It’s a common scenario: You’ve made a resolution to travel more in 2018, but while booking your trip, you’re frozen in a state of disbelief at how quickly costs can add up. Though some expenses like airfare and meals can’t be avoided, there are ways for you save on where you stay. Regular hotels can be pricey, and while Airbnb can be a more economical option, if you don’t feel up to sharing a home or communicating with a foreign host, you may want to consider a hostel.
Before you say there’s no way you’re staying in a room with 16 prison-esque bunk beds filled with rowdy travelers and a public bathroom, you should know that hostels have come a long way in the last decade in terms of design and atmosphere. Most even offer private rooms with ensuite bathrooms, so you’ll get the solitude of a hotel with the perks of having local, knowledgeable staff and plenty of chances for social interactions with other guests — should you desire that.
Based on thousands of real travelers’ reviews, Hostelworld.com has announced its 2018 Hoscar (yes, that’s a thing) winners. The top hostels all got high marks for staff, cleanliness, and location, but we’ve rounded up 12 that are even better than hotels thanks to their affordability and uniqueness. (Note: Prices have been converted to dollars and may change depending on season).
6. The Madhouse, Prague, Czech Republic
If you do happen to be one of those travelers seeking to party hard and make new friends, then the Madhouse is a perfect option. Guests love it for the social atmosphere, with family dinners and beer pong tournaments hosted nightly, and group outings curated by the fun-loving staff. Structurally, the Madhouse, voted the number one hostel in the Czech Republic, is more like your typical hostel with a bed in an 8-person dorm (running about $25), but the walls are covered in graffiti and murals that take the vibe from budget to rad. Themadhouseprague.com
1. Stone City Hostel, Pazar, Gjirokaster, Albania
A cozy hostel with old world charm, Stone City is located in the heart of historic Gjirokaster, just steps from the bazaar, and was voted Albania’s Best Hostel. Guests are welcomed into a beautiful garden and once inside, the stone-walled rooms and rooftop terrace offer breathtaking views of the nearby castle and hillsides. A private double room is only $34 per night, and a bed in a 10-person dorm is $13. Stonecityhostel.com