As a solo traveller, I’m always looking for a great deal on accommodation. Throughout my travels across more than 60 countries, I’ve found lots of cheap hostels, guesthouses and homestays that have felt like a home away from home, or provided a little bit of luxury in the budget accommodation world. With tips for managing your money for a trip, you don't have to break the bank to have a good holiday. You also don't need to spend a fortune on accommodation, as there are heaps of great options for affordable prices. Here’s a list of my favourite budget accommodation spots around the world.
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This is one of my favourite hostels. Loft Hostel offers spacious dorms with clean bathroom facilities, a bar, and cosy common room. There’s also a small deck area which is great in winter to watch the sun rise over snow covered rooftops, or see the still golden skies late at night during the summertime. The hostel is within walking distance to the main sights in Reykjavik such as the Hallgrímskirkja Church. The staff are really helpful in booking tours or cars for you, and sharing their advice on the best things to do in Iceland.
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This hostel has been a favourite for a long even if they do charge for linen. The dorms are spacious and of course decked out in Ikea furniture. There are private bathrooms on each floor and even hairdryers. The hostel features a huge kitchen offering free pasta, as well as large common areas, and Mac computers to help you keep connected and plan your next move. Activity wise you can hire a bike, join a cooking class, or take a seat on movie nights.
While some of the dorms are a bit of a tight squeeze, they are light and airy with a small balcony, and beds are big and comfortable. I loved the rooftop here – where you could sit down for breakfast and enjoy the sunshine, chill during the day, and down a few drinks at night. It’s also close to the main sights and the staff are really helpful.
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Portugal has some of the best hostels I’ve stayed in – such as the Sunset Destination Hostel inside the Cais do Sodre Train and Metro Station. The hostel features a mix of both private and dorm rooms, a huge kitchen and dining area, and a rooftop with beanbags, hammocks, a small pool and a bar. Dorm beds have curtains, a light and power outlet. The hostel also offers free walking tours, or you can opt to join in on a range of organised tours.
Looking more like a hotel than a hostel, Sophie’s Hostel is a great spot to enjoy Prague. It’s not the cheapest place in Prague to stay, but the rooms felt more like an apartment with a kitchenette and spacious bathroom located in the dorm. In the dorm I stayed in, there were also no bunks – just single beds. Bliss for a backpacker – because no one likes the top bunk!
Budapest is one of my favourite cities and the Avenue Hostel is my go to. The rooms offer two levels of beds with the top bunk on a mezzanine level. You’ll almost feel like you’re not sleeping in a dorm with pod like beds housing several shelves, and a cupboard to store your valuables and even hang your clothes. The hostel is also in a great location close to trams and the metro, or it’s a short walk to the city centre and some of the popular ruin bars.
Plus Berlin is a large hostel, but you won’t notice as its spread out over a number of floors. The hostel is not just accommodation - it also offers an indoor swimming pool and sauna, beach bar during the summer months, free yoga once a week, and a large courtyard. Rooms are large with huge lockers, comfy beds and ensuites.
This could be the best hostel in Central Europe as you get so many extras; it barely feels like you’re paying for accommodation. You’ll get free buffet breakfast and dinner – plus vodka shots after dinner. The hostel has a great atmosphere and regularly organises pub crawls. The staff are super friendly and dorms are comfortable and spacious.
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Fancy staying in a cave? Then head over to the Dorm Cave in unique Cappadocia. Dorms and private rooms are built into the rock that originated from the ash and mud from volcanoes. The Dorm Cave offers a free Turkish style breakfast every morning, has a great rooftop area, and is near the centre and the Goreme Open Air Museum. The staff are more than happy to help you arrange tours or get a bird’s eye view of Cappadocia from a hot air balloon!
If you're keen to venture beyond Cappadocia, then visit the Turquoise Coast. Find out where you can find blissful beachy paradise in Turkey here.
More a guesthouse than a hostel, Viru Backpackers is well located in Tallinn’s Old Town. It offers clean and large private rooms with shared bathroom and you can have freshly cooked pancakes for breakfast. This is a quiet place, but if you’re up for the party vibe, you can head along to Viru’s sister hostel, Monk’s Bunk, which offers a bar and drinking games. Find out what else you can discover in the beautiful Baltics here.
This Sarajevo hostel is usually booked out it’s so popular. It’s located in Sarajevo’s Old Town precinct and offers a kitchen, cosy dining area and computers. Dorms are large, comfortable and some have ensuite bathrooms. Make sure you take the Under Siege tour organised by the hostel to learn about Sarajevo’s dark war history and check about the abandoned bobsled track. It’s not free but it’s worth doing.
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I found this little gem while on a road trip from Brisbane to Canberra. They have a generous back deck looking out to mountains and farmland, as well as hammocks to make the most of Australia’s sunny climate. This is the perfect place to chill for a few days and take in the beautiful natural sights nearby such as Waterfall Way and Dorrigo National Park. Don't forget to check out these other places in New South Wales that you simply can't miss!
Spend a night in the slammer at Jailhouse Accommodation. The jail was closed in 1999 when it was decided to place prisons outside of Christchurch’s city boundaries. Your dorm bed is located in a renovated cell, and staff are all ‘wardens’. The quirky hostel offers a large kitchen and common areas and staff are well versed in things to do around the area.
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From the minute I walked into this hostel, I felt so welcome. All the staff greeted me by name (even some I swear I had never met before!) and nothing was too much trouble. The dorms are big, really clean, offer large curtained beds, and have ensuites. For breakfast, you have a choice of five different options ranging from American breakfast to a Vietnamese style breakfast. They gave me so much food for breakfast, I had trouble finishing it.
There’s two First hostels in Sri Lanka – one near Colombo Airport and one on the south coast in the beach town of Mirissa. Both offer fresh and clean sleeping and common spaces and have the nicest staff. The Colombo Airport hostel is only a short tuk tuk ride from the airport and backs onto a picturesque lake. The one at Mirissa is a short walk from the ocean and the beach bars.
Travel Tip: While you're in glorious Sri Lanka, why not venture on the scenic train journey to Ella?
Part hostel and part guesthouse with a mix of private and dorm rooms, this place is an Indonesian paradise. Located in Bali’s north, the guesthouse is the perfect spot to enjoy a quieter part of Bali. Beds are huge and come with mosquito nets, and the shared bathroom is beautiful with lots of greenery and an outdoor shower. You’ll be greeted on your arrival to Santhika with an iced tea and fresh fruit, then you can relax on day beds, take a dip in the pool, or borrow one of their bikes for free and take a ride through ricefields and down to the beach.
Komodo National Park is another incredible spot in Indonesia you may like to consider visiting. Have a read of what it's like to go diving there in crystal clear water and walking among the famous (and sometimes frightening) komodo dragons!
There’s a range of guesthouses and hostels to choose from in Georgetown’s Love Lane. My pick was the 80s Guesthouse, which offers clean and comfortable dorms in a character filled colonial building. It’s close to Little India, the fabulous evening street food stalls of Chulia Street, as well as the ferry terminal.
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There are so many great hostels to stay in around the world, so getting out there and exploring doesn’t have to cost you a fortune in accommodation! Now that you know where to stay, find out which items are essential to pack for budget travellers.
Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 60 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.