When traveling as a student, the cost of most hotels exceeds our measly budget, but many of the more affordable accommodations can be, well, sketchy. But not all of them! In fact, some of these cheaper options are more intriguing than their swanky hotel counterparts. I’ve hand picked 16 unbelievably cool hostels located around the world that are comfortable, chic and all under $20 a night!
1. India House Backpackers Hostel – New Orleans, Louisiana
This quaint house is in the heart of NOLA and is only minutes away from the French Quarter and home of the jazz fest, making it the perfect place to “Laissez le bon temps rouler”…or let the good times roll! But you better book fast, this place always fills up long before Mardi Gras or any of the city’s famed festivals.
instagram.com/lisers and instagram.com/kpwanders
2. Hostel Quetzal – Cancun, Mexico
Quetzal is the ultimate party hostel in Cancun where bee rpong is not a game but a way of life. They provide free breakfast AND dinner to make sure you can have the strength to get your drink on. The best part that grants this place a spot on the cool hostels list really is the amazing guests and staff that make the atmosphere here second to none.
instagram.com/travel_tasha and instagram.com/HostelQuetzal
3. Casa Gracia Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain
The owners of this hostel are very laid back so there’s no curfew and they recently opened a cool, local restaurant just below the hostel. While this hostel isn’t located in the epicenter of Barcelona, it’s not on the outskirts either and is within reasonable walking distance with easy access to public transportation. Even with the low price, the place has the feel of a chic hotel and the rooms have key card access only, making it a very secure place. The staff are friendly and responsive to any maintenance issues. There is also beautiful backyard terrace where many of the visitors chill out at so it’s a great place to go to if you are traveling solo and looking to make some friends.
4. The Flying Pig Beach Hostel – Amsterdam, Netherlands
This hostel is located in a beach town called Noordwijk, about half an hour outside the center of Amsterdam. The location is perfect for surfing, kite boarding, swimming, mountain biking, and hiking, but the hostel offers a free shuttle to the center of Amsterdam, giving the best of both worlds: city and outdoorsy life. The hostel also has free internet and cheap beer, making it one of the most ideal environments for a relaxed surfer vibe.
instagram.com/dennis_a_martinez and instagram.com/itsssclara
5. Generator Hostel Dublin – Dublin, Ireland
Generator Dublin sits in the heart of Dublin and is right next door to none other than Jameson Distillery, one of the city’s most popular attractions. Of course, this is one of the many cool hostels that has its own bar, where you can sample a variety of local beers. They also provide a complimentary guided walking tour to a different destination around the city each day, so no need to shell out extra for paid activities.
instagram.com/chloeregnauld and instagram.com/poopsipoops
6. Stelios Place at Perissa Beach – Santorini, Greece
As one of the highest rated hostels in Greece (clearly earning a spot on our cool hostels list), this place gives you the most for your money. Only steps away from the most popular beach in Santorini, you are guaranteed to have breathtaking views. Not to mention, the hostel also offers a shorefront café/tavern so you can sip drinks on the beach in between windsurfing and diving lessons.
7. Home Lisbon Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal
The mother of the owner of this hostel cooks delicious dinner every night for guests, which will make you feel right at home and provides a comfortable social setting. They provide a free daily walking tour to show you the city in a different light too!
instagram.com/nycgirlinpearls and instagram.com/sierrabaldwin
8. Hostel Suites Florida – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hotel Suites Florida is conveniently located in the heart of downtown, only steps away from Avenida 9 de Julio, the city’s largest pedestrian shopping street. They have a bar and small cinema, as well as a travel agency, so you’ll never have to wonder what you are doing during your stay.
instagram.com/rapalves and instagram.com/char.duckwen
9. Loki Backpackers La Paz – La Paz, Bolivia
Loki offers the best views of La Paz and is only a short walk from the lively city center. Most importantly, the staff are some of the nicest people and the gaming and common areas provide a relaxed social atmosphere. Bonus points for those cool hostels that include free meals – Loki’s Sky Bar on the roof will show you the best views of Bolivia.
10. Afrovibe Adventure Lodge – Knysna, South Africa
Knysna has been consistently voted as the most beautiful town in South Africa and it’s no wonder why. This quaint seaside village is along South Africa’s Garden Route and packed with shores perfect for dolphin spotting. Afrovibe sits right on Myoli beach, which is the least crowded of beaches in the area and a perfect for quietly enjoying the surf. The hostel has an outdoor barbeque pit where you can relax and eat outside while watching the beautiful sunset.
instagram.com/lisamyp and instagram.com/shelleycalvert
11. Shoestrings Backpackers – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World can be crossed off your bucket list after visiting Victoria Falls. Because the destination is so popular, most accommodations (including other cool hostels) in the area are expensive and not budget-friendly in the least. However, Shoestrings Backpackers offers the best accommodation for those on a shoestring budget, hence the name. The rooms are spacious and cozy and the staff are very happy to guide you around the area and assist in planning any activities you desire.
12. Dream Kasbah – Marrakech, Morocco
Morocco is one of the most popular destinations in Africa and a stay at Dream Kasbah will open you up to all the country has to offer. Dream Kasbah is located in Kasbah, a small town right next to Marrakech that hasn’t yet been overpopulated by tourists. You’ll get to interact with many locals and feel right at home in the small town while still being within reasonable distance to Marrakech’s main attractions.
instagram.com/hugo_jung_ and hostelworld.com
13. Wada Hostel – Guilin, China
Wada is an amazing hostel in Guilin, which is the perfect location for taking a tour of some of China’s most beautiful rice terraces. Monica and the Wada girls are amazing hosts and will make you feel right at home. How many other cool hostels will teach you how to make traditional dumplings on Monday nights?!
instagram.com/wanderlust_shahin and instagram.com/vchris7
14. FIN Hostel – Phuket, Thailand
FIN hostel is right along Kata’s busy Night Plaza which is full of places to shop. It’s only a 5-minute walk away from Kata Beach, 10 minutes from Phuket Beach, and 15 minutes away from Bang La road’s shopping street so you’ll have plenty of options to choose where you want to take your surfing lessons or stock up on those cute souvenirs.
15. MNL Boracay Beach Hostel – Boracay, Phillipines
Known for its beautiful white sand beaches, Boracay is the place to be in the Philippines. MNL combines the laid back style of a backpacker’s hostel with the luxurious feel of a beach side resort. To top it off, their staff are some really cool locals that can give you some great tips on the best spots in town.
instagram.com/flower_cognac and instagram.com/hong_seong_mins
16. Bunk Backpackers – Brisbane, Australia
Bunk is located on the edge of Chinatown where you’ll get some delicious eats and in the central business district 15 minutes away you can find some great shopping places. They have another bar outside that is really relaxed and is a great place to meet people, while the nightclub on the bottom level is very lively. Better yet, you can nurse your hangover with the huge portions they serve for their daily free breakfast.
instagram.com/toohfab and instagram.com/stefway
Featured image source: kiwiflies.files.wordpress.com
Chantal is a senior studying Communication and Sociology at Cornell University. She is a chocolate enthusiast who likes to spend her time exploring new places and hopes to travel the world.