With the rise of digital nomad culture, savvy businesses are now catering to travellers who want to combine work and play - and that includes hostels.
There can be a perception that all digital nomads are running tech companies and earning big bucks. But this is far from the case.
Many are in the early stage of their careers and are taking advantage of being lower down the professional food chain to work shorter hours and make the most of their freedom.
In a recent survey from Hostelworld, a leading global online travel agent that accounted for around 1.5 million hostel bookings in 2021, one in five respondents said they would stay in a hostel while working remotely.
And although cafes and restaurants remain the most popular places for digital nomads to work from, a third of respondents said a hostel would be their next preferred option.
To mark this trend, Hostelworld’s annual HOSCAR awards introduced a digital nomad category for the first time this year. Winners were shortlisted based on a public vote and then chosen by a judging panel of industry experts.
Here are the five hostels that have been crowned the best for digital nomads in 2022.
Co404, Mexico: by digital nomads, for digital nomads
Close to Palenque, Indigenous villages and jungle trekking, Co404 in pretty San Cristobal de las Casas might just be the perfect location for people wanting to combine travel with work.
This light-filled Chiapas hostel was specifically designed for digital nomads by digital nomads. The aim was to build a comfortable workplace in Mexico for those who also want to socialise outside of work hours.
Understanding the importance of strong wifi, Co404 has two networks so that if one crashes there’s always a back-up. There’s also a four-night minimum stay, to help build a community among residents.
Yellow Square, Italy: tech enhancements for media types
This Rome fixture near Termini Station has live bands, a cheap street-level bar and guest experiences such as cooking classes and shopping tours. But it’s also made a name for itself with its co-working technology.
Remote workers can book a dedicated quiet space with desktop and printer access in Yellow Square’s co-working hall.
But creative media types can get even more than that, as the hostel offers free gear and equipment for influencers and photographers. There’s even a special soundproofed room for being on calls or recording podcasts.
Viajero Medellin Hostel, Colombia: after-work party vibes
In the Andean city of Medellin, this smart hostel was the HOSCARs overall winner in the digital nomad category. It’s in El Poblado, a neighbourhood near the city’s trendiest bar area. And it’s well set up for digital nomads with a co-working space on the ground floor.
Above the Colombian co-working space there’s a restaurant where you can eat while you work, plus a jacuzzi on the rooftop for post-work wind-down. There’s also private ensuite rooms if you need a good night’s sleep.
Draper Startup House, India: the home of entrepreneurs
The hostel is run by Tribe Theory, a global hostel chain with an ambitious target to enable a million entrepreneurs by 2030 (though we’re not sure that’s really measurable).
Draper Startup House’s big selling point is that it runs a schedule of networking events and gives guests access to mentors that can help you scale your ideas.
Take Hostel Conil, Spain: for active, seaside living
The panoramic seaview lounge and proximity to watersports, including kitesurfing and windsurfing, have made Take Hostel Conil a big hit with digital nomads. So popular, in fact, that the hostel recently upgraded its facilities to cater for remote workers’ needs.
Digital nomads can now reserve two new spaces, one 100 metres from the beach and another in the hostel's surf school. The hostel's main co-working area also includes private workspaces for meetings, high-speed wifi, a coffee machine and printing facilities.
Special deals are available for digital nomads who want to plan a longer stay.