Top Hostels and Budget Hotels in New York

You can’t call yourself a world traveller if you haven’t gone to New York City, the mecca of urban landscapes. In a previous Active Backpacker post, we even shared some of the reasons why this city attracts so many people everyday — such as the mesmerising Metropolitan Museum of Art and the breathtaking views at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.

Despite these reasons, however, many are discouraged to visit NYC because of the notoriously expensive prices. But that’s not always true, especially if you know the right places to go. Sights like the Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge are all top destinations in the Big Apple that don’t cost a thing. Aside from that, you can also find cheap places to stay all around the city. Here are some accommodation options for the budget backpacker:

Chelsea International Hostel

The Chelsea International Hostel is one of New York’s original hostels. People like it because it is conveniently situated in Chelsea District, where all the galleries are located. It’s even walking distance to sights such as the Empire State Building and Times Square. The facilities are very basic, with single beds for each person in their four- and two-person dorm rooms. According to the Savvy Backpacker, a single bed in a shared room will cost around $50-$60 (A$70-85). They also serve free breakfast and host occasional pizza nights.

The Local

Arguably the best and hippest hostel in NYC right now, The Local caters to young travellers since most of its amenities are shared bunk bed-style dorm rooms with en-suite bathrooms. A Time Out review notes that each of their beds has its own locker, lamp, socket and reading light; the bare minimum requirements for a young traveller. What’s more, the hostel boasts a lively communal area with its own bar serving beer on tap. You can even look out to the New York skyline from the hostel’s terrace. While The Local is located in Queens on Long Island, and it’s conveniently close to subway lines and ferries leading into Brooklyn or Manhattan that more than make up for its location.

Jazz on the Park Hostel

This hostel is deemed by The Broke Backpacker as the best hostel for solo travellers going to NYC. Jazz on the Park Hostel is located in the Upper West Side, right in front of Central Park. A single bed in one of their shared dorms can cost as low as $45 (A$63) a night during their spring sales. Guests can also enjoy a cool lounge and game room, as well as free outings and events such as barbecues and pub crawls.

Blue Moon Boutique Hostel & Hotel

Blue Moon is located in the trendy Upper East Side neighbourhood, surrounded by popular areas such as SoHo, East Village, and Chinatown. Road Affair recommends this accommodation for art and history lovers who are into hotels with ornate historical detail. The private rooms are adorned with antiques and feature high ceilings. For more budget-friendly options, however, there are dorm rooms for around $50 (A$70).

Nesva Hotel

Also located in Long Island, it’s hard to miss Nesva Hotel because of its blue and orange exteriors. Although it’s marketed as a boutique hotel, it’s one of the more affordable hotels in Queens. Most of their rooms cost around $100 (A$140) a night, something worth splurging on for a night or two because you get to see the Manhattan skyline from your window. Even though it’s pretty new, Nesva Hotel has been getting good reviews owing to its clean and quaint facilities, accommodating staff, and the quiet atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Pod 39 Hotel

This is another great hotel for backpackers wanting to experience living in downtown Manhattan. One of the best parts of staying in a budget downtown Manhattan hotel like Pod 39 is that you are spending your nights in one of the most expensive property markets in the world for a fraction of the price that residents who live there pay. James McGrath on Yoreevo details how the average Manhattan apartment is worth $2 million (A$2.81 million), and they won’t even be near top locations like Central Park. This property, however, is a beautiful brick building right on Murray’s Hill. What keeps the budget hotel competitive though is that the rooms are very compact in size, hence the term “pod.”

BKLYN House Hotel

The Guardian refers to the hotel as a “no-frills boutique property” that regularly features local Brooklyn artists’ works on their walls. The hotel is inspired by the creative culture of Bushwick and is located on the fringes of the “new Williamsburg.” This modern quirky accommodation gives you a taste of the surrounding area’s thriving art scene with a clean and relaxed ambiance.

There you have it — a list of some of the cheapest and most attractive accommodation options in New York for budget backpackers. Always remember to book ahead and avoid the price hike that comes with getting a place at the last minute so that you get to enjoy your trip to the Big Apple without burning a hole in your pocket.

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