Whether it's checking out national parks in the United States or heading overseas to Europe, Asia, or South America, there's a lot of ground for a wanderlusting traveler to cover. Between airfare, local transportation, lodging, sightseeing, insurance, and other expenses, the cost of travel can become daunting quickly for people trying to budget wisely. One of the easiest ways to penny-pinch is to stay at hostels rather than hotels or vacation rentals. Hostels have a reputation as somewhat shoddy accommodations, but some offer the same comfort and quality as a hotel. Although the cheapest rates are for dorm-style rooms that might be filled with bunk beds and use shared bathrooms, there are sometimes private rooms with attached toilet and bathing facilities, and common quarters offer a chance to meet fellow travelers. These 10 hostels around the world receive some of the highest ratings on hostel booking sites and run a tab lower than a hotel stay, with nightly rates charged by the person.
10 Top-Rated Hostels Around the World
One of the most popular destinations in Brazil is Iguaçu Falls on the border with Argentina. A trip to South America could cost a pretty penny just for the flight, so it's good news that the Che Lagarto Hostel in Iguaçu provides top-rated accommodations for about $20 a night. Guests reviewing the property on Hostelworld have given it a "superb" rating of 9.4 out of 10 averaged from more than 700 reviews. Che Lagarto has free Wi-Fi and a free breakfast buffet, patio and deck, seasonal pool, and jacuzzi. It also promises bathrooms in each room and hot water for showers -- not always a given.
For quality lodging on a budget in Berlin, look up this brightly lit, colorful, hip hostel with free Internet and plenty of other amenities, such as parking, lockers, a book exchange, a swimming pool, and a bar. Depending on the sort of room selected, a stay could be $50 or less a night (not too shabby, considering the pool access). With a 9.2 rating from more than 6,500 Hostelworld reviewers, Plus Berlin is a good base for a trip to this historic European city and its nightlife, shopping, and art districts.
Tourists can enjoy ultra-futuristic, sleek décor that feels like a fancy hotel for less than $20 a night. Space Inn, which one customer describes as "like staying in a space station," has a game room, free Internet, laundry, postal service, and airport transfers. The hostel has a 9.2 rating on Hostelworld, averaged from more than 200 reviews, a "superb" ranking. Reviewers consider it a perfect place to sleep, meet new friends, and relax while exploring Taipei.
The Naughty Squirrel Backpackers Hostel is set up for more adventurous travelers. The hostel is centrally located in Riga, convenient for tourists exploring the city primarily on foot, and offers a range of activities for guests that include husky dog sledding and (supervised) AK-47 shooting. Towels, Wi-Fi, and games are all included in the price of a stay, and there's a bar inside. Staying in a dorm-style room costs only about $15 and single rooms run about $45. More than 3,400 reviews on Hostelworld average out to a 9.7 score and a "superb" ranking.
Heading to Egypt to see the pyramids? The Freedom Hostel in Cairo has a 9 out of 10 rating on Hostelz.com averaged from more than 100 reviews. This is a simple, child-friendly hostel with free breakfast, air conditioning, laundry for a fee, small guest kitchen, and Internet. Its prime selling points are a central location and rates as low as $10 a night.
St. Petersburg is a popular travel destination with beautiful architecture, legendary museums, and delicious food, all easily accessible to travelers staying at Soul Kitchen. Guests taking a break from the convenient tourist spots will find a modern, comfy, and cozy interior with games, TV, Internet, and ample room to hang out with travel companions and chat with other guests. The cost of a night's stay is between $20 and $60, depending on the style of room. More than 1,000 reviews of Soul Kitchen average a 9.8 rating on Hostelworld.
This sleek, chic, and cheap spot is identified as the most popular hostel in Sydney by Hostelworld and it's clear why. The large brick building that houses the hostel is next to a handy transit station -- one stop from the airport -- as well as pleasing to the eye, and the views from its large windows aren't bad, either. For between $30 and $55 a night, guests can enjoy not only a central location but also an in-house café, bar, steam room, and restaurant and a focus on free and cheap activities.
Reykjavik is a destination for travelers who want to enjoy European city life while relaxing and partaking in natural spas. The Kex Hostel, a renovated biscuit factory ("Kex" is "biscuit" in Icelandic), features an outdoor terrace, airport transfers, Internet, games, a café, and a bar, as well as useful features such as laundry, a gym, and a guest kitchen. Its quirky décor provides a unique experience on a small budget: Rates are between $35 and $80 a night. The more expensive double rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Iceland is renowned for its music and nightlife, and Kex has been known to bring in bands to play free for its guests. More than 2,000 reviews on Hostelworld give Kex an average 8.8 rating of "fabulous."
Travelers to San Diego can enjoy an inexpensive, fun stay at USA Hostel Gaslamp, where the design is as funky and high-quality as a boutique hotel. The brightly colored interior is a treat on its own, sweetened by the fact that the hostel is pet-friendly and there are free, all-you-can-eat pancakes along with breakfast every day. Nightly stays in the heart of the city's historic and entertaining Gaslamp Quarter are $30 to $80, and the management emphasizes citywide events and activities for guests. The hostel boasts a number of creative and thoughtful touches, such as secure lockers that contain chargers for electronics and "privacy pod" screens that make dorm-style beds more appealing. Private rooms with shared baths are available. The hostel gets a 96 percent rating out of 105 reviews on Hostelbookers.
Travelers to Mexico City can rent a room in the beautiful Casa San Ildefenso for between $19 and $35 a night, enjoying free breakfast daily, an outdoor terrace, and free Internet. The centrally located 19th century building has been renovated recently and has plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. Most of the rooms have attached showers and restrooms, and reviewers on Hostelz commend the site's quiet, courtyard, and location, with an average rating of 8.8 out of 10 from 143 users.