Here are some Web sites and tips for staying in youth hostels that will help you save money.
Hostels have long been associated with students trekking through Europe. But actually there are hundreds of hostels throughout the United States and, over the past decade, they have evolved to accommodate all types of travelers, including couples and families. Gone are the days of age limits, compulsory chores, and crowded dorm rooms. In fact, most hostels now offer private rooms.
If you'd like to stay in a hostel, here's what you should know.
Expect to pay about $10 to $30 a night for a shared room and $40 to $80 for private accommodations.
Book several months ahead, particularly if you want a private room.
To locate and book a hostel in your desired destination, check out www.hostels.com, a database of 8,000 hostels throughout the world. Or visit www.hihostels.com, the site for Hostelling International (HI), a nonprofit organization that requires its facilities to uphold certain standards of cleanliness.
Hostels that are well located in vacation spots include HI-Portland, Northwest, (503) 241-2783; HI-Point Montara Lighthouse, Montara, Calif., (650) 728-7177; HI-Santa Cruz, Calif., (831) 423-8304; HI-Seattle, (206) 622-5443.
Photography courtesy of San Francisco Youth Hostel
This article was first published in July 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.