Flashpackers: The best upgrades to your hostel experience

As a travelling gypsy I have stayed in all sorts of hostels around the world; some I have been pleasantly surprised about and some I couldn’t wait to pack my suitcase and leave. As I get older, no longer do I want to settle on comfort nor hygiene. Granted, that in a previous life, my choices all came down to having a shoestring budget. The stakes and expectations now have been raised but that does not necessarily mean that the budget has to skyrocket either, especially in Iceland.

Backpacking is not all about slumming it up on the cheap. Sure there is that perception that when it comes to budget accommodation, hostel life is about comprising standards to stretch that dollar further by sucking up those sleepless nights on uncomfortable loose spring mattresses, bad pressure showers and feeling crammed. It all sounds horrid right? If you are going to have the holiday of a lifetime abroad, ain’t nobody got time for that!

Let me make it clear, not all hostels are like that.

Times are changing, standards have been raised. Welcome to the flashpacker age where now you can have those creature comforts and not pay through the roof. It isn’t about comprising anymore, its just that a new hostel experience has been created.

Here are my favourite flashpacker hostels that will make you want to hop on a plane quick fast, plonk your backpack down and feel those good vibes because once you do, you will find it hard to leave!

Hostel Ani & Haakien, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Once you enter the doors of this hostel, you would feel like you have stumbled upon one mighty hip house. With retro décor and furnishings including a grandma-esque lounge, this is the type of place where it feels like a home away from home and you find yourself feeling a bit too comfortable here. Throw in an equipped kitchen, cute patio and table tennis in this open plan communal area, this is one stylish Big Brother fun house you can easily meet people and want to vacate.

With its clean, spacious rooms and showers to boot plus a convenient location close to all the Rotterdam action (and conveniently 600 metres away from the main station), this hostel is one that will definitely make your stay ever so pleasant.

Hostel Ani & Haakien, Coolsestraat 47-49, 3014 LC Rotterdam, Netherlands

Spin Designer Hostel, El Nido, Philippines

This hostel takes backpacking to a whole new level. Yes, it may be dearer that other accommodation in town but it is certainly well worth those pesos. Just shy of being a year old, this hostel gives off the vibe of a clean cut urban oasis with its large glass funnel windows centrepiece soaking in the Filipino sun as well as the surrounding tropical greenery. With its airy open plan, this place is not only inviting but oozes chill and is only a short stroll away from the centre of town.

You know things are on a next level when you want to rush straight to the bedroom and take your kit off when you know there is a queen sized bed waiting for you. Away with the singles, Spin’s beds allow you to starfish all over. With plenty of room to store your luggage also, this is well and truly a dream hostel in a utopian location. The showers are pure joy with rainwater shower heads and great pressure with windows looking out to the tropical surrounds.

With its generous free breakfast of freshly cooked thick pancakes, omelette egg man on standby and free coffee and juice for all, you will find yourself skipping lunch as you have free range to load up your plate. Hostel perfection in a pristine paradise!

Spin Designer Hostel, Balinsasayaw Road cor. Calle Real, El Nido, 5313 Palawan, Philippines

KEX Hostel, Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland maybe be cold outside but this hostel certainly knows how to give you a warm feeling inside. Step inside to this former biscuit factory and you will be pleasantly surprised with its vintage finishing’s sourced from around the world and retro interior that makes you feel like you have stumbled upon the home away from home!

It is certainly hard to leave this place when they have a bustling bar and restaurant that is offering hearty food cooked with quality ingredients. It isn’t just a place for the travellers either as KEX hostel attracts the locals making it even more of a local experience when it is easy to mingle in on your home ground!

The hostel comprises of four floors of mixed private rooms and dorms. The dorms are ever so spacious and allow for adequate space to store all luggage as well as having free lockers. The bathrooms are equipped with their own toilet and shower so there is no need for that awkward moment of getting changed or working out a way of where to out your belongings.

The highlight of this hostel is the reception area where it is common ground for the lobby, lounge area to chill and look out to the mountains and lake opposite the hostel – well when in Iceland kind of hard not to see beautiful landscape everywhere! With it being a short stroll away from the centre of town, this hostel is not only perfect on the wallet in an ever expensive country but certainly adds sugar to any Reykjavik stay!

KEX Hostel, Skúlagata 28, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Image Source: Hostel Ani & Haakien and Spin Designer Hostel

Have you stayed at a flashpacker before? Let me know of your experience!