Pack up your ukulele and your flip-flops, you are going to be singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the dramatic coastline of Hawaii! With golden beaches and stunning mist-shrouded volcanoes, the Hawaiian island of Oahu is the standard for dream vacations!
Divided evenly between tourist hubs in Honolulu, lush farmland, and secluded beaches, Oahu offers travelers a little bit of everything when it comes to Hawaiian living. From local culture to natural beauty, you can find it all on Oahu!
While you may be sold on the gorgeous waters and life-changing hikes, the prices of a hotel and lack of hostels is sure to make travelers rethink traveling to Oahu.
Keep packing up your swim trunks, we will get you to Hawaii in no time! With this stress-free guide, we put all the best hostels in Oahu in one place!
Do you hear that fire crackling? Your Hawaiian luau starts here!
Table of Contents
Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Oahu
- Best Overall Hostel in Oahu – The Beach Waikiki
- Best Party Hostel in Oahu – Polynesian Hostel Beach Club
- Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Oahu – HI Honolulu
- Best Cheap Hostel in Oahu – Shark Cove Rentals
- Best Hostel for Couples in Oahu – Backpackers Hostel
- Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Oahu – Seaside Hawaiian Hostel
- Best Hostel with a Private Room in Oahu – Holiday Surf Hotel
Best Hostels in Oahu
Remember: Oahu is an entire island in Hawaii, which means that there are lots of different accommodation options. We’ve got the best hostels in Oahu listed below, but if you want something different, there are a lot more places to stay on the island.
Best Overall Hostel in Oahu – The Beach Waikiki
- Rooftop Terrace
- Pizza Nights
- Bike Rentals
If you are wanting to get a taste of everything while backpacking Hawaii then this is the hostel just for you! Being only a block and a half away from the beach means that it won’t be long after you check-in that you are sinking your toes in the sand and going in for a dip! The Beach Waikiki will also hook you up with free boogie boards, mats, and much more so that you have the best beach experience imaginable!
I fun isn’t just in the sand. This backpackers hostel also has its very own rooftop terrace, free pizza nights, and lounges perfect for hanging out and meeting other backpackers. With nature hikes and the town nearby, nothing is too far away from The Beach Hostel!
Best Party Hostel in Oahu – Polynesian Hostel Beach Club
- DJ Boat Cruises
- Free Pancakes!
Looking to really let loose and party your way through Hawaii? Look no further than the Polynesian Hostel and Beach Club! At this backpackers hostel, the chill vibes and drinks will make you want to book into the hostel, but the party will make you never want to leave! It’s not just that party inside Polynesian Hostel which will knock your socks off, but wait until you sign up for one of their famous DJ boat cruises!
Have we not mentioned the food yet? At Polynesian backpackers hostel, you will have barbeque to go along with that beer as well as a free pancake breakfast every morning!
Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Oahu – HI Honolulu
- Boogie Boards
- Snorkel Gear
When you see those words “Hosteling International” slapped in front of a name, you are what kind of quality stay you are in for. Get ready for cozy dorm rooms, spacious lounges, and the chance to meet backpackers from all over the world. While they may lack some of the bells and whistles that other hostels pride themselves off of HI Honolulu is sure to be your standard for an amazing hostel.
How could we forget the beach! You will find Waikiki Beach just a short walk away from the hostel and HI Honolulu will hook you up with all the boards and snorkel gear you need so you can truly make a splash!
Best Cheap Hostel in Oahu – Sharks Cove Rentals
- Snorkel Gear
- Bike Rentals
As you may have already discovered, visiting Hawaii on a budget isn’t exactly easy! While we can’t promise to find you a truly “dirt cheap” backpackers hostel, we can show you this cheaper hostel! Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Sharks Cove offers you, weary backpackers, some discounted beds and a location just minutes away from the beach!
With comfortable lounges to kick back and relax in and even snorkel gear and bike rentals, Sharks Cove has everything you need to enjoy Hawaii both inside the hostel and out!
Best Hostel for Couples in Oahu – Backpackers Hostel
- Shared Kitchen
- Bicycle Rentals
- Beach Views
Traveling as a backpacker couple is not easy, especially when you are traveling in a country as expensive as the United States. Let’s book you guys into this romantic seaside cabin hostel where you won’t be breaking the bank but still enjoying that perfect Hawaiian getaway with your boo.
From this Backpackers Hostel’s front porch you can feel that ocean breeze and see the breathtaking beaches of Oahu, and this is just the beginning! You will be staying in homey rooms, which give you access to the onsite lounge, shared kitchen, and free snorkel equipment for when you are ready to take a dip!
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Oahu – Seaside Hawaiian Hostel
- Outdoor Patio
- Shared Kitchen
- Movie Nights
Traveling as a digital nomad is not easy. In order to get that new blog post of video uploaded, you will need a quiet place to work with a stable internet connection. Not to mention in Hawaii you will also have to find a hostel which won’t be sending you to the poor house after a few nights stay.
Seaside Hawaiian Hostel is your shining castle on the hill! With spacious lounges, an outdoor terrace, and an internet connection which won’t have you slamming your laptop against the wall, you can be sure to get your work done in peace!
Finally got everything edited? Seaside Hawaiian Hostel will get the fun started with free boogie boards and snorkel equipment, cheap surfboard rentals, and bars a few houses down! Oh, we almost forgot, the beach is just s stone’s throw away from your dorm bed!
Best Hostel with a Private Room in Oahu – Holiday Surf Hotel
- Located on Waikiki Beach
- Shared Kitchen
Needing to take a break from those backpackers hostels and get some badly needed alone time? Why not check yourself into a hotel for a few days? At the Holiday Surf Hotel, you will be staying in your very own private room without totally emptying out your wallet!
It’s not just the single rooms with balconies overlooking the city or sea that will have you extending your stay night after night. Holiday Surf Hotel also includes a shared kitchen and a location which put you just a few minutes away from lounging out on the beach!
More Best Hostels in Oahu
Wanting to find the best beaches in Oahu? Kalani Private Lodging will have you staying just minutes away from the location of the international surfing championship. You don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy the waves though, just lay out your towel and soak up some rays!
The laid back vibes of Kalani backpackers hostel is what will truly win you over. The terraces are the place where you will not only hang out and meet other travelers but also chow down on some barbecue, join in on some yoga, or cozy up with a good book listening to the crashing of waves nearby!
- Live Music
- Outdoor Terrace
When they say beachside hostel, they aren’t lying! Waikiki Beachside Hostel will have backpackers within a two-minute walk of laying out on the beach or taking a splash into the sea. A hostel like this most cost all of Kind Midas’ gold, right? Wrong! Waikiki Beachside is by far one of the cheapest hostels on Oahu island!
The hostel will even get the day started off right with a free breakfast. After a long day of exploring Oahu, you may even come back to the hostel to find a live band playing on the outdoor terrace!
- Bike Rentals
Let’s give you a little bit of added luxury when staying in Hawaii by choosing a hotel! Even though you will be leaving that backpackers hostel behind, at the Pearl Hotel you can get all the comforts of a hotel without having to totally empty out your bank account!
It’s not just the 5-minute walk which will have you clicking that “book” button, the Pearl Hotel also has its very own sports bar! This means after a day of swimming and lounging around on the beach, end the day with a cold beer and good food!
What to Pack for your Oahu Hostel
Here’s some gear our editors take hostelling.
1. Universal Travel Adapter: Not every country has the same electrical plug style, so carry along a universal travel adapter. You’ll want one that covers varying voltage levels, has protection from power surges, a fried laptop is not fun, and enough ports so you don’t have to spend all day individually charging your devices.
2. Active Roots Microfiber Towel: Having your own towel is a must when traveling since most hostels don’t provide them. Plus as a backpacker, use of a towel will extend further than just showers, it’s a minimalist yoga towel and a great beach blanket/towel combo! The Active Roots Microfiber Towel is really the best solution for backpacking.
3. Active Roots Toiletry Bag: Keep your bath-and-beauty items organized and in the right place with this water-resistant bag. With large compartments, mesh and enclosed clear sections, you can fit everything you might need inside. Hang it up or let it stand on its own – this bag is a must-have for dorm-lifers.
4. Sea to Summit Travel Soap: Soap can be very useful on long travels, but it’s hard to carry around. It might get taken off you at the airport or leak in your backpack. This Sea to Summit Travel Soap is the perfect solution for every backpacker with a thought for hygiene. The dry soap is super handy, and it definitely won’t leak (there’s nothing to leak). One box contains 50 leaves of soap, making sure that you’ll be clean, even on longer adventures.
5. Playing Cards: Name your ideal night: I’m for a few cheap beers and some card games. Oh, and you don’t even have to be drinking to enjoy a game – having cards with you traveling definitely helps out on those long airplane or beach days! Make sure to snag a waterproof deck to protect from the pool, ocean or Chang.
6. Headphone Splitter: Being stuck on a bus or plane with only one phone that has good music or shows downloaded can be pretty annoying if your travel buddy wants to share headphones. With this Headphone Splitter, you won’t have to listen with only one ear anymore. Your friend can plug in their headphones at the same time, so both of you are entertained (on both ears!).
For more advice, be sure to check out our dedicated Hawaii packing list!
Hawaii is a place which does not need to be talked up all that much. People from all over the globe have fantasized visiting Oahu’s stunning beaches, surfing the waves, hiking through jungles, hiking up volcanoes, and ending the day with a beer and a luau.
Oahu has a bit of everything for travelers. No matter if you are looking for a simple beach holiday or to experience Hawaiian culture, you can find it all here!
Finding the best hostel in Oahu will prove to be a bit more difficult for backpackers. If you are still undecided on where to stay, check out The Beach Waikiki, our pick for the best youth hostel on Oahu!
Put your lei on and say aloha to your Hawaiian adventure on Oahu!
And don’t forget to sort your travel insurance before heading to Oahu! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
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Need More Inspiration?
- The ULTIMATE Hawaii Itinerary
- Is Hawaii Safe?
- The Best Hostels in Hawaii
- Best Bed and Breakfasts in Oahu
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Noodle addict. City dweller. Aaron Radcliffe is the marketing ninja for The Broke Backpacker, founder of Nomads Nation and Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk.