When conjuring up images of a hostel, one may envision the narrow, cobblestone streets of a quaint European city. Although not imbued with the ancient charm of, say, Venice, Charleston, too, has its share of quaint narrow streets and storied cobblestones. And, since 2002, the Lowcountry has been home to a haven for world weary sojourners.

Opened more than a decade ago by College of Charleston grad Claire Cunningham, and run since 2006 by CofC grad Vikki Matsis (she even wrote a how-to book on managing hostels), NotSo Hostel has hosted travelers from the U.S., Europe, and Asia, welcoming all budget backpackers with the motto: “Life is too short to sleep alone.”

The only hostel in the state, NotSo Hostel will be hosting the first American Hostel Conference Jan. 22 through 24. The three day event will cater to hostel owners and managers; entrepreneurs; travel, community, and adventure “advocates;” and anyone interested in learning more about the industry.

Highlights of the conference include speakers like Joe Garner, the star of Craigslist Joe; Jacob Lindsey, the director of the department of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability for the City of Charleston; and Karalee Fallert, one of the city’s most prolific and progressive restaurateurs. There will also be movie screenings; dinners, lunches, and cocktail hours; and beaucoup presentations on any and everything related to the hostel industry. See the full schedule here.

The event may be centered on an international industry, but its roots are close to home. The American Hostel Conference is sponsored by VroomRes, a free property management system startup based in Charleston, and is supported by participating businesses including PURE Theatre, Basic Kitchen, Monza, Black Bean Co., and O-Ku.

Tickets for the conference can be purchased online; one day local attendees pay $80, three day attendees pay $285, and conference sponsors pay $750.

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