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hostels

Hostel vs Budget Hotel – Give Me a Hostel Any Day

I’ve been staying in hostels for most of The Undeniable Tour, mainly for economic reasons. There was one area that didn’t have a hostel so I opted to stay in a budget-friendly hotel. After comparing the two, I’d rather stay in a hostel any day.

My bunk at the hostel in Hollywood

My bunk at the hostel in Hollywood

Feels Safer
I feel safer staying in a hostel dorm room than I do staying in a hotel. For one, there are other people around. Every night in a hostel this trip, I’ve had between 2 and 23 roommates. There’s no funny business going on with an audience. The door to the dorm room has a lock and everyone has a locker in the room where they can lock up their luggage, but I’ve seen people leave their laptops on their beds without worry.

Each hostel has a staff, and most have someone working the desk 24 hours a day. They’re the gatekeepers who keep non-guests out. Many have front doors that are locked at night, unlike hotels that are usually open all the time.

Because I feel safer in a hostel than a hotel, I tend to sleep better. Usually it doesn’t bother me if someone snores or turns on the light once I fall asleep.

Communal Kitchen
Hostels come with kitchen that is stocked with all the typical kitchen tools so you can bring food and cook for yourself. Many hostels have a “Free Food” section of food that’s been left from previous guests too. Everyone seems to be respectful of others’ food – you label your food when you put it in the fridge or cupboard. If anything, people seem to be offering to share what they have.

Community Resources
Hostels are made for adventurous travelers. More than hotels, hostels are teeming with maps, lists of nearby restaurants, shops, and attractions, and many hostels organize outings for their guests.

Better Value
When I travel, I typically need a room to sleep and Wi-Fi to check my email. Sometimes extra bells and whistles are nice, but they’re not necessary. And it’s ironic that the more expensive hotels charge for Wi-Fi whereas many hostel stays come with free Wi-Fi and breakfast. I’d rather pay $22-50/night to stay in a bunk bed in a hostel than $50+ to stay at a budget-friendly hotel.

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Burning Books

No, I’m not advocating the burning of actual literature, but it is one of my sub-themes for The Undeniable Tour.

These are the Books that Started The Undeniable Tour with Me.

These are the Books that Started The Undeniable Tour with Me.

“Burn your books” is something I got from the movie, “Wild.” Reese Witherspoon’s character walked the Pacific Crest Trail and started out with way too much stuff in her pack. It was so cumbersome that she could only walk 5 miles a day. Along with cleaning out the superfluous stuff in her pack, an experienced outdoorsman advised her to tear the pages out of her books as she was reading them so they wouldn’t add weight to her pack. I’m doing something similar for my trip.

As I was packing for my trip, I put 6 books in my bag. Yes, the aspiring minimalist took 6 books on a 2-week trip. But I swear there’s method to my madness. Two of my books are copies of Flash Mob Law which are gifts. They won’t be coming home with me.

The other 4 books are from my “Read Me” box. When I finished my “packing party” I had a banker box of books that I’d been holding onto because I wanted to read them eventually. I made myself a deal – I had 1 year to read these books. If there’s a book in the box at the end of this year, I can’t be that motivated to read it so I should get rid of it. I threw 4 of these books in my bag. Most of them are thin and paperbacks – easy to tote around in a suitcase or backpack.

I tend to read a lot when I travel – it’s a great way to fill down time. I think every hostel I’m staying at has a book exchange where you can leave books you finish and grab new free ones if you’re so inclined. Instead of actually burning my books when I’m done reading them, I’ll be leaving each one behind wherever I finish it. I like that I’ll be passing along my books to fellow travelers.

My first book is Lilith’s Love by Dan Shuarette. I won this book at Podcamp AZ years ago and I’m finally getting around to reading it. I’m only about a quarter of the way in but I’m enjoying it. Check it out if you’re interested in vampire fiction. (And I’m someone who has no interest in Twilight.)

Hopefully I’ll finish all my books on this trip and I’ll be going home with a lighter bag than when I left.

Minimalist Packing for The Undeniable Tour

The last time I wrote about incorporating minimalism into packing for a trip, I was only going to be away for a weekend. I could write out the list of all the activities I would be doing and determine exactly what I needed to bring in terms of clothing. I ended up using every garment I packed.

Now I’m getting ready to go on a two-week road trip that spans from San Diego to Seattle, with temperatures that are expected to range from the mid-40s to the mid-80s and weather that includes sun and rain. This is also a trip that includes five speaking engagements, other professional meetings, a handful of meetups with friends, and working out. How do I pack for that?

The good news is I will be staying at hostels that have on-site laundry, so I really only have to pack for a week, and bring enough layers to accommodate the weather. I looked at a few videos online by minimalists who are on the road a lot and people who live out of a backpack while traveling for suggestions. Here is a partial list of the things I will take with me:

  • My Hustle Your Face Off shirts - made by Brand X Custom T-shirts

    My Hustle Your Face Off shirts – made by Brand X Custom T-shirts

    2 pairs of jeans – 1 pair that’s heavier weight for colder climates

  • My Legal Rebel Chuck Taylors – for speaking
  • “Hustle Your Face Off” shirts – for speaking/meetings
  • Black blazer – for speaking/meetings
  • Hooded windbreaker
  • Zip-up sweatshirt
  • Legal Rebel Chuck Taylors

    Legal Rebel Chuck Taylors

    2 tank tops

  • 2 short-sleeve shirts
  • Running shoes
  • Yoga pants
  • Running shorts
  • 2 or 3 running shirts
  • Bathing suit
  • Pajamas
  • Undergarments and socks

Since I’m going to be staying mainly in hostels, I will be taking a few specialty travel items like a padlock (to lock my backpack in a locker when I don’t want to carry it around), and extension cord, a camping towel, and gallon-size bags. I learned the hard way that it is important to have what you need to get ready for a day in one place for convenience and courtesy purposes.

When I stayed in a hostel last month, I didn’t lay my stuff out for the next day as well as I could have because my roommate and I realized that we were setting our alarms for the same time so I expected there to be no problem with turning on lights and making noise. Unfortunately, we were in a four-person dorm and we got a third roommate around 1:30 in the morning. I felt bad for our new roommate because I needed to turn on the light and dig around in my suitcase to take a shower, get ready, and pack my things while she was trying to sleep.

My plan for this trip is to put at least my shirt, socks, and underwear for the next day in one bag, my toiletries for the morning in another bag, and drape my jeans and camping towel across the foot of my bed before I go to sleep at night so it’s easy to grab what I need to hit the shower and get dressed in the morning.

I’ve never incorporated minimalism into my travel plans look quite like this, so I’m curious to see how well it works out. My goal is to pack lightly and still be comfortable at all times.