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Hostels & Campus Lodging

Let's face it.

That Internet hotel special in New York City—as low as it is compared to the regular price—may still be too high for some budget travellers.

Consequently, consider hostels and university dormitory accommodations (sometimes available even during the school year) as ways to save. These aren’t just for young people anymore.

However, be sure to compare per person hostel and dorm rates with the cost of stuffing everyone into hotel and motel rooms, which may turn out cheaper.

Hostels and university lodging for travellers provide excellent venues to meet persons from around the world. Both the hostel and university environments foster friendships, which adds to the enjoyment of your trips.

Often hostel and university accommodations are convenient to bus and train stations, unlike most budget motels that cater to auto travellers. In Canada and the U.S., decent budget motels tend to be far from city centres and urban sightseeing.

As an alternative to hostels, be wary of cheap hotels near Greyhound and rail stations, which are often both dangerous and unclean in Canada and especially the U.S.

Interestingly, conditions near Vancouver’s combination rail and coach terminal are nearly as bleak as any place in the U.S. Beware of both cheap hotels and hostels in this area.

Hostels: Consider the cons

Of course, hostels are not for everyone.

A couple may not find desired privacy in a group-sleeping situation.

Everyone may face lockout hours during the day and the curfew hours at night, when, if you arrive back too late, the doors are locked.

Light sleepers may not like shared sleeping rooms, where some people may snore or make other noises. People coming in drunk and late can really impact how you feel the next day.

If you are the type whose mind races in the evening, and find it hard to fall asleep, group sleeping is very likely not for you.

Do due diligence

Find out about where you plan to stay.

Anyone can call their place a hostel in Canada and the U.S., and some are real dumps. There’s no authority set up to weed out bad apples.

Some hostels are located in unsafe locations, where you’ll find your accommodation savings going toward expensive taxis in the evening, instead of walking or using local transportation, as you planned.

Talk to friends about their experiences and check out guides like the excellent “Let’s Go” series.

Hostels Canada and Hostels USA

Two guides we really appreciate are Hostels Canada and Hostels USA.

These actually rate hostels based on cleanliness, location, friendliness, etc. Most importantly, they provide safety information.

Hostels Canada and Hostels USA (which includes the largest cities in Canada) steer you away from the awful places, where you won't sleep well, won't be safe, etc., and into the friendliest, best places to stay.

Campus Lodging Guide

The Campus Lodging Guide provides the great source of temporary university housing information in both Canada and the States, although it does not rate locations or discuss safety.

It’s hard to find out about temporary campus housing. If you contact a university switchboard, it usually thinks you are interested in full-time student housing for the upcoming term.

That’s why the contacts in the Campus Lodging Guide are so helpful.

Although not printed since 1999, university-lodging information changes less often than other travel information. With this guide, you’re looking for the universities that offer housing to individual travellers and contact numbers, not for current rates, etc.

Try to find the 1999 edition at a library.

Happy traveling!

DrVoyageur - Budget Travel Tips Home Page

Saving in high-priced hotel cities, Part I

Saving in high-priced hotel cities, Part II

Helpful hotel booking tips

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