Travel on the Cheap- Backpacking and Hostels

This week is cheap travel week on youngandthrifty.ca!  Hopefully you’ll be inspired this week to find ways to save money on your future travels.

As a 20 something, I’m sure many of you have considered or even done a big trip to Europe or Asia, living out of a backpack and staying in hostels.

I say take advantage of your non-discerning taste while you can- backpack while you are still young and don’t mind living in hostels and using shared bathrooms and dorm rooms.

Possibly, as you get older, and as your income expands (woohoo, one good thing about getting older), you may decide that backpacking isn’t for you anymore.  Paying $10-$16 a night for shared dorm rooms, possibility of a bed bug infestation, and having to listen to other people snoring just might not be worth it.

Here are some reliable websites to use when booking your hostel.  They come with reviews from other hostelers so you can see what other people think of the hostel, this allows you to make your decision wisely.  Note: When a hostel review says that the place smells like sewage. Believe them.  Learn from my experience! *yuck!!*  That smell infiltrated my nasal passages for days…

  • Hosteling International- usually of higher calibre (read- CLEANER), but you have to pay a membership for certain countries in order to book.
  • Hostel World- over 20,000 hostels around the world at your fingertips!
  • Hostels.com- haven’t used these guys personally, but they have >30,000 hostels to choose from too

Sometimes hostels can be a great place to meet fellow travelers and a good place to trade tips on where to go, what to avoid, and which tour companies to associate with.

Readers, have you ever stayed in a hostel?  What do you think, yay or nay?

About

Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

9 Responses to Travel on the Cheap- Backpacking and Hostels

  1. Well, being the frugal guy I am, I’ve thought about it but never stayed in a hostel. I’ve known lots of people who have, but to me, I want to be comfortable on vacation and so I’m willing to pony-up the additional cash and get a good bed for quality sleep. Not only that, my wife won’t let me book a hostel when we travel! :)

    Other pluses?
    1) A decent bed will minimize the chance you’ll have to deal with bed bugs (you’ve mentioned it above). I’ve heard they are horrible in more ways than one. Knock-on-wood, so far, so good in our travels.

    2) Security. Hostels are notorious for petty crime. I’d rather err on the side of caution and be secure more often than not.

    Good post Y&T.
    .-= Financial Cents´s last blog ..Will anything change with new mortgage rules (in Ottawa)? =-.

  2. Hah! When staying in hostels, it’s a good idea to have a guide book. That said, you don’t always get to chose.

    In Dublin, I took the last spot available one night as I was passing through. The large room looked quiet enough when I went to bed. . .until the Welsh bachelor party returned from a night of I don’t want to know what. They had a good laugh when they saw they were sharing their room with a lone female traveler and in the morning, I awoke to chubby white dudes strolling around in their underpants. . .sigh. You can’t always win.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Where would you pinch pennies if you had to? =-.

  3. FinEngr says:

    Airfare Watchdog is another travel “alert” website. They’ve tightened up their site, so now you have to sign up.

    The benefit is you can set your “traveling to” and “traveling from” cities so that your deals are narrowed down to flights you’d most likely take.
    .-= FinEngr´s last blog ..Don’t Be Fooled by Sneaky Labeling! =-.

  4. FinEngr says:

    Hostels are a great way to reduce travel costs. I’m more worried about the other “characters” staying around me. ;)
    .-= FinEngr´s last blog ..Don’t Be Fooled by Sneaky Labeling! =-.

  5. young says:

    @simplelife lol lol! At least they weren’t sweaty or didn’t bring girls back to the hostel? ;) that must have been a nice wake up call though- boys in their underpants lol.

    @financialcents- that’s true! Not sure if I mentioned the lack of privacy… I wouldn’t travel in hostels as a couple myself.. Though I did hear this couple bunk up together in Argentina (if you know what I mean!!)

  6. Gerard says:

    I’ve stayed in hostels in LA, NY, Miami, London, and Barcelona, booked through hostels.com… usually when I was spending only a night or two somewhere (often to save money on plane tickets). It’s fine as long as you accept it for what it is. Check the place out on Google maps (especially street view) before you go. Read reviews. Choose places that rank high, especially on the things that matter to you. Bring a padlock and keep your stuff in their lockers if you’re worried about theft.
    I’d also recommend older travellers give it a shot. I’m 51 and it works for me. But I’ve learned to avoid party hostels — I don’t like the noise, and I don’t like being the creepy old guy.
    One more tip — hostels often have spaces available that they don’t list on the consolidator websites like hostels.com. If you like a hostel and plan to return, talk to the hostel people directly. You’re more likely to get a space, and you might save a few bucks.

  7. Sarah says:

    I went to Spain this past June and I booked all our accommodations in hostels. I used travelcuts.ca and was provided with a variety of accommodation choices that met my budget and personal preferences. The great thing about hostels is that they are often located ‘off the beaten’ path which makes exploring a new town or city that much more fun!

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