involved in during their stay.
Stressing the idea that one must see the world in order to understand it, HI Boston works to get people engaged by hosting travel workshops, volunteering opportunities and free summer travel trips for youth groups to visit the greater Boston area. The hostel also puts together travel scholarships for youth groups around Boston.
For travelers who want to relax and see the city, a giant blackboard on the second floor features times for free tours, movie nights, gallery openings, stadium tours, free in-house pizza nights and more. While the hostel can become very crowded (it isn’t the best place to take a nap), it is an ideal place to meet fellow travelers and find things to do nearby. Snitch a cookie from the cookie jar in the lobby. Do a little Boston research using free Wi-Fi. Get centered with a yoga class. Grab a game of pool with fellow travelers. Join a pub crawl. Walk down the street and find yourself in the middle of one of America’s most beautiful, historic and resilient cities. HI Boston is the ideal base camp for getting the most out of your trip.
HI Boston’s vast kitchen that can host a hundred people at a time. Watch in amazement as the kitchen shrinks when hoards of hungry teens flood through the doors at breakfast.
- Bring a pair of flip flops and a robe for the shared bathroom. There is one private bathroom for 6 to 12 people, so be patient or be prepared to trek down another hall in search of another bathroom.
- If you want a city view, call and ask for a bed by the window at the end of the room.
- Clean sheets and blankets are provided; do not bring a sleeping bag.
- Get up early for the best breakfast experience, before hundreds of hungry kids take over the kitchen. No joke.
- Laundry facilities are available and are incredibly easy to use. Bring a credit card for the machines. Soap can be purchased on site.
- Pack a small lock for the lockers that will be available in the room.
- Each bed has a small nook with electrical outlets where you can store a bottle of water, charge your phone and use however you would like. (This was a very popular feature.)
- While the walls are thick, the city’s noise will still find you. For those travelers who don’t live in big cities, be prepared for noise throughout the night. By the second night, you’ll be too tired to care anyway.
If chaos isn’t your cup of tea: HI Boston can be very chaotic at times with so many travelers making the most of their trip. Even though the bathrooms are clean, they are shared between 12 people or more and can be a hassle to use. If you are not traveling alone and would prefer a private room that doesn’t cost a limb or two, take a look at Airbnb options just outside the city. There are lots of cute private rooms for under $100 a night, and using the train to get around is fast, inexpensive and a great way to navigate the city.