If you’ve ever traveled to Boston from out of town and lacked the ability to stay with friends or family, then you probably already know — Boston is just one of those places where a good, safe night’s sleep costs a pretty penny … or much more.
What can you do, then, when you don’t have a lot of money to spend on hotel accommodations? One option that travelers to the city have been taking advantage of for ages is a reservation at a local hostel.
Although most commonly identified with young people wandering from place to place on extended group vacations, hostels are actually for adults — and sometimes children accompanied by adult guardians — of any age.
Two excellent hostel options for the budget-conscious right here in Boston are managed by the well-known non-profit organization Hostelling International (HI). Travelers can select from either the Back Bay or the Fenway location, both of which offer private rooms, in addition to the traditional shared rooms, at a higher but still bargain price.
As of this writing, members of HI who stay at the Back Bay hostel can reserve a single bed in a six-bedroom for $27.99–$44.99 per night, while HI members who choose the Fenway hostel can reserve a single bed in a three-bedroom for $36–$45 per night.
For those who can’t tolerate or don’t want communal sleeping arrangements, private rooms are available for HI members at a cost of $69.99–$99.99 per night at the Back Bay location and for $96–$119 per night at Fenway. Non-HI members pay just $3 more per night for both types of accommodations if they prefer not to join the organization for a very reasonable and nominal fee.
To learn more about the unique traits of HI hostels in Boston — for example, identification requirements, reservation procedures, check-in and check-out policies, limitations on visits, sharing of common areas, storage and laundry options, perks such as complimentary breakfasts included in the bed prices, and getting the most out of the travel benefits offered to guests — visit the HI Boston Hostels website.
Incidentally, on the one occasion long ago that I had to travel to Boston and secure well-priced sleeping arrangements, I used craigslist and lucked out with spectacular, cheap accommodations by subletting a room for a few weeks. It was in the two-bedroom condo of a woman I didn’t know who was never home — she had gone to work every morning when I got up and came home late each night and went straight to bed — and was about to move out after her former roommate had already left.
The arrangement didn’t bother me because Boston and surrounding areas truly comprise a college environment filled with lots of people renting and subletting housing via the craigslist website. I was traveling with someone then, however, and I also had the benefits of planning far in advance and being extremely familiar with the area beforehand.
If the absence of funds forces you to go the craigslist route, tread very, very carefully. While I’ve never heard of anything horrible happening, it never hurts to be hyper-cautious and super aware. Hostels managed by Hostelling International seem like a better, safer, more reliable, and less stressful bet.