Stay and Save at a Hostel
If you’re planning on staying at a hostel, you’re most likely on a bit of a budget. They’re generally cheaper than their hotel counterparts and have the added benefit of providing free facilities such as a kitchen, laundry and internet service. It’s a great way to meet fellow travellers and it’s also a terrific cash saver.
The savings should start straight away by finding a suitable hostel to stay at. Not all hostels are cheap, so it’s important to research on a hostel finder such as hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com to find yourself a deal. If you subscribe to their newsletter in advance you may even nab an early bird special and pay only a fraction of the normal price. If you’re travelling in a group, you may discover that renting an apartment works out the cheaper, so take your time and research thoroughly.
While choosing a hostel it’s imperative to see what they offer. Ideally you’d like a hostel which provides a free breakfast, free internet, kitchen and laundry facilities. Finding a hostel which provides these services isn’t uncommon so choose wisely.
Once you’re at your hostel of choice, the savings shouldn’t stop there. I’ve stayed in dozens of hostels around the world and I continually use the tips below to keep the wallet full:
Stock up on a free breakfast
I hold off eating until just before 10 am (unless I’m having an early day) so I can combine breakfast and lunch together to save some extra money. I’ve found the breakfast offerings to be quite good when travelling so make sure to fill yourself up on the free breakfast so you don’t have to fork out for lunch later on. A sneaky (but frowned upon) trick is to wrap some of the breakfast up and have it for lunch or a snack later on in the day. Eating out can be costly so taking advantage of a free meal is a must.
Use the kitchen facilities
Any hostel worth its salt should have a kitchen available to its guests. If you really need to save some extra cash, forgo eating out for a nice home cooked meal. Head down to the local market, stock up on some delicious local ingredients and make yourself a lovely home cooked meal. The benefit of staying at a hostel is that you’ll most likely find people in the same situation, so get a group together and cook up a large meal you can all share.
Ask the front desk for tips
In most cases the people that are working at the front desk will be a local and if they aren’t, they would have been living there long enough to know all the local deals. Pick their brain to find out the best and cheapest places to eat and drink and also find out the best excursions and day trips to go on.
Drink and eat at the hostel bar
It’s a hostel, they know their clientele are travelling on a budget so their bar prices should reflect this. Most hostels I’ve stayed at have food and drink specials on most nights to draw in the hungry crowds so take advantage of that and save some money in the process. From my own experience, I’ve found that drinking at the hostel bar is a fair bit cheaper than drinking out in the majority of cases.
Use the free internet
If there isn’t free internet at the hostel you’re intending on staying at, look elsewhere. You may not have access to free WiFi in your room (although it’s a possibility) but you should definitely have access to free WiFi in the common area or kitchen. Having free WiFi is extremely important as it allows you to source out cheap eateries in the area and also book additional travel items such as cheap day trips and excursions. In addition to that, you can save money on calling home by getting online and making cheap international calls.
Look on the notice board
Whether it’s on a notice board, information table or at the front desk, you should find some advertisements and coupons which will save you money on a range of things from restaurants to excursions to transport and general activities. Most hostels have something similar on display so make the most of it.
Ask for a map
The maps provided in hostels these days are brilliant. They don’t only ensure that you don’t get horribly lost, they’re jammed packed with vital information about the city and many include an extensive list on things to see, cheap places to eat and drink and the good one’s also provide you with a transit map so you don’t have to waste money on taxis. They’re an absolute must if it’s your first time in a new city.
Use the front desk printer
Sure, this will only save you a few bucks, but if you’re travelling for long enough it’ll quickly add up over time. Most hostels allow free printing if you ask nicely enough. Get all your future tickets and itineraries printed at the hostel before you set off to your next destination and save yourself a few dollars in the process.
In short, when booking a hostel the cheapest available isn’t always the best value so you should check the added extras before making your final decision. Once there, use these facilities to there fullest to ensure you get maximum value out of your stay.
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