General Cost-Saving Tips

  • Stay for free! Wouldn’t it be great if a local would just open up his or her home to you, let you stay for free and show you around the city? It IS great, and thanks to awesome online networking sites, it can happen! Check out:
    The Couch Surfing Project
    Hospitality Club
  • Work. I know what you’re thinking: you don’t want to WORK while you’re traveling. But it can be a very rewarding experience, show you a non-urban side of local life, and all your housing and food is provided for free! Our faves:
    Help Exchange
  • Travel slowly. Staying in one place for a longer period of time (a week or more) gives you the power to negotiate a weekly rate that’s cheaper than the nightly rate.
  • We researched potential hostels at, finding their user reviews very helpful. However, DO NOT BOOK through their site. You’ll pay more than you would if booking directly through the hostel. You may also be penalized if you end up canceling your reservation.

European Accommodation Reviews

Having trouble deciding where to stay? Hopefully we can help you out! Reviews are sorted by country.


Iralkio, Crete
Iraklio Youth Hostel

Score: 0/4
This was our first hosteling experience, and looking back, I’m surprised we ever tried a hostel again. The whole place smells funky, everything feels damp (including the beds), there’s no toilet paper, and you won’t feel clean even after you shower. We paid 10 euros a night for dorm-style beds in rooms separated by gender. Sheets cost extra, but I wouldn’t want to sleep on them. Sure, it’s cheap and the staff speaks English, but this can be said for several superior accommodation options right down the street. Bonus: this is where the local jail puts up its recently-released prisoners for the night. One was staying in Brittany’s room.

Chania, Crete
Pension Nora

Score: 3/4
We stayed in a comfortably sized apartment with two beds, a bathroom and a small kitchenette (fridge, hot plate) for one month. The owner is a straightforward, nice-enough Greek named Eftiki. His girlfriend, Natalie, who lives on the same street, is Scottish and immensely helpful! She was able to give us advice on things to see and places to eat in Chania. The rooms are clean and you get service every other day (which sometimes isn’t enough) from a sassy cleaning woman. There must be mold in the walls because our allergies were acting up. Sometimes the bathroom floor drain emitted smells, but that’s par for the course in Greece. The location is phenomenal – it’s in one of the best parts of Old Town, Chania. I believe the original price is 35 euros/night, but we negotiated down.

Fira, Santorini
Amemilos Villas

Score: 4/4
Very clean rooms, if a little small, with mini-fridge, balcony, daily maid service, a nice pool area, en-suite bathroom, and perhaps best of all, free wifi! Stavros, the proprietor, is friendly and helpful and will usually be standing down at the port in the crowd of domatia-hawkers. He is willing to negotiate price (even though he claims he isn’t). His first offered price was 35 euros, but you can get him down from there in the off season. It’s about 300 meters from the central square in Fira, so while the location isn’t the best (no caldera views, about a 10 minute uphill hike to the good restaurants/bars), it’s hard to beat for the price.

Naxos Town (Hora), Naxos
Antonio Studios

Score: 2/4
We stayed in a clean and spacious room with a little table, kitchenette, and en-suite bathroom. Decent location, but there’s not really a bad location in this small town. The owner (Alex) is difficult to reach in the event of a problem, because he does not work on site, and only drops by for a few minutes each afternoon. He also promised us a ride to the port on our departure morning, but never showed up, forcing us to run to the ship in order to BARELY make it on board.

Athens, Greece
Victor Hugo Athens International Youth Hostel

Score: 1/4
Just the basics in a backpacker hostel with none of the redeeming backpacker atmosphere. In a multi-level building that crams as many bunk beds into each dorm room as possible. The rooms are clean and serviced daily, and each room has its own bathroom. Big pluses are free WIFI, and the cheapest hostel rates in Athens. Big minus is the location in the city’s red light district known as Omonia, and it’s a long walk to the part of Athens you actually want to see.


Naples, Italy
Fabric Hostel & Club

Score: 3/4
Fabric is not actually in Napoli proper, and requires a fifteen-minute train ride from the city center. It makes up for this inconvenience by offering loads of extra amenities at a price you won’t often find in Italy. Free WIFI, plus several computers with internet access for your free use in the huge lounge. There, a comfortable sitting area surrounds a big-screen HDTV with satellite. Most rooms have lots of beds (ours had 12!) but the rooms are enormous. There’s a restaurant and bar on-site, which is sometimes noisy into the wee morning hours.

Rome, Italy
Roma Inn

Score: 3/4
Despite the initial appearance of the building lobby, the floor occupied by Roma Inn is clean and well-maintained. It is, however, extremely cramped – from the tiny lobby to the sardine-tin bedrooms. Our room contained 8 beds, despite only having space for 4. The reason to come is that the price (which is already a steal for this city) includes free breakfast AND dinner. Breakfast is nothing special, but each evening, a chef prepares a gourmet-quality meal that will make you want to eat nowhere else in Rome. The neighborhood is not very central, but at least it’s relatively quiet. Free WIFI as well.

Florence, Italy
Locanda Gallo
Score: 3/4
These apartments were a little bit of a work in progress when we visited, but the brothers who run the place couldn’t be nicer. Not a hostel, but short-term private rooms for rent with en-suite bathroom. Location is a ten-minute walk from the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, and Academia. Not much in the way of extra amenities, but at 35 euros/night, this was actually cheaper than renting two beds at pretty much any hostel in the city.


Nice, France
Meyerbeer Beach Hotel and Hostel

Score: 2/4
Because we stayed for a week in the low season, we negotiated a private room for the dorm-bed price. It still wasn’t cheap, but then again, neither is southern France. The room was clean, with en-suite bath, and there’s free WIFI in addition to three computers with free internet access in the lobby. Rooms have small kitchenettes (which you have to pay a deposit to use), and there is free coffee and tea all day in the lobby, but the place is generally lacking in atmosphere. At least the location is a winner – you can see the Promenade des Anglais from the front door.


Prague, Czech Republic
Sir Toby’s Hostel

Score: 4/4
Just stay here.


Granada, Spain
Oasis Backpackers

Score: 3/4
The “oasis” theme is reflected in the lobby decoration, which has three computers with free internet access, in addition to free WIFI. The dorm rooms are clean (if small), but the backpacker:shower ratio is too high. There’s a large kitchen where you can cook and keep your food. The staff does a great job of organizing activities each day, from city walking tours to tapas crawls to Spanish cooking nights in the hostel. Still, it’s more expensive than you’d think for southern Spain.


Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Old Town Hostel

Score: 4/4
The best thing about this hostel is the owner, Joao, who will do anything and everything to make your stay a comfortable one. It’s a new hostel with comfortable and very clean facilities, large rooms, multiple common areas, wifi and computers, a guest kitchen and free breakfast all day long. The location is good and the price is average for the city.

S.E. Asia Accommodation Reviews


Bangkok, Thailand
Asha Guest House

Score: 2/4
The rooms are basic and clean, the shared bathrooms are okay. They offer wifi, but you have to pay for the password; computers are free. The guesthouse restaurant is fine, if more expensive than on the street. No one seemed to use the pool while we were there. The man I assume owns the place (or his family does) was not very nice — all in all, the staff isn’t that helpful. Location is quiet and removed from Bangkok’s craziness, but you have to take the Sky Train to get there. Free washing machine, which is nice.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
C.M. Blue House

Score: 3/4
Big, clean, cheap rooms. Friendly staff will help you organize treks and activities. They have wifi, but we could not get it to work the entire week. A nice restaurant and bar area, but no one hung out there during our stay.

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