How Much Can You Save Staying In Hostels? The REAL Numbers

by brian on September 24, 2009

 How Much Can You Save Staying In Hostels? The REAL NumbersRome, Italy

I pulled these numbers from the first 3 months of my round the world trip. Hostels were a big part of my strategy to save while traveling. These are the actual figures I paid while I was on the road, which I compared to the lowest priced 3 star hotel in the same city.

Hilo, Hawaii
6 days @ $25US per day
$99US per day @ 3 Star hotel

Tokyo, Japan

13 days @ $30US per day
$93US per day @ 3 Star hotel

Bangkok, Thailand
8 days @ $13US per day
$26US per day @ 3 Star hotel

Siem Reap, Cambodia
7 days @ $6US per day
$27US per day @ 3 Star hotel

Hong Kong, China
19 days @ $17US per day
$57US @ 3 Star hotel

Cape Town, South Africa
8 days @ $15.01US
$45US per night @ 3 Star hotel

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

6 days @ $38US per day
$192US per night ( only had 2 hotels listed for all of Addis Ababa)

London, England
18 days @ $0US
$0 – stayed with relatives
$46 per night at 3 star hotel

Paris, France

6 days @ $40.37US
$74US per night @ 3 star hotel

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
5 days @ $20.19US
$31US per night @ 3 Star hotel

Athens, Greece
5 days @ $27.48US
$55US per night @ 3 Star hotel

$1811 the way
$6497 the pay through your nose way
Savings of 72%!!!!

Whether you are traveling for a week or a year, you can’t beat those savings. Check out my previous posts on hostels and make your booking for your next trip.

If You’re Nervous About Staying In Hostels

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 How Much Can You Save Staying In Hostels? The REAL NumbersAthens, Greece

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 24, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Pssst. Siem Reap? Not in Thailand…
But this is all still good information.


brian September 24, 2009 at 6:07 PM

Good eye. Thanks for the catch.


rhonalala September 24, 2009 at 7:12 PM

My goodness, the savings are off the chain. You are so right Brian. Hostels rock! THey offer cheaper accomodations, shower, cheaper meals (if available) and an excellent environment to meet people and do cool cheaper tours. I am all about them and still regret my hotel stays in Paris and Barcelona. Thanks for the post.


Andy September 24, 2009 at 8:50 PM

This is excellent information and difficult to collect. Thank You from Andy Graham of

I have wondered for years how people make decisions. I find that very few people have budgets, they more or less spend all their money and go home. Travelers must be able to save money or they cannot travel, tourist want a reprieve from their sins, therefore try to stay in the most expensive they cannot afford. Flashpackers have taken over the planet, and the wanna follow crowd rules, they want to follow the leader.

I hope you did not stay in a Hostel in cities like Addis Ababa. I reserve my hostile hostel experiences for countries like Japan and Amsterdam where room values truly are bad.

I can live in developed countries with a lot of work for 20 dollars per day. In all developing countries, this is 85 percent of the planet for less than 10.

Andy of, a couple of years of travel under my belt.


brian September 25, 2009 at 1:31 PM

Yup, when I ran the numbers I even surprised myself. I thought you were going to stay in the hostel I recommended for Paris? That was you right?

Glad you enjoyed the post, please pass the word.
I did stay in a hotel in Addis. I was swayed by the Internet connection in the room. Little did I know that the entire country of Ethiopia is on the SAME 56k modem connection!


Shannon OD September 25, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Hard to refute those figures!! Holy cow – didn't realize just how good a deal it is :-)


Mama Bird September 25, 2009 at 9:45 PM

I can tell you too, that low priced 3 star hotels can be CRAP. We stayed in one in Barcelona and I am positive a hostel would have been nicer than this place. I have stayed in, lived in, and managed hostels and it can be a great experience, not only in accommodation, but often also in friendships made.

Just found your blog…having a look around. :)


Kymbugs September 26, 2009 at 5:51 AM

Thanks for this Brian! When I was backpacking I found that hostels are great option for solo travellers on a budget!
Not just for the savings, but also most hostels have common areas like the kitchen, lounge etc where you can meet other travellers. This gives you the opportunity to share travel tips from places you've come from or are going to. When you've been travelling solo for a long time, it's just nice to have a chat, play board games, go out on the town together. Sometimes if you are heading in the same direction for the next leg of your journey, you can link up and make great savings too.
Hostel notice boards abound with tourist info, and some even organise affordable excursions.
Hostels are always my first option!


John Bardos - September 26, 2009 at 11:46 PM

Thanks for that cost comparison. Very helpful.

Traveling as a couple, hostels seem to make less sense if you start to double those prices.

Also, I have found that it is possible to negotiate better deals with hotels than with hostels. For couples, hostels are not such a bargain.


brian September 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM

@Shannon OD
Yup, the numbers don't lie.

3 star hotels are at the edge of decent to crappy places to stay so unless you are sure of the place sometimes it is a guessing game. And I'm not quite sure what/who determines 3 star vs. any other. Is it the price of the room? Amenities?

Please stay and make yourself comfortable.

Everything you said is right on the money.

@John Bardos –
John, I've never tried to negotiate a hotel room, so I can't speak to that.

I personally saw plenty of couples and families get private rooms that were cheaper than 3 star hotel rooms.

It depends on what city/town you are looking at.

It also depends if the hostel is going to charge you PER bed or one flat fee for the room with multiple beds.

At least investigate it next time you're looking for a room.


roofing insulation September 28, 2009 at 6:18 AM

Very Nice blog with remarkable ideas I have never thought about these ideas thanks for sharing it would be helpful for my next journey :)


brian September 28, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Glad you found the information useful.


Grant Lingel ( September 30, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Great post… I am a huge hostel fan. I believe it is the best way to travel. Keep up the great work!

Happy travels,


Walter Heck September 30, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Interesting. I consider hostels expensive and not much fun.
I spend all my time couchsurfing when I am traveling. It gives me a much better idea of the local culture and is a lot more fun. On top of that, you can spend the money you save on hostels on having fun with your host. Either cooking for them, taking them out to dinner or a drink, etc.
I couldn't imagine traveling with hostels, it feels very empty :)


brian September 30, 2009 at 1:23 PM

@Grant Lingel
Hey Grant! Thanks for the good words.

@Walter Heck
Hostels are not for everyone and I totally understand where you are coming from about the benefits of couchsurfing.
Both have their pros and cons.

Any trip is what you make of it, whether you couchsurf or stay in a hostel.


waywardlife October 3, 2009 at 11:55 AM

This was a great idea for a piece! I hadn't run the numbers before. Right now I'm researching the most expensive hostels I can find on hostelworld…some of those suckers are $75. It just depends on which hostels you're booking and where.


brian October 4, 2009 at 12:40 PM

$75??? I might be willing to pay that for a private room in a hostel. No way for a dorm bed.


Online Hotel Booking February 1, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Are these prices still valid.It looks quite cheap to me.Thanks for sharing it.


brian February 3, 2010 at 11:23 PM

@Online Hotel Booking
These were valid in January 2009. Maybe time to do another comparison test.


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