(Work in Progress...)
When I travel by myself, I enjoy staying at "hostels." Many people in the United States are not accustomed to this type of travel, but I recommend that you give it a try. Below are some of my thoughts about hostels that might help you.
In general, I have found hostels that are associated with the organization "Hosteling International (HI)" to be very good. They tend to be very clean, and they have hot water in their showers.
Hostels Where I Have Stayed
My Favorites - All Excellent!
The Rocky Mountain Inn, (Fraser, Colorado) - First, the bad news: This Hostel was sold in 2014 and is no longer a hostel. This is one of the best. For skiers who travel by themselves, it cannot be beat. There is an enormous kitchen, and the showers and overall facility are superb. I think that this was once part of HI, but may no longer be a member. Don't let this scare you away. Across the street is a Safeway, so buying food is simple. The bus stop for the ski shuttle is about 100 yards away. Additionally, the Amtrak station is about six blocks away. I took Amtrak to this hostel in 2012, and everything went well. In 2011, I also stayed at this hostel with my wife, and we got a private room. Excellent!
Paulina Hostel (In Oaxaca, Mexico) - This hostel is definitely one of the best that I have stayed at. It does not offer a kitchen for guests, but it is probably better than most hotels in terms of cleanliness, breakfast (free), hot water (and powerful), and location to the Zocalo. If you want to experience the charm of central Mexico, do not mind sharing a room, and don't want to spend much money, this is the place. In 2012, I paid 160 peso per night, which included a breakfast (probably worth 60-80 pesos itself). WiFi.
Banff Alpine Center (HI), (Banff, Alberta) - This was my first hostel that I ever stayed at, and my first connection to the Hosteling International organization. Before coming to this hostel, I was staying at a YMCA in Banff. No comparison, the hostel was a cabin in the mountains and a beautiful facility. There is a large and beautify kitchen. This hostel experience made me seen out other HI hostels when traveling alone.
Crested Butte (used to be HI), (Crested Butte, Colorado) - This was a great hostel. It was a newer building that was specifically built to be a hostel. The entire facility was excellent. I had heard recently that this hostel was for sale, so I am not sure about its current availability.
Grenoble, France (Echirolles, HI). A very pleasant and modern hostel. Very clean, an internal restaurant, good kitchen, good people, bathroom and shower in the room, on a main road. A grocery store was located two block away, so buying food was easy. This hostel has several outside courtyards, very nice.
Jericho Beach, (HI) (Vancouver, British Columbia). This hostel has cooking facilities.
American Hotel (HI), (Seattle, Washington).
HI- Chicago (HI), (Chicago, Illinois) - This hostel is on the southern edge of Chicago's downtown. It is in a high-rise building, and within walking distance of downtown and the Gold Coast.
Portland Northwest (HI), (Portland, Oregon)
HI-San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf (HI), (San Francisco, California) - This hostel has cooking facilities.
HI Sausalito (HI), ( Sausalito, California) - This hostel has cooking facilities.
Abominable Snow Mansion Lodge (HI), (Taos, New Mexico) - I stayed in their tee-pee with my children, fun! (no longer HI)
HI Point Reyes (HI), (Point Reyes, California) - I stayed at this hostel during the summer of 2011. This hostel has cooking facilities. It is in a rustic center, and did not provide WiFi and cell phone connection (quite remote).
Seaside Lodge and International Hostel (no longer HI), (Seaside, Oregon)
London, UK. (London Central). This was a very typical big city hostel. It had a big common area, with (pay-for) Internet, a cafe, reading material, and many other travelers needs. Its location to downtown London was also very good.
Montreux, Switzerland. This hostel did not have a kitchen, but it was a very clean hostel and located adjacent to Lake Geneva boardwalk. It was about a 25 minute walk to downtown Montreux, and about a 10-15 minute walk to Chillon Castle. The price did include breakfast, a very good continental breakfast. The Swiss cheeses at breakfast were excellent. Bathroom facilities were excellent. (2015)
Zermatt, Switzerland. This hostel was very similar to the one in Montreux. It was located about 10 minutes (walking) to central Zermatt. Breakfast was excellent. Rooms were very clean. Bathroom facilities excellent. (2015)
Nomadas (Merida, Mexico). I enjoyed this hostel. Can't beat the price ($10/day) for Mexico. This includes breakfast. This hostel had a swimming pool and comfortable common areas. It also provided free cooking classes, which I did three nights, salsa dancing, yoga, and a few other events. There was a common kitchen, and they had free water. (2016 - Booked through Hostelworld)
Geneva, Switzerland. (Hostel ???). This was not a HI hostel. It was a good hostel, and its location was excellent. From the train station, it is about a 10 minute walk. There was a kitchen and refrigerator.
Lille, France. This was a modest hostel located in a major city. The outside appearance was fair, but it was clean and the staff was friendly. Breakfast was included.
Hostal Pochan, (Oaxaca, Mexico) - This hostel represents what I believe to be common Mexico. The staff are very friendly and speak English. The hostel is kept clean, but you will notice that the overall quality of the building would be low compared to American standards. For example, water at the sinks and showers somewhat trickles along. Good enough for a shower and washing hands, but not as powerful compared to America. The metal bathroom door is rusted out at the bottom. But it still remains a quaint hostel, with a pretty goo location to town. I took their cooking class, and it was extremely enjoyable. There is also a kitchen at this hostel, a plus for those who do want to cook or keep items in a refrigerator. In 2012, I paid around 110 peso a day, which included breakfast.
Modena, Italy (HI) I came across this hostel after finding out that the hostel in Parmesan was fully booked. I didn't know what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised that the hostel was very nice, and the town is the balsamic vinegar capital of the world. I enjoyed staying at this hostel.
Revenna, Italy (HI)
Cortona, Italy (HI) A nice hostel in a small town near Tuscany. Writing from memory, I can't really remember much about this hostel, except that the town was up on the hillside.
Mexico City (HI)
Mexico City (non-HI)
Florence (non-HI hostel)
Breckenridge (no longer with HI)
Orlando, Fl (no longer with HI)
Nebraska (don't go out of your way for this one)
Dole, France. (HI) This was an unrated IH hostel. It's appearance, when looking at it from the outside and foyer, was dismal. The staff spoke very little English. The first night, the staff person did not know how to provide Internet access. On the positive side, I had my own room with a single bed, it did have hot water for showers, it was quiet, and it was located not too far from Dijon.