Solo travel can be invigorating, enlightening -- and terribly lonely. Introducing yourself to a total stranger can feel creepy, anxiety-provoking and awkward -- especially when you don't have a friend or two backing you up. If you're like me, you crave context before striking up a conversation as a solo traveler.
Traveling alone for an extended period means you spend a lot of time inside your own head. Alone, bombarded with new stimuli at every turn, your mind can truly appreciate the juxtaposition of people, places and things. Most importantly, you're going to think deeply about whether you're living your life meaningfully.
What to do when you want to avoid bunk beds but still save money and meet like-minded travelers? We scoped out eight hostels around the world that offer low rates, stylish design, cool locations, private rooms, and the occasional shared (but clean, we promise) bathroom. No flip-flops or ear plugs required!