Coliving vs Hostel: Where To Stay On Your Next Trip?

In this post I’m going to put coliving vs hostel to the test.

So if you’re looking for a deep comparison of these two options for your next trip, you’ve come to the right place.

Because in today’s post I’m going to compare staying at a coliving vs hostel in terms of:

  • Philosophy
  • Rooms and Amenities
  • Community
  • Pricing

Ready? Let’s go!

Comparative picture of a coliving vs hostel

Philosophy: Why do they exist?

This might be the most important difference among both. I mean, why do we have these options in the first place?

Let’s begin with the first to came in existence:

Hostels

As budget traveling became more affordable in the last years, people started to explore with cheaper accommodation options. Why don’t we split a single room into 16 beds and charge the minimum?

Bunk beds at a hostel

For budget travelers, that didn’t matter as there was a place to rest today. The next day you could accomplish your objective of exploring the destination you’re in. So hostels were born.

Backpacker or budget traveler exploring a city

Coliving

Coliving spaces have a different background.

As you may know, because of technology’s disruption and rise, cities in the world began to flourish with high-income jobs related to this field. So people started to move there, but rents increased at the same time. For example, San Francisco’s 1-bedroom apartment median rent was $2,451 in 2011 vs $3,783 in 2020.

San Francisco's housing view from above

The solution wasn’t just splitting rooms into multiple beds like hostels for short-term stays. But offering a “community” of like-minded peers who shared similar values and objectives. I mean, if someone was planning to stay in the city while it works there, it has to be enjoyable at least. So the concept of coliving was born.

Girls pointing at a laptop screen

In a nutshell: While hostels were created for the short-term budget travelers, coliving was born out of the necessity of affordable accommodation for the long-term professionals.

Rooms and Amenities: What to expect when staying at a coliving vs hostel?

This is a section where it’s worth mentioning that there is not an established criterion to measure these.

While both, coliving and hostels, are similar on its offer of providing shared and private rooms to stay, the main difference comes out of the amenities.

Hostels

Remember what I told you about hostels being places created for short-term stays? Well, based on this philosophy, most of them provide the most basic amenities for your time there.

View of inside a hostel

Shared restrooms, kitchen, internet and free breakfast on occasions, are some things you may be offered by most of these. The idea about it (again) is that guests will not spend a lot of its days inside the hostel, but outside, exploring the town or city.

When talking about the rooms you may find different choices, according to the hotel’s type, but most of them will provide at least a bed in a shared room, with the option to book a private one on some, for a higher price.

Young women at a shared room of a hostel

Coliving

Even though you may not find free breakfast on these, the rest of the amenities will be similar to those from a hostel: restrooms, dining room, kitchen and internet.

The advantage of these spaces, based on its philosophy of longer stays and type of guests staying there, comes with the infrastructure built to work.

With this, I mean that most of the coliving spaces provide blazing-fast internet and some of them even a coworking space to get some work done, specially useful if you’re a digital nomad or remote worker.

Guys working at U-Co coworking space

Rooms here also come in different choices, while the most common are also the ones offering a bed or capsule in a shared room and a private for a higher price. The difference with hostels rely on a focus at privacy, as this is supposed to be a place to stay for a long time.

Two young women at a shared room with 6 capsule beds

They also rely heavily on shared spaces to foster community among its members. Just as a house has living rooms to let its family members share some spare time. This is something so important in this comparison that we’ve even created a dedicated section to it, which is the following one.

Community: The determining factor

Let’s quickly recap here.

If you have ever stayed at a hostel, you may know it’s a friendly place at it’s best. So, as a professional looking for an affordable price to crash in, it may seem like a good option.

Except is not, specially if you’re looking for a place where you can nurture relationships and expand your professional network.

Hostels love community, for sure. But most of the people staying there doesn’t get to know each other so good that they can form deep relationships. This is mainly because people there doesn’t stay for a long time.

And when they do, you might find that most of the time they don’t share the ideas you have. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of staying at one is just having a cheap bed to sleep and a nice time to have.

Party at a hostel

Coliving on the other side, is an intentional community. This means that the people choosing to live at one of these places, are not just looking for a place to stay. They look for a group of people whom they can share its professional goals and with this, grow its network.

This is a determining factor in the way that it takes roommates to another level, by making your living affordable, and professionally rich at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hacker, a digital nomad or a sustainable farmer, there’s a coliving space for you somewhere.

Young guys discussing something in U-Co's kitchen

Pricing: How different are both?

Finally, what this has been all about.

As we have discussed, both solutions appeared on the market as an answer to the rising living costs. So for some, this might be the actual determining factor on which one to choose.

Hostels

Without digging further, hostels are without a doubt the most affordable option when it comes to both. From prices as cheap as $5 per night on developing countries, there are any kinds of hostels for any budget.

Be aware that most of these may just provide the very basics when it comes to what’s included, but expect to find at least a bed to sleep. Anything else is an extra.

Couple sitting down at a hostel's couch

Coliving

A bit more expensive than hostels, though not so much. The cheapest coliving spaces might charge you as low as $15 to $20 per night, but most of them provide the amenities previously discussed.

Worth mentioning that most of these will expect you to pay in a weekly to monthly basis at a normal rate, with some of them offering discounts for these long stays. Though, many of them allow you to book for a single night.

Woman smiling in front of an art wall

Coliving vs Hostel: And The Winner Is…

Up to you definitely.

What makes a difference on coliving pricing is not just that they might be a bit more expensive than hostels most of the time, but the worthiness of what you get in return for your investment.

All the things we mentioned that come with the benefits of living in a coliving vs a hostel will provide different value for everyone. It just depends on what you’re looking for now.

  • Are you a solo traveler looking for a place to sleep for a night? Stay in a hostel.
  • Are you a backpacker exploring the world in the cheapest way possible? Stay in a hostel.
  • Are you a digital nomad looking for a soft landing into a new city? Stay in a coliving.
  • Are you a professional moving into an expensive city? Stay in a coliving.

Tell us, have you stayed at one or both? What was your experience?

Let us know by leaving a comment below right now! 👇

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