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Hotel room prices can take a big bite out of your budget for your trip to the Big Apple – but we at Free Tours by Foot want to let you in on tips that will make your stay in New York City both affordable and comfortable. More and more, travelers are looking for alternatives to large chain hotels with costly rooms and staying in new, high-quality hostel/hotel hybrids.
Best Hostels in New York
There are many different hostels in NYC that offer a range of experiences. Some, like HI International and Jazz Hostels, are more youthful and attract those hoping to meet new friends. Others, like the Pod Hotel and NYC Budget Inn, are much quieter and offer greater privacy — making them perfect for business travelers. And the NYC Loft Hostel is a very hip hostel in Brooklyn that falls somewhere between the two!
Though hostels are much cheaper than hotels, they are still more expensive in NYC than many other places in the world. If you can’t find something within your budget, be sure to check out the Eurocheapo New York website. They specialize in budget accommodations and actually visit and review those they have stayed at. Another interesting and affordable option is to offer yourself as a house sitter. Trusted Housesitters (US) pairs homeowners with house-sitters. You take care of the plants and pets in exchange for free accommodations. Sounds like a great deal. They also offer our guests 10% membership when you use FREETOURS10 at checkout.
The Guardian newspaper also has a great article on house sitting. Visiting New York City does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. You’ll need those legs to join one of our many walking tours and bike tours!
HI International NYC – 891 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
HI International NYC is part of the global hostel chain, Hostelling International, which is known worldwide for their clean and modern accommodation. This particular hostel is located in an old castle-like building near Central Park. They offer group club outtings on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as comedy, improv, and variety shows in the theater room 4-5 nights a week. The hostel features a large garden, which is actually the largest privately own green space in the city!
Reviews of HI International NYC
HI International NYC is the highest rated hostel in New York City. It has 4 stars on Yelp, 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, and 8.9 on Hostelworld. Nearly everyone who writes a review has nothing but positive things to say about it. People are especially impressed with the hostel’s cleanliness, friendly staff, and convenient location. They even have curtains around each bed to allow for some added privacy in the dorm rooms. All around, highly recommended!
New York Loft Hostel – 249 Varet St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Stay in hip East Williamsburg/Bushwick neighborhood at the award winning New York Loft Hostel. The Loft Hostel focuses on private rooms and rooms with 2 or 3 beds. They offer many amenities, including a computer room, partner fitness center, sun deck, back garden, bar and many regularly scheduled social events to assist the traveler in making new friends in the Big Apple. It’s a great place to take our Bushwick Graffiti and Street Art Tour.
Reviews of New York Loft Hostel
The New York Loft Hostel receives very good reviews and maintains a 4 star rating on both TripAdvisor and Yelp. People seem especially pleased with convenient location in Brooklyn that some say is “perfect for a solo female traveler” because it is in a safe neighborhood. Others praise the hostel for being an easy place to make friends and socialize. The only complaints come from those who had issues with the staff, but reviews like these are uncommon.
New York Budget Inn — East 34st Street at 3rd Ave
So just how much money can you save staying in a private room at a New York hostel? The New York Budget Inn. has private rooms and dorm-style rooms, with either private or shared bathrooms. Let’s say you are a group of 3 travelers–if you are comfortable sharing a bathroom with other guests (as has been the norm for decades around the world in small hotels/hostels), you could pay as little as $40 per person per night! This establishment also offer activity nights, including pizza night, karaoke and much more.
Reviews of the New York Budget Inn
Though it doesn’t have quite as many reviews as some of the other hostels, the New York Budget Inn maintains an impressive 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and 4.5 stars on Yelp. Most of the guests seem to be travelers who come to NYC for business and want the quiet and comfort of a hotel, but for the price of a hostel. This is a great compromise and highly rated by those who have stayed here.
The Pod Hotel – 145 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016; 230 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022
If you are willing to trade room size for a hi-tech, chic atmosphere ideally situated in Midtown Manhattan, The Pod Hotel is for you. Prices vary depending on the number of guests and if you choose a shared or private bathroom. A great savings for two travelers can be had in the “Mini Bunk Pod”. For $200 (plus tax) you’ll get a modern, sleek room with stacked beds, free wi-fi, private bathroom, a media docking station, LCD tv, concierge service and a rooftop deck and stylish lounge area.
Reviews of the Pod Hotel
The Pod Hotels maintain an average of 4 stars across all review sites. Many say that their experience was better than expected and that it is perfect for 1-2 nights. Pod Hotels aren’t quite as social as some of the other youth hostels, but it does offer a lot more privacy and quiet. Despite the rooms being small, they have many amenities and are very modern.
Jazz Hostels – 36 W 106th St, New York City, NY 10025-3805
If you are looking for a fun atmosphere to meet other guests to explore the city with, then one of the Jazz Hostels are for you. With several locations around Manhattan, each with a different vibe, but same array of amenities, you can’t go wrong. Choose between a single, double, or dormitory style room. Fee linens and towels, A/C in all rooms and a 24-hour reception are available.
Jazz Hostels Reviews
Reviews of the Jazz Hostels in NYC are generally very positive, with people rating them between 3 – 3.5 stars on TripAdvisor and Yelp. This a great hostel chain for those looking for a fun social environment. Critical reviews tend to come from those who wished the hostel offered a bit more quiet and privacy. Also, some were disappointed that the wifi only worked in the common areas. However, this is clearly noted on their website and shouldn’t come as a surprise!
Other Hostels in NYC
Broadway Hotel & Hostel – 230 W 101st St, New York, NY 10025
Rating: TripAdvisor – 3.5 stars; Yelp – 3 stars, Hostelworld – 7.8 stars
City Rooms NYC Chelsea – 368 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Rating: TripAdvisor 4 stars; Yelp – 3.5 stars
City Rooms NYC Soho – 120 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013
Rating: TripAdvisor – 4 stars; Yelp – 3 stars
American Dream Hostel – 168 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010
Rating: TripAdvisor – 4 stars; Yelp – 4.5 stars ; Hostelworld – 8.8 stars
Royal Park Hotel – 258 W 97th St, New York, NY 10025
Rating: TripAdvisor – 3 stars; Yelp – 2 stars