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Thread: Cheap hostels?

  1. Default Cheap hostels?

    Hi RTA!

    Me and 4 mates are planning a 6 week road trip across america. I've been doing some research on the net and i've been trying to find some good hostel booking websites.

    I've found that a lot of the websites state one price, but then as you progress your booking it turns out to be MUCH more expensive than first stated. (booking fees, pay now fees etc). Just wanted to know if anybody had any good links or info for cheap places to stay?

    Whats the average price per night for a hostel in America? I was thinking along the lines of $20 per night? (each)

    Cheers,
    Coops.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    I think it would be cheaper to get a hotel room if you guys don't mind sharing beds, as hostels charge per person and hotels charge per room. It is not difficult finding hotel rooms for less than $80 almost everywhere.

  3. #3
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    Default probably not cheap

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    With a group of 5 people, hostels will almost never be a cheap option. You are right that $20 per night per person sounds about right for hostels, but in the vast majority of the US, $100 will buy a pretty nice hotel room. The only downside is the size of your group, as many places have a limit of 4 guests in a room - although you probably wouldn't be the first to try to get around that limit.

    This is a great article about hostels, and includes a link to a booking site that doesnt charge booking fees. You can also always try booking directly through the individual hostels themselves or try hosteling international which I believe gives discounts if you want to become a member.

  4. #4
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    Default

    I apologize - I read it as 4 total, not 4 plus you. That changes things, you would need 2 rooms to keep things legal.

    Have you considered renting a RV instead of a car?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Hostel Prices

    By far the most comprehensive and accurate hostel site on the internet is this independent site. All other sites - including hostel bookers - are in some way or another connected in ownership.

    The reason for the discrepancy in prices, which I find just as irritating, is twofold. The first, and main reason for hostels in the USA is that they have this ridiculous system of not quoting the complete price..... anywhere for anything! (It is the same when you go to a hotel, and they have a big sign up which says $39.99 and you are forced to hand over around $45.) Wish that was made illegal, as it is here.

    The second reason why you find discrepancies, and this goes for hostels all over the world, is that the owners/managers of the establishments do not keep their prices updated.

    I always add between 20% and 30% to the price stated and then if it is less, well, that is a nice surprise. Prices for hostels in the USA average around $25 - $30, although I have paid more than $40 in NYC (2007), and as little as $8 in Moab (2001).

    With five people I would contact the hostel before hand, as many of them also have private rooms and family rooms, which would often work out cheaper. But remember, unlike in a hotel, hostelling is not just a bed, it is the full experience, and you will find most good hostels have discounts on all sorts of things, as well as excellent travel information and of course the kitchen to cook meals.

    I think it would pay you to call or email each hostel you wish to stay at, and explain your needs. It is amazing what deals you could get. It is not really something you can negotiate as a walk-in. It really pays to have a good report beforehand, with a responsible person at their reception.

    Lifey who prefers to stay at hostels

  6. Default

    I like hostels and have had some great experiences staying in them . . . however, the biggest problem you're going to encounter is that there simply aren't very many of them in America. You'll find a few in the big cities, but it's not realistic to think that you could use them exclusively (or even 50% of the time) in a cross-country drive. It's not a concept that Americans have embraced, and they simply aren't out there.

    On the other hand, you'll find moderately-priced hotel rooms everywhere, and a group of five should do fine in them. You can often bring in a roll-away bed, giving plenty of space for everyone. Since you have "a room full" of people, you'll find that this is affordable.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
    . . . however, the biggest problem you're going to encounter is that there simply aren't very many of them in America. You'll find a few in the big cities, but it's not realistic to think that you could use them exclusively (or even 50% of the time) in a cross-country drive. It's not a concept that Americans have embraced, and they simply aren't out there.
    This is something which comes up frequently, but it has not been my experience. True, there are some places, especially in the mid-west, where hostels are few and far between. But If you check out hostelz.com, you will see just how prolific they are, and their spread throughout the States.

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