SAVING: Stay at a hostel and save

February 16, 2009 9:48:40 AM PST
It's unlikely anyone would confuse a dormitory room filled with bunkbeds with a five-star hotel. But for some travelers, accomodations like these are what make long trips affordable.

Philadelphia has two hostels. The Chamounix Mansion in Fairmount Park and Apple Hostels on Bank Street in Old City. We visited Apple Hostels to learn more about this budget form of travel accomodations.

Marc Desmarais of Apple Hostels explained that a bed at the hostel costs about $30 a night, as opposed to the $100 or more you'd pay for a hotel room.

The hostel provides bed linens, and lockers for personal belongings.

In addition, guests have access to a community kitchen -- since cooking is cheaper than dining out.

The desk staff at Apple Hostels is happy to tell you how to get around the city. And at night, there are opportunities to socialize.

Ashley Dunne, of Canberra, Australia, explained that meeting other guests is one of the advantages of hosteling. "They had a pasta night last night. It's an easy way to meet people," she said.

Apple Hostels is very selective about their guests. You have to prove you're traveling and from at least 100 miles away. Other facilities have different rules, but the goal is the same -- safety for all the guests.

"It's dormitory-style accomodations. People are sharing rooms with complete strangers. Obviously, if you're in that situation, you don't want us to allow just anyone in, " said Desmarais.

Edward Standring, who has stayed in hostels all over the world, said, "Personally, I've been to a lot of hostels in a lot of countries now and I have had not a single problem with theft or anything like that anywhere."

Apple Hostels has single-sex dorms, along with a couples' dorm and a small number of single rooms.

Most of the travelers who stay in hostels are in their early 20s, but Desmarais says some senior citizens also take advantage of this inexpensive way to travel.

For more information about staying in hostels, check out these websites:

Apple Hostels

Chamounix Manion

Hostelling International

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