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This idea has been fomenting in my mind and all the details have finally jelled into an idea worthy of writing about.

I’ve travelled extensively all over Europe and the Middle East and the one thing that is common among almost every place I’ve been is the youth hostel.

It’s basically a big bunk house where young people tend to stop at for their overnight accomodations. They vary greatly in quality. I’ve been to a German hostel that would put some of our 3 star hotels to shame and on the other end of the scale, I’ve slept on a sand floor on an Egyptian beach surrounded by four concrete walls and a thatch roof. (Camel sleeping outside the hole where a window should have been making all kinds of racket but it only cost .50 cents, so I couldn’t really complain.)

America is sorely lacking in the hostel business. This idea is a doozy, in my humble opinion.

Why not gut a 35 foot RV? Doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Older one is fine. Gut it and build as many bunks into it along the walls as you can fit. Build 2 bathrooms in the back of the RV and then open up as a mobile (although stationary most of the time) youth hostel.

You can paint it an ugly bright color (scare away us old people) and emblazen your hostel company name all over it. You can station your moving slumber party from rest stop to rest stop or convenience store parking lots after making arrangements with the owners that you’ll be using a corner of their parking lot every now and then and bringing customers to them at the same time.

Then you can market your product through brochures in eateries and other places along the freeway you’re stationed around.

Now here’s something that would make you appeal to the demographic you’re aiming for. Take reservations via text messaging and/or your website (take PayPal.) Typically, hostels don’t really take reservations but you’d probably want to do it in this case. Also, hostels have curfews and close down during the day. You can do the same. Set a rule that the RV door locks at midnight. If they don’t make it by then, they’re out of luck. Then everyone has to be out by noon the next morning until you open back up again at 8pm or 9pm or whatever. No frills. Just a rack to sleep in, toilet to uh-hum in and a shower to clean your crusty body in. Bring your own bedding (or rented from you for X amount for the night.) Lights out at midnight… etc.

You could PROBABLY fit about 16 bunks in a good sized RV. Charge about $15 a night per bunk. Once the word got out and you placed some advertising along the highway, you’d be packed every night.

Do the math on that. Your only overhead would be the purchase and renovation of the RV (say $25K for a very used one including renovation costs) and then the regular sewage costs of dropping it at a drop spot and whatever agreement you strike up with the parking lot owner where you’re parking. If you’re single, you could essentially live in the bunk above the driver’s cab.

If you change locations every once in a while, you can have the current location posted on the website at all times.

This wouldn’t be difficult to grow to several RVs. You just start in one location and move out. Pretty soon, you have one every 100 miles, each bringing in $5000 a month of more.

As always… I expect a fat check in the mail if you make this a success. 🙂

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