When I was abroad I forgot how unutilized hostels are in America. So when I first started looking at places to stay in California and Oregon on my recent road trip, I was astounded at the lack of choices there are for budget accommodations, with the exception of camping and couchsurfing.
It saddens me that there aren’t more options for budget travel around the States. It’s no wonder so many Americans think it’s so expensive to travel, it’s hard enough to do on a budget while in our home country. In addition to that, the few hostels that I do find around the States are much different from the ones you find abroad, that is, a tad more sketchy than most.
However, there is hope for the budget-friendly traveler in the USA. And my goal, for the next year while I’m living in the States is to find as many decent hostels as I can for other travelers to take advantage of in their own trips around the country. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find what you’re looking for.
In my quest to find affordable accommodation in the States, my eyes lit up when I saw that Ashland had not one, but two hostels in town!
I chose to stay at the Ashland Commons for a night simply based on how quickly the owners, Rob & Linda, wrote back to me welcoming me to their hostel abode. It also seemed a little more unique and off the beaten track than the other hostel in town, The Ashland Hostel. The reviews between the two were comparable to each other, so I figured why not go for the one with a tad more mystery.
In case you’re wondering, Ashland is a little town in Southern Oregon very near the California-Oregon border. It’s an elegant looking town with a tight-knit community, hidden coffee spots, rolling hills, and the famous Shakespeare Festival that comes through town every summer season. It’s the perfect place to relax, slow down, and enjoy the artsy side of life. I’ll be talking more about Ashland in a future post and what all there is to do there, so get ready for some colorful and pretty pictures!
After admiring the scenery around town, I drove into the Ashland Commons parking lot and knew that I had made the right choice.
I felt so welcomed by the owner, Rob. He came out to greet me and asked if I needed help with my bags, besides the fact that he had just severely injured his leg in a paragliding accident. He continued to spend a half hour discussing what to do in Ashland, the history of the hostel, and questions about my life and what led me to Southern Oregon.
The hostel was practical and simple, with interesting artwork and humor hidden in different places. The sleep sacks on the beds were handmade by Linda. Everything about the place was homey, relaxed, and friendly.
I never had the chance to meet my roommate who was out and about the whole time I was there, but I stayed in a standard sized room with one bunk bed, a night stand, closet and window. It’s probably good to note as well that there are no mixed dorms here. So, if you’re traveling as a couple you may want to book your own private room.
You may laugh, but one aspect I liked about the Ashland Commons was being provided with a towel. Now, that may seem like a small addition, but as someone who had stayed in many hostels that lack that feature, it was a very nice added bonus. Especially since I realized back in San Francisco that I had forgotten to pack a towel when I left Portland, whoops!
There was a large kitchen that had more of that “home” feel than most industrial hostel kitchens, although I didn’t get the chance to cook in it while I was there.
The only downside with the Ashland Commons was the fact that it seemed a bit desolate when I was there. Not that I was expecting a party hostel, but I didn’t come across many other people socializing.
With that said, it was a good quiet hostel if you’re looking for a little peace and alone time. Also, the abundance of outdoor areas to sit and commune around were great for the nice weather while I was there.
Lastly, the location was just about perfect. The hostel is located about half a mile from downtown, which translated to a 15 minute walk for me.
It was in a residential part of town and luckily just about all of Ashland is pretty safe, so I felt fine walking back and forth between town and the hostel. There are not a ton of street lights at night around certain parts of the walk back, so if you’re uncomfortable with that, it’s only a few minutes drive from town if you have a car.
I personally would stay there again and recommend it to other travelers that are looking for a budget-friendly option in their Oregon travels. Don’t expect luxury, but do expect a practical and friendly accommodation at the Ashland Commons and owners that will welcome you kindly.
I can safely say that it was a much more personal hostel than others that I have stayed at in the past, which worked well in the small-town vibe of Ashland.
As I said, I’m always looking for good hostels in the USA and the Ashland Commons fit well into what I was looking for.
Note: The Ashland Commons generously hosted me for a night, but all opinions, as always, are my own.
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