August 31, 2019

Hosteling Arrives in America

The concept of hosteling was first popularized in Europe in the early 1900s. The name “youth hostel” comes from hosteling’s origins. An urban German school teacher wanted a way for students to explore the countryside. Students stayed at host schools while traveling. By the 1930s, there were 2,000 hostels in Germany and another 600 throughout Europe.

The first American hostel opened in 1934 in Massachusetts. American hostels were primarily located in New England. They were popular among travelers who went by foot or by bicycle. At Cream City Hostel, we enjoy meeting cycle tourists! We have a bike shop onsite and host travelers arriving by bicycle and motorbike often.

Building Layout

Hostels are different than hotels because they have shared dorm rooms. Some hostels (like ours) offer private rooms as well as dorm-style accommodations with bunk beds.

six bed dorm

Bathrooms can be shared by a floor, by the room (ensuite) or be specific to a private room, depending on the hostel.

In the 2000s, increasingly-connected travelers began to value amenities like digital work spaces with plenty of power outlets, bars and restaurants onsite and fast wifi. Hostels around the world evolved to become more upscale. The term “flashpacker” came into existence to define a backpacker with a little larger budget who was willing to spend more on accommodations that would make them feel more comfortable.

Super Social

Throughout history, one thing hostels have always had are stories. Travelers staying at Cream City Hostel have visited us from as close as Chicago and as far away as Japan. You never know who you are going to meet. A small conversation could turn into a decades-long relationship.

Hostels are a great place to meet people from all over the world, but also for those from all over the world to meet locals. That’s why we love being close to so many great local businesses. Our guests have the resources they need to explore and learn more about Milwaukee by kayak, over a pint of beer or a cup of tea or by simply roaming around on a rented bicycle.

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