Oahu Hawaii Hostels
Backpackers in Hawaii have known for years that hosteling can be a great way to save money. Hawaii hostels aren’t just for backpackers anymore. Oahu has a variety of hostels, from a popular backpacker’s hangout on the North Shore to city hostels in Honolulu and Waikiki with private rooms.
Oahu Hawaii Hostels
How do you know if staying in a Hawaii hostel is a good way for you to save money on your vacation? If you are a people person and even more so if you don’t mind hearing the snoring of strangers as you’re drifting off to sleep, then you’ll probably do fine. Just prepared that if you are the snorer, your dorm mates may toss a pillow or two at you or nudge you onto your side!
Many Hawaiian hostels, including hostels in Honolulu now offer private rooms. You’ll still have to get over any anxiety about sharing a bathroom.
Having use of a kitchen will also help save some big bucks while traveling in Hawaii. Even when some items like milk and cereal often cost double the price as on the mainland, you’ll still get off cheaper than if you dine out for every meal, but that’s another chapter. Besides saving money, hosteling, like camping, makes it easy to meet and build friendships with fellow travelers.
The savings at Oahu hostels often work the opposite of other accommodations and camping in that the best savings at a hostel, in the dorms anyway, are for a single person because they charge per person. Many Hawaii hostels today though also offer private and semi-private rooms with couples and group rates.
Backpackers Inn and Plantation Village – Located in historical Haleiwa on the North Shore near Three Tables Beach and Waimea Bay, the Backpacker’s Inn is a friendly hostel, frequented mostly by the 20-something crowd. Options include co-ed dorm, private rooms, cabins, beach house studios, and like many Hawaii hostels do, they offer discount priced activities and free use of boogie boards and snorkel gear. Their whale-watch sail runs about $30, a pedal bike rents for $5, and they give 50 percent off on “two of the island’s biggest attractions.”
Beds are round $30 per night or less based on weekly rates, and private rooms average about $68 a night. Studios and cabins rent for about $112 to $120. Rates vary between low and high tourism seasons. Meals are $7 for all you can eat. They told me they also offer “vegetarian friendly, but no so much vegan” meals.
As with the most meticulously kept homes in Hawaii (the hotels spray heavily), the hostel isn’t bug proof; however, it’s clean, well-kept, a great place for making friends from all around the world, especially when the surf’s up from around mid-October through March.
Hosteling International Honolulu – This safe and clean hostel is located on the bus line, 8 miles from the airport and across from the University of Hawaii in the green, lower Manoa valley above Honolulu. It is a good thing it is located on the bus line because parking is scarce with only two spaces and rarely a space on the street.
This is in a quieter and cooler neighborhood than Waikiki, but keep in mind there are lots of college students so it may not be as private and quiet as you want. It’s about a 30-minute walk to Waikiki.
If you are arriving on a late flight and have a reservation they leave you a note with directions to your room and let you check in the next morning. The hostel features lockers, a shared but large kitchen, living room, patio and barbecue, laundry room and payphone (speaking of which to save money on local calls you should use anyway instead of a hotel phone) as well as discounts on local services and activities such as airport taxi, restaurants, snorkel gear and airport glider rides. There is also a library stocked with Hawaii reference materials.
Non-members stay in a dorm (separate for male and female) for $20 to $23 per night. However, a couple may stay in a private room for $50 to $56 per night, and they say to inquire about group and family accommodations.
Hosteling International Waikiki – Located one block from Waikiki Beach, this is a sister hostel to Hosteling International Honolulu. It’s on the bus line and offers many of the same features, as well as $5 a day parking, when available, and DSL Internet access for a fee. Since this is in Waikiki, rates are higher, but the hostel is larger and tends to be less crowded.
Rates include $25 to $28 per night in dorm for a non-member, and $58 to $64 per couple in a private room. If you are traveling with a family or group, give them a call. (they’re very polite). Taxes included.
Hawaii hostels vary greatly in ambiance and friendliness, so when researching further, check reviews before you choose one. In addition to Oahu hostels, you can find very nice hostels also on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii’s Big Island.