Southwest Hostel Backpacker Route: Vegas, LA, & San Diego

Bobby Dyer
southwest hostel backpacker route

The Ultimate Guide to Finding Lodging On The Southwest Hostel Backpacker Route

The frequent wanderlust of travelers meandering through the Southwestern United States draws them to the Trifecta. This iconic trek includes Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and yours truly, San Diego.

Does destination order matter?

We don’t discriminate against our trifecta counterparts. Whichever order you ascend upon the glorious cities is up to you. Personally, we believe in saving the best for last. Once you hit the pristine beaches of San Diego and experience the fish taco flair next to the border, everything else will pale in comparison.

That being said, should one become questionable for your timeframe, prioritize San Diego. No need to miss out on the best due to timing issues.

To maximize your experience, make sure to choose lodging with flavor. Not sketchy, flavorful. There is a unique charisma in some places. Sketchy just makes you wish you were back home.

For most backpackers, affordability is a priority. To avoid unsavory places while maintaining the charm, here are our tips for picking affordable lodging to crash at along your journey:


You gotta be where the action is! Why else are you traveling to three of the most notorious cities in the US? We’ll take a guess and assume it’s not for an annual knitting convention.

For Vegas, that’s the strip. Sin City was coined so for a reason. Here’s a hint, it wasn’t the suburbs that made this city glamorous. From clubs to shows to gambling, the strip has everything you’ll want to dabble in during your stay.
Sin City Hostel is an awesome hostel with great hosts, setting you up for an unforgettable experience. But remember, what happens in Vegas, well you know.


For Los Angeles, it depends on your particular highlight reel. Our favorites are Venice Beach and Hermosa Beach. What can we say? We love the beach. Sporting a style all their own, Venice Beach is home to the iconic boardwalk, a 16,000-square-foot skateboarding park, and the mural capital of the world. For a warm welcoming in paradise, check out Samesun.


Along a stunning continuous stretch of Beach, Hermosa Beach is a surfer’s oasis. This small beach town offers beach, beachside boardwalk, pier, promenade, hopping nightlife, restaurants, and shopping, all within walking distance. To live out the local surf culture, book your stay at Surf City Hostel.


For San Diego, it’s downtown baby! This is the crème de la crème of the quintessential Southern California experience. With easy access to all the top attractions, you finish off your night within walking distance of the hottest clubs, top pubs, and a full range of dining experiences. So spend your days mastering the waves, meeting new creatures at the zoo, or exploring Balboa Park. Conquer the evenings by positioning yourself adjacent to the nightlife.

To book where the party’s at, there’s nothing better than the San Diego Adventure Hostel.


Each city brings its own ambiance. It’s why you are hitting all three, refusing to settle for just one experience. Champion the authentic underbelly of each city by opting for unique lodging. For a truly memorable adventure, choose a hostel.

Hostels have character. They’re not your stale, stereotypical hotel rooms that mirror a hospital room. Hostels have a unique ability to tap into the authentic vibe of a city. Rather than seclusion and lonely existence, they encourage adventure. So, if adventure is on your itinerary, hostels are your ticket. It’s a natural byproduct of being surrounded by like-minded travelers.

An added benefit: oftentimes travelers befriend other travelers on the Trifecta path. It’s not uncommon for them to team up for the next leg of the trip. So prioritize hostels on each leg of your journey. They will make for the best experience.



If you’re only setting up for the night, perks don’t come into play as much. But stay longer than a day or two and those perks really start to kick in. Breakfast is a must. Hitting the SoCal Trifecta isn’t an overnight show. Paying for a deluxe breakfast every morning adds up, eating your party budget.

At International Traveler’s House in San Diego, we upped the ante with the perks. Cold cereal and muffins don’t do it for us. We go all out and provide tasty hot pancakes. 

Then, to go even further we connect you with the best local adventures! From surfing, boating, standup paddleboarding, yoga, and more, we are committed to ensuring your trip to San Diego is the best getaway you’ve ever had.

We can pretty much guarantee you won’t find this dedication to creating memorable and authentic experiences for travelers in our neighboring cities. 

Free Wifi

Good and free wifi isn’t standard. Weird we know! These days it should be counted as an essential, right up there with a bed and fresh sheets. Alas, many hotels try to stiff you when it comes to connectivity.

Don’t let that happen. You need Internet juice to plan out the next leg of your trip. Otherwise, you’re going to get a nasty phone bill come the end of the month…


Bottom line, reviews matter. How else do you ensure they aren’t just a lot of hype? By talking to people. Luckily, countless review sites have made it easy to get the lowdown on what it’s really like at a hostel, hotel, or even restaurant.
Not to brag, but our reviews kick ass. Just saying.



If you have the opportunity to champion the Southwest Hostel Backpacker Route Trifecta, do it! It’s trips like these that create those “forever” memories. Not to mention that each city provides a distinctively alluring experience.

For your San Diego leg, consider International Traveler’s House. We have three different properties that go above and beyond to create the best traveling adventure. From our homey vibe to daily adventures and more, we are your Trifecta lodging of choice.

Cofounder of ITH Hostels. I love traveling, hosting, gardening, golfing, fishing, and sailing.

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