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How Much Do Hostels Cost? A Frequently Asked Hostel Question


Brisbane Bunk Hostel - Check-In

Brisbane Bunk Hostel - Check-In

© Kathleen Crislip
Question: How Much Do Hostels Cost? A Frequently Asked Hostel Question
Answer: Hostel costs vary from $8-$35 in the Western world for a single bed in a dorm room, and can go for the equivalent of a buck or two in developing nations. For your money, you'll get a bunk and shared bathroom unless you're going flashpacker style in a more expensive single hostel room, which may have its own bath and will cost up to $75. More than that, and it ain't a hostel -- it's a B and B for your grandparents. Trending and truly nice boutique hostels are proving an exception: still hostels, def on the spendy side, but very upscale; a bunk will run you roughly $35, and the public spaces will be beeyotiful (see more about what you get for your money in a hostel below).

Are Hostel Discounts Available?

HI (Hostelling International), Australia's World Nomads, and sometimes a few other hostel bookers or chains will offer hostel discount cards for use at their hostels only (like a hotel points account), but for the most part, don't expect any kind of deal: hostels are already extraordinarily cheap. If you're staying a long time (like a month), a hostel desk clerk may decide to give you a deal -- but probably not. Learn more:

So, what do you get for your money?

    1. Breakfast: In most of the rest of the world (as in outside the United States), you'll get a complimentary breakfast in a hostel (very different affair than what was shown in the movie) and totally depends on the country: in Latin America, you may get breads and juice and instant coffee; in Europe, perhaps the local bread plus excellent dairy (cheese, milk) and good coffee.

    2. Internet: You may also get free wifi. Okay, we talk about travel wifi (or the lack thereof) a lot. Know that your iPhone's internet may not work in the country to which you're headed and you'll need a laptop to truly stay connected. Business hotels and even some hostels charge for wifi (lame) while it's free at your average Holiday Inn. Some hostels still charge for wifi, but most have at least a free computer connected to the internets for guest use; Australia's an exception that, while hot for backpackers, is stuck in the '90's with wifi: most hostels still subscribe to Global Gossip, a service by which you can buy wifi via account.

    2. Sheets: Whether you'll get free linen in a hostel totally varies. Some hostel afficionados say that unless you're given sheets upon check-in (and then make your own bed), it's not a real hostel (with the not-real hostel being one in which the bed is already made up in the room). Whichever is true, whether you'll have to pay for said sheets is purely a matter of chance and hostel owner choice. Know this: many hostels forbid your use of your own sleeping bag because it may be harboring bedbugs, and hostels are actually really quite good at keeping bedbugs out (contrary to popular opinion).

    2. Towels: Again, as with sheets, hostels may provide you towels upon request,but for a fee or at least a deposit. If you can afford it, it's well worth paying for towels (in our opinion) because the alternative is (1) waiting for yours to dry before you can pack it and move on or (2) packing a wet and soon to be mildewed and stinky wet towel. Private hostel rooms generally come equipped with towels if you've your own ensuite bathroom; bit easier for the hostel to track the towels if there is only one person using them. See some examples of private hostel rooms:

Hostel Photos

See what to expect in a handful of hostels representing a decent cross section, with what these hostels cost following each listing:

Learn more about hostels in general:

Learn more about boutique hostels:

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