Hostels have long been a reliable option to stretch your travel budget, especially when flying solo.

Without others tagging along to split costs, sometimes hostels are the only realistic option when we want to check off a destination from our travel bucket list.

Solo travelers are here to stay, but like many prices across the board these days, hostels have seen a spike to the point that some travelers find themselves wondering if hostels are even worth a splurge.

Thankfully, there’s a new sheriff in town. Capsule hotels are overtaking the industry from the U.S. to Europe to Asia and everywhere in between.

Solo travelers account for over 85% of this new trend. The question is, “is booking a capsule hotel worth it?”.

Have Hostels Lost Their Appeal?

Hostels definitely have their drawbacks.

With increased prices, the small sacrifices you have to make by choosing this type of stay over a nice resort or even a 3-star hotel make it less enticing.

Female tourist sitting in capsule hotel

Reports were issued last year showing the crazy prices hostels are charging, seeming as if they are a full-service beachfront hotel rather than basic, lackluster digs.

Staying in hostels generally comes with a variety of room types ranging from sharing a dorm with potentially smelly, loud strangers to private rooms, but oftentimes having to share a bathroom.

When that’s the case, let’s just say trying new cuisine abroad doesn’t always bode well for this arrangement.

Nonetheless, it’s a new day and age for travelers as “revenge travel” has been in full force, where new trends have emerged.

Inside of capsule hotel

Travelers have had to get creative with soaring prices and that’s where capsule “hotels” come in to play.

Fun New Stay Or Fancy Casket?

Humans are natural procrastinators, so typically, if we handle our own funeral arrangements, we wait until time is ticking.

Some of us choose to turn to ashes, while others choose a wooden box to rest for eternity for the price of a used car.

If caskets aren’t good enough for the dead, we have to ask ourselves if a neon-lit box is good enough for us while we’re out living life to the fullest.

Feet up in capsule hotel

Let’s take a step back – a typical capsule hotel is outfitted like a space-age mausoleum with stacked boxes, sometimes referred to as “pods”, in a hostel-esque environment.

Think shared spaces, like community rooms, kitchens, and even bathrooms. That’s why the term “hotel” can be used loosely here.

These pods are your room, but they are definitely not roomy and can be claustrophobic.

Most are equipped with bright lights, power outlets, wifi, and televisions, and have just enough space to sleep, read a book, or use as a tight-squeezed office for digital nomads, depending on your height.

For Jet Lag And Tight Budgets: Capsule Hotels Are The Answer

Entrance to capsule hotel

In such a crammed space, you might be wondering what’s the benefit? The answer is savings!

In a world where everything seems to cost more, staying in a capsule hotel is the low-end of accommodations, yet new enough to have all the amenities you need.

As avid travelers, we’ve all found ourselves at one point or another fighting our number one arch nemesis – jet lag.

Sometimes it would be nice to have a safe space to nap, rather than splurge on a hotel just to catch up in a new time zone.

Solo traveler opening capsule hotel pod

While many capsule hotels are their own standalone buildings like any other type of stay, more and more are popping up at airports and train stations allowing travelers the unique opportunity to catch up on sleep on an hourly basis.

Many capsule hotels can be booked online ahead of time when you know you’ll need some extra shuteye.

My Own Experiences With Capsule Hotels

I have stayed in 3 capsule hotels. One in Reykjavik, one in Bogota, and one in Kiev, before, well, you know…

Pillows and laptop inside capsule hotel pod

Sad to say Reykjavik’s is no longer open as that would be a great way to save money in one of Europe’s most expensive destinations.

Bogota, however, is a different story. The price was $12 per night and is representative of a typical capsule hotel stay.

I was assigned a “room” and surprisingly slept comfortably at nearly 6 feet tall and was able to use my laptop to watch Netflix.

Here is what I don’t like:

  • Power outlets did not work at all 3 of my stays
  • Wifi is spotty inside the pods
  • TV’s are often presented as having cable, but none of them ever did
  • Pods are awkward to clean. There can be crumbs and food wrappers on the sides of the mattress

Pillow and towel provided for capsule hotel

Here is what I do like:

  • Almost always cheap
  • Easy to book in advance
  • Convenient to catch up on sleep
  • Oftentimes in a great location
  • Great way to meet fellow travelers
  • Rooms lock for safety concerns and keeping valuables safe
  • Bathrooms have always been clean despite shared use

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