If you’re a couple backpacking in Auckland on a budget, the last thing you want to do is stay in a cramped dorm surrounded by strangers. However, you don’t want to pay over the odds to get private accommodation either.
At Freemans Lodge you don’t have to as for an additional €3 you can stay in a comfortable two-bed, self-contained apartment complete with lounge, kitchen, bath, shower, toilet and TV.
The popular hostel also features a comfortable lounge where you can relax and watch TV with a complimentary tea or coffee, and a spacious garden to laze away those sunny Auckland afternoons with fellow backpackers.
The lodge is located just outside Auckland's CBD, just a short stroll from the restaurant laden area of Ponsonby. The city centre is just five minutes away by bus.
65 Wellington Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland, New Zealand
Google map: tinyurl.com/2usp89e
The main draw of the Anandamayi is the cute, pretty extras it provides. Hammocks, pretty geraniums, colourful patios, a garden with waterfall and fish create an attractive exterior which is a pleasure to walk up to.
The interior is clean and tidy, and the hotel/hostel has a very homely, cosy feel. Most guests however spend a lot of time in the garden and courtyard which are by far the gems of the property.
All the major attractions of Bogota are within walking distance and they have a female dorm available at the same rate for those who would don't want to be in a mixed one.
Cabana Copa gains consistently high reviews from all who stay there, its location is safe and convenient, it is close to the metro and bus stop and is very clean. Moreover, it’s independently owned so there is a very high attention to detail, a more personable approach and the manager is on site everyday.
They offer nice big lockers for all your bags allowing you to explore and enjoy the Copacabana beach (two blocks away) without the constant worry of the safety of your luggage. Friendly and helpful staff complete the package.
Great hostel in Cape Town, in a safe neighbourhood within the City Improvement District. They have an overnight security guard, so there is a sense of safety at all times.
Another highlight of this find is the private courtyard and swimming pool - perfect for relaxing after a night out or a morning of sightseeing.
It's central location means that you can easily pop out for a coffee, look round the shops or go out for a few drinks with the reassurance that it's only a five minute walk back to the hostel.
Girls have to give up a lot when they backpack in a thriving city like New York – think makeup, haircare, and comfortable beds! I can impart my sound knowledge and tips regarding female travel as well as recommending some good tricks when visiting the Big Apple!
You must leave any non-essentials behind. The last thing you want whilst away is trying to lug your heavy backpack from place to place, and struggling rather than enjoying the sights the city has to offer. If you must take makeup, take waterproof mascara and some lip gloss... that's it. Plus, New York has so many shops that you may have to end up posting things back home anyway.
Be savvy with the clothes you pack. Obviously make sure they are lightweight, but also things that can be worn in different ways are a good way to cut corners, I found long vests and tees that double up as little dresses very helpful. You will pick up lots of bits and pieces as you go round as there are so many little thrift stores, bookshops, and the more famous department stores to explore. Taking favourite jewellery or accessories is a definite no-no.
Also make sure you try out the sprawling subway network, but make sure to plan your route carefully so that at no point during the stay you find yourself in the dark on your own in an area you don't know.
With so many hostels available in London, it is such a daunting task trying to pick one when you stay. St Christophers Inn’s Orient Espresso is one of the best hostels the capital has to offer, and is extremely popular with female travellers in particular. The St Christopher’s chain has a few hostels in the area, but Espresso’s situated above a coffee shop and smack bang in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. It is one of its best offererings with clean, comfortable, relaxing rooms and a great atmosphere.
It has a special Oasis female only sanctuary with an 8 bed girls dorm which is really good for feeling safer and more comfortable in an unknown city. Even if you want to stay in for a while after you arrive there is free internet, chess sets, travel library and chill out room so there’s little chance of getting bored whatever your mood is.
From the hostel you can easily walk to Southbank, and take a stroll along the Thames which is one of the best way to see the city’s historic landmarks such as the London Eye and Big Ben. Most of the main galleries are also within easy reach of the river so you can soak up all the culture you want, if you only want to see a few of the galleries then definately drop in at the Tate Modern and make sure you keep an eye out for some of the amazing graffitti which is scattered about.
This hostel is the only all-girls hostel in New York and is perfectly located right next to Central Park, with bags of the ‘New Harlem’ spirit and character you would expect for the area. Its main draw is the ideal location, you can easily get the express trains to most places in Manhattan from here as well as take a stroll around during the day.
With an antractive pink front door, this brownstone hostel blends in with the surroundings and neighboring houses. Inside the interior is simple and fresh and there are loads of opportunities to meet other female backpackers in the evenings when you are back from sightseeing.
Mykonos oozes chic, but this cute and quirky guesthouse is an oasis of affordable, but comfortable, rooms amongst the boutique hotels and super-luxe villas.
Perched on a hillside, the guesthouse is located above the School of Fine Arts, and is solar-powered. So far, so Mykonos.
But inside it's a far less trendy affair, a jumble of cosy rooms with traditional whitewashed walls and splashes of bright decor.
With a pretty terraced garden, sweet sleepy cafe and rooms opening out to the sea, the location is peaceful but only a few steps into the town center.
The lovely owners will offer to pick you up from the airport, and you can hire bikes to explore the surrounding countryside.
Perfect for a laid back and romantic island escape.
School of Fine Arts, Mykonos Island, Cyclades, Greece 84600
Book on www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/greece/mykonos-island/10117/
If you're backpacking in Bangkok why pay for a dorm when you can get a private room for the same price?
The Roof View is a lovely guesthouse with dirt cheap private rooms, and free breakfast, linen and towels.
The rooms are all pretty stylish,there are comfy beds with fresh white decor and a private balcony.
It's a ten minute walk to the Khaosan Road and a short bus drive to the Grand Palace.
90/1 Samsean Rd Soi 6,, Banpanthom, Pranakorn, Bangkok, Thailand 10200
This is a top hostel to stay in during the Edinburgh Fringe.
Right on the Royal Mile, this hostel goes all out for the Fringe, with a Festival Pub crawl and competitions to win show tickets.
The arty decor chimes with the Fringe's 'alternative' vibe, and the lively, social atmosphere make it the perfect place to crash post-party.
There's also a bargain breakfast for under £2, the rooms are comfortable and smarter than your average backpacker's hostel, and the staff will give you a guided tour of the Royal Mile.
For family friendly accommodation at the Fringe, avoid overpriced hotels - they'll probably be booked up anyway months in advance. Instead try a family friendly hostel.
Aimed at a higher clientele than cash-strapped backpackers, the Smart City Hostel is a 'boutique' hostel– all rooms are private with ensuite bathrooms, and there are special family rooms with a TV.
The free linen and towels, washing machines and self-catering facilities are a great way to keep costs down (you can make large family meals or prepare a packed lunch for the daytime).
Very comfortable rooms, and a central location in the heart of the old town, so it was easy to cart the whole family to the main venues!
It can be difficult to find cheap food at the Fringe - especially as most places seem to be packed or overpriced in August.
Here are some tips for eating on a budget:
- Carry a bottle of water, a few snacks and a packed lunch with you during the day - you can munch during during long queues for tickets, and avoid the premium prices at cafes and sandwich shops in the city center.
- Head to the Edinburgh Farmer's Market on Saturdays for some budget-friendly food. Held between 9am and 2pm at Castle Terrace, it's stalls sell filling hot takeaway food, such as venison burgers and a hog roast!
- Some of the venues have great cafes, but they can get crowded in between shows. Instead, try the street stalls around the main venues such as Johnston Terrace and Bristo Square. The Traverse Theatre Bar and Café has a decent selection of reasonably priced food, and the courtyards inside the Pleasance Dome Theatre are home to stalls selling huge hot dogs and burgers.
- With some shows, food actually comes as part of your ticket. Early risers can catch Shakespeare for breakfast at C Venue at 10am, and watch the Bard’s best plays with a croissant and a cup of tea or coffee.
- For a cheap meal out, check out the Mosque Kitchen (officially called The Lunch Box) where you can pick up huge portions of halal curries for just a few pounds.
This multi-cultural festival is a great budget alternative to the pricier and overcrowded Fringe and main festival.
Set up by a group of ethnic minorities in Edinburgh, Mela means ‘gathering’ in Sanskrit and is a celebration of cultural diversity in Scotland.
The festival has a laid-back vibe, with food stalls and a craft market alongside the main line-up of theatre, music, film, and visual art from around the world, from Zimbabwean Theatre to Bollywood Dance.
It's only £2 for an all day pass, but some single events are free.
7-9th August, Pilrig Park
Most people have heard of the Free Fringe festival, and the line-up of comedy is superb. But there are loads of other lesser known free festivals and events going on in August.
Here are just a couple...
The International Book Festival has loads of free events - from the daily free poetry reading at 10am to the free live music in the Spiegelbar. There's also loads of free stuff for children, a daily storytime, nursery rhyme time for babies and free workshops.
The Festival Calvacade is a free parade of 3,000 performers from all the Edinburgh festivals - this year it kicks off in Holyrood Park on 9th August.
The Edinburgh Interactive Festival is a free video game festival, where budding gamers can road test and watch screenings of new games.
Great Guide to free events:
Looking for something free to do? Valencia has several large public parks and gardens which are great places for a quiet stroll or a scenic picnic.
The pretty Jardin Botanico is home to 7,000 species of shrubs and trees, and the Italian-style Monforte Gardens are filled with marble statues and beautiful flowerbeds. The Jardines de Rio Turia was once a river, but is now a strip of gardens, sports fields and playground, with a world-class concert hall smack bang in the middle.
Monforte Gardens, Plaza de la Legión Española, Valencia, V 46010 Spain
Botanic Gardens, Calle Quart 80, Valencia 46008
Jardines de Rio Turia, Antiguo cauce del Turia
Forget forking out for the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, this cathedral is free to visit and is just as much of an architectural jumble.
Work started on the cathedral in 1262, resulting in a building that ranges from Romanesque to Gothic, so it's a fascinating place to wander around. Take a trip up the Miguelete Bell Tower, a city landmark, or check out the a cup believed to be the Holy Grail.
These aren't the most scenic beaches in Spain; two former fisherman’s districts transformed in the 1960s into a slightly ugly urban sprawl - but there's still plenty of sand, a promenade of palm trees and the deep blue sea.
There are still a few traditional houses tucked along the mile-long esplanade, and the Paseo de Neptuno is a great place to pick up some cheap Paella.
For a quieter beach a little further afield, try Saler.
Take the tram from Pont de Fusta (opposite Torres de Serranos in Barrio del Carmen).
The Museo De Bellas Artes is a great free museum. Tucked away in the 19th century suburbs of the city, it costs nothing to gawp at 2,000 paintings by artists such as Goya, Velazquez and several other important Valencian artists from the 14th-19th centuries.
The building itself, a former seminary built between 1683 and 1744, is also pretty spectacular.
Calle de San Pío X 9
46017 Valencia, Spain
+34 963 870 300
Valencia manages to be both super chic and cheap, with a glut of boutique hostels and budget accommodation in the city center.
But the ABC B&B is no backpacker's crash pad; me and my partner stayed in this small bed and breakfast run by a young couple, and the rooms are minimalist and super modern - all whitewashed brick walls, futuristic furniture and plasma TV screens on the wall. There was even a mini Apple Mac in our room!
Despite the super-cool exterior, the owners have just returned from travelling as a couple, and so offer a load of homely extras perfect for a budget romantic break, like breakfast in bed and a bottle of Cava in your room. The original building is also a beautiful old apartment with huge balconies overlooking the city.
It can be difficult to find somewhere cheap and romantic, but the ABC more than delivered. There are only a couple of rooms, so it's easy to get to know the other guests, and you're just around the corner from one of the main squares.
Calle del Taquígrafo Martí 10, Valencia, Spain 46005
Another great gay hostel in Madrid - this cool modernist building is in the Chueca area - great for gay nightlife and parties.
The staff are extremely welcoming and will give out any advice on things to see, gay/lesbian advice, free vouchers for clubs, saunas etc...
The rooms have ensuite and have great facilities - tvs, free internet, safety deposit boxes, linen and towels.
Calle Pizarro 14 -1,Madrid, Spain, 28004
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