I first became aware of the HI Austin Hostel through Girl Scouts, which has a patch for those scouts who stay at a hostel! I explained to my daughter that hostels were usually non-profits that exist to offer budget friendly places to stay and promote international travel! As soon as we arrived at HI Austin, we were greeted by other guest who were from all over the world; Australia, Africa, the Netherlands and China! I had been a little concerned about being “significantly older” than the other guest, and about what my 14 year-old daughter might inadvertently be exposed to, but I was quite pleased to not only meet other guest older than me, some traveling by themselves and others with friends, and that the entire environment was not only appropriate but extremely educational for my daughter! We had such a great time that she and I are already looking forward to visiting other hostels!
Know Before You Go
Doors lock at 10pm, but your room key will get you inside.
Like most hostels, HI Austin offers dorm-style sleeping, some that are co-ed and some that are same sex. Since I was traveling with my 14-year-old daughter, we stayed in a private room, with a shared bathroom right across the hall. No one was staying in the other private room, and it was as if we had the bathroom to ourselves!
I’m always looking for good places to read a book, and that’s just what I did on Sunday morning before breakfast, I curled up on one of the chairs, thoroughly enjoying the lack of television, and read a book, although I would occasionally glance up at the waterfront view outside the windows to watch the sculling team practicing on the lake.
On Saturday evening, the common room was full of laughter as people with various accents all played a board game and chatted until about 10pm, when everyone had either gone out or gone to bed.
There is a large selection of board games and travel books that can be borrowed.
I LOVED the big, common kitchen! Guest can cook, keep supplies in assigned cubbies or in the big, commercial refrigerator. You are responsible for cleaning up after yourself. On Sunday morning, they have a pour-it-yourself pancake breakfast. Once or twice a week they offer a DIY Pizza Dinner.
An experienced traveler speaks about a different international destination during Travel Talk and Dinner, which includes a meal from the region of the discussion. A $5 donation is appreciated.
While drinking is not allowed in the Hostel, they do offer occasional Happy Hour, when a local brewery or winery is featured, and complimentary drinks are offered while guest visit in a social atmosphere.
Travel Movie Day is a chance to watch a movie, eat some popcorn and meet new people all with a travel theme. Movies are viewed outside if the weather permits.
Yoga classes are offered in the backyard, weather permitting, by the side of scenic Ladybird Lake.
Austin Hike and Bike Trail
While planning our trip, I was thrilled that the Austin Hike and Bike trail, that runs around Ladybird Lake goes right by HI Austin! We packed our bikes and hit the trail early Sunday morning! It’s a great location if you want to see the new Boardwalk or watch the bats emerge from under the Congress Ave. bridge!
HI Austin rents bikes, too!
Epic SUP, just steps away from HI Austin, rents paddleboards! Click HERE to visit their website.
Nearby Things To Do
HI Austin is only minutes away from Downtown Austin and Congress Ave. We headed to dinner at Threadgills on Riverfront, then down to Congress Ave. for the BEST cupcakes at Hey, Cupcake! and enjoyed all the sights of Congress Ave. on a Saturday night! It’s not 6th street, but since she and I did the French Quarter over the summer, I think she could handle it.
HI Austin is one of the approved Girl Scout hostels, and they also offer a Cultural Kitchen Program for scouts and other youth organizations. Click HERE to read more.
HI Austin is part of the Hostel International network, which has hostels all over the world, and over 50 in the United States. HI Morty Rich Hostel is the next on our list, located in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood in a 1917 mansion once owned by the Houston major. Click HERE to visit their website.
Hostel.com and Hostelworld are two sites where you can find international hostels, and more in Texas. They also list some hotels, so just be sure and read the reviews.
Some hostels offer a bartering system, where they exchange work for a night’s stay. Some do not allow anyone under the age of 18, and while most have a maximum stay, some allow short-term living. Before traveling with your family, call and speak to the staff, who will usually tell you if it’s family-friendly or not.
Austin Hostel Weekend
Our stay at HI Austin was the part of what we refer to our Austin Hostel Weekend. My daughter and I started at the Austin Aquarium, followed by a pork chop lunch at Shady Grove under the huge trees. To work it off, we climbed to the top of Mount Bonnell, with incredible views of the Colorado River below! We left our mark at the Castle Hills Graffiti Park, and waited in the never-ending line at the Magnolia Cafe, where I spiced up my life with a new love affair with Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce, made in Austin and incredible! Our after dark window-shopping in the funky stores of South Congress Ave., or SoCo, was the follow-up to dinner at the legendary Threadgills, and dessert at Hey Cupcake! a food truck advertised with a bright pink cupcake on top! It was a hard decision, as we also love Amy’s (naughty) Ice Cream, but that Sweetberry cupcake has never lied to me yet. We also stayed at our first hostel, HI Austin, on the shore of Ladybird Lake, where we met people from around the world! The 10-mile Austin Hike and Bike Trail winds right past the backdoor of Hi Austin, and we brought our bikes for a Sunday ride! We rode the still-new Austin Boardwalk, petted pups in the dog parks, envied swimmers in Barton Springs year-round 70 degrees waters, and posed with Stevie Ray, but our biggest adventure was what we found lying on the trail under Congress Ave.! To read the next post, please click HERE.
HI Austin Hostel
2200 South Lakeshore Blvd. Austin
Click HERE to visit their website.
Click HERE to visit their facebook page.
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