Airbnb has shown us there is an unending supply of unusual places you can stay, and PodShare in Southern California is one of them. I’ve slept in various “cube” hotels before including a Japanese capsule in Tokyo and a Yotel pod in London, but PodShare is melding together tiny spaces, affordability and community. Elvina Beck opened the PodShare co-living space three years ago and has since hosted over 4,000 “Podestrians”. She said the concept is perfect for minimalist, solo travelers who also want to meet new people. The design of the pods make them different from a typical hostel.
“I grew up on MTV’s The Real World and thought: what would happen if you put 10 strangers under one roof with technology to keep them busy, but with no privacy to help them stay engaged?,” Elvina said. “PodShare was built to answer that question. I wanted to create a comfortable and safe environment for people to sleep without putting up walls.”
Instead of individual bunk beds like in a hostel, each pod is build like a separate shipping container divided by carpeted stairways. Each pod contains a memory foam mattress, a personal TV, electrical outlets, adjustable nightlight, and a closet with a locker. The pods were built to face each other and each Podestrian can personalize their pod with their name. Guests are provided with a towel, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and WiFi. They also have access to the community kitchen, bathroom, shower, and the computer station. The pods do not close up at night, but the top pods do have safety rails.
“We actually created more privacy than a traditional bunk bed, without closing the face like a Japanese capsule,” Elvina said.
“When I was laying out the floor plan for PodShare, I considered building the pods in a circle, so to not box people out, but then opted for rows like displays,” Elvina said. “This layout gives people an opportunity to horizontally work on their laptops, put their backs against the wall, hang their feet over the balcony to face the person across from them, or sit on the steps.”
Eight single pods are available for $50 a night and two queen size pods are available for $70 a night. Elvina said she will explore long-term housing in an additional location and will plan for more drawer space in the pods. Her goal is to build a network of PodShare locations across the country to offer membership-based housing. Guests would pay a monthly rental fee to travel to different pods.
House, bike and car sharing is now the norm and PodShare also promotes the sharing of common resources—with some personalization. Each Podestrian gets a lifetime pod number and a profile is opened for each guest.
“Since day one, we have created a profile for each guest—sharing a time capsule online helps us get to know the guest and helps the guest realize that they are more than a unique number,” Elvina added. “We believe in the sharing of space, stories, affordability… and curing the ever-growing world loneliness problem. I believe this type of minimalist social travel will inspire innovation and promote openness and discovery.”
Photos and video courtesy of PodShare