Here’s a travel secret you may not have considered: one of the best-kept inside tips on staying cheaply in the world’s most expensive cities is to stay in a hostel. Thanks to Chicago’s hostels, you can pinpoint your spending on delicious local cuisine and insightful tours rather than sinking your dollars into a fancy suite you’ll barely spend time in. Hosteling can become a life-long addiction, once you realize the cost benefits, the opportunity to meet new people, and settle in to the shared participation of making your dream trip a memorable time.
What benefits do hostels offer? Hostels are often located central to the action, but at considerably lower rates. You’ll often find a common area where there may be books, board games, a television, and information pamphlets on things to see and do in the city. Some, though not all, will feature artwork and murals to add some color to the locale. They’re frequently located in previously functioning hotels, but they may have been planned to be a hostel from the start. Should you opt to sleep in a shared space, you may have a chance to introduce yourself and even plan impromptu outings or meet-ups with like-minded friend-seekers. Because hostel keepers and visitors are often world travelers, they might be able to offer travel tips for Chicago or other cities. If you’re a frequent hostel-hopper, you may be able to participate in a savings deal for your current or future stay.
There can be downsides, though those can be mitigated. If you’re the kind of person who fears sharing too much space with others, hostels often offer private rooms for smaller, more limited groups of two or more. Check with your hostel before you book. When you share a room, other people might make noise; they could arrive after having partied and want to keep the fun going or they may snore. For that reason, if you’re sharing a common sleeping area earplugs or headphones can be a life-saver. If you’re worried about security, some hostels include lockers. They may have a policy limiting day-time access to rooms regardless, minimizing the chances others can take your things. It’s probably a good practice to keep your money, essential documents, and true valuables on your person regardless. Pillows can be a little old and uncomfortable, so consider bringing your own just in case.
Hosteling is often viewed as a young person’s travel option, but in reality it can be a fun time for all ages. It’s the perfect solution for those on a budget who love meeting new people and are more focused on their trip than on the trappings of where they sleep.