One of the most intimidating and misleading ideas of Traveling is how expensive it can be. Another concern is safety. So in respect to both, I’ve compiled a list of my top 13 favorite inexpensive accommodations around the world that is also safe for solo travelers. This list includes Hostels, Guesthouses, Airbnbs and Bed & Breakfasts in Lebanon, Cuba, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Turkey, New York, Morocco, and England.
Everyone has different priorities when they travel, some go solely for resorts and the 5-star glam, while some love to camp. Where I sleep has been a lower priority, as long the location is somewhat central and safe. I would rather use the money towards food, new experiences and to extend my stay a lot longer!
Stay in Cheap Accommodations, Travel Longer
Usually I cap my budget at $50 a night, depending on where I am in the world. Sometimes I’ll find a $15-25/night guesthouse that’s considered ‘mid-range’ accommodation in developing countries and other times I have to boost my budget to $75 in more expensive cities. Staying at cheaper accommodations also allows you to meet more young, like-minded people. (But of course if you are into 5-star hotels, you will meet those like-minded people there!)
Many hostels/guesthouses also include breakfast & coffee/tea which helps you save even more money! This list also gives you a wide range of ideas on budget boutique stays that are unique, friendly and charming at the same time for less than $50 per night.
Darma-Ji Yoga Guesthouse
Staying at Darma-Ji Guesthouse was one of the highlights of my trip in Lebanon. Actually I had so many wonderful memories but this just added to the charm of what I love so much about this country. While Lebanon is rooted with so much history and culture, the Lebanese people are also progressive and globally-connected. Call it a East Meets West, as would make sense where their geography is. Jihane, owner of Darma-Ji has spent time in Rishikesh, India where she earned her Yoga Teacher Training. A highly spiritual, wise, motivated young lady, she has also brought this energy into this space she shares with kindred-spirited travelers that come through Batroûn.
The main apartment is where Yoga classes are held daily and where she stays. Attached are 3 other apartments she rents by bed or the whole apartment. Brand new units, beautiful decorated in a bohemian, gypsy style with tasteful modern art. Fully equipped with modern bathrooms, furniture, kitchen and TV.
A delicious Lebanese breakfast spread is served daily, brought to your door at any time you choose by her lovely maid, Rosie. Jihane will also help arrange any local tours – biking, surfing, walking tour, sunset yoga, boating and recommend good restaurants/bars to go to. I highly recommend staying here when visiting Batroûn, Lebanon’s best beach destination, just an hour north of Beirut! Read more on my stay here.
Pricing: $50/night for shared apartment – $150/whole apartment
Beirut is not a cheap city to travel through (expect US/Europe big city prices), especially if you are staying in the areas where most tourists go and are much safer. A traveler I met had recommended this hotel as the cheapest accommodation in the city. Centrally located near the main Port with the Charles Helou Bus Terminal only minutes away by foot. Just a 15 minute walk takes you to Downtown Beirut, Souk District, Gemmayze Street, Achrafieh and the posh Mar Mikhael neighborhood with all the hip restaurants and bars. 20 minutes away from the international airport and pickup can be arranged.
The rooms come in single, double or triple beds. I opted for the single for just $37 a night. Of my list of recommendations, Talal Hotel is the least charming or clean, but it has the basic amenities needed for rest (full bed, closet, air conditioning, tv). The owner of the hotel is friendly, helpful, warm and full of character, ready to chat up a storm any time of the day. He even fed me homemade food on several occasions and gave me a big hug when I left welcoming me to come back again!
Lebanese tea & coffee is offered throughout the day. For the inexpensive price, I stayed 3 nights but keep in mind that you will definitely be roughing it here.
Pricing: $37/night for a single room – $20/shared double room.
Address: Saife, Charles Helou Street, Beirut, Lebanon
Note: Wifi is not included which you’ll have to pay a little for.
Tranquilo Backpackers Hostel
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Just steps away from the best beach in Santa Teresa (southwest Costa Rica), Tranquilo Backpackers Hostel is where I experienced my first Hostel experience during my first Backpacking Trip in 2007. There I met many other travelers from around the world (most who were traveling for weeks to months at the time). One friend I ended up traveling to Southeast Asia with 2 years later, and another buddy I’m still in touch with from Israel.
- 24-hour reception with friendly staff that can assist in all your travel questions throughout Costa Rica
- Famous Pancake Breakfast, Fruit & Coffee is included
- Lots of Hammocks to sway around at any time of the day
This is the place ideally:
- To mingle with other backpackers (18-35 of age)
- Share tips on the next adventure route in Costa Rica
- To post up for a few weeks of surfing
- For Hippie, Gypsy, Artistic Vibes
- Meet locals
- Enjoy beers, party until sunrise
Pricing: 15$/person for 6 people room + private bathroom
39$/person for Double room + private bathroom with 1 double bed and 1 single bed
London, United Kingdom
London is an expensive city. SoHostel has been the most impressive hostel that had beyond ‘basic amenities’. The large space is incredibly clean, modern, hip with eclectic art design, full-kitchen/bar and friendly staff to assist in any travel needs. Centrally located in the Soho Neighborhood, the hostel is incredibly safe with 2 locked doors to get through just for the entrance before getting to your hallway and room (with key card access). They also have a spacious living room, bar, kitchen where you can easily post up while catching up on laptop work.
Pricing: $50/person for 1 bed in a 6-bed room (mixed gender)
Note: Staying here would only be financially worth it if you are a solo traveler. With 2 people traveling, might be worth it to just get an Airbnb with your own room.
I loved staying at PushP Guesthouse with Nikhil Mathur, the owner, and his family who live downstairs in this tri-level blue building. This is the best place to stay when visiting the Blue City of Jodhpur (state of Rajasthan), steps away from all the major attractions: Mehrangarh Fort, shopping in the bazaars, getting lost while meeting locals and taking photos of this illumines, historical blue city. I felt like family staying there and even learned to cook some traditional Rajasthani dishes with his sister-in-law.
Nikhil can help arrange:
- Walking tours
- Shopping excursion through the Souqs
- Day trip to the Bishnoi Village
- Riding camels & camping in Osian Resort Camp
- Cooking Class
- Private car ride to your next destination (my next stop was to Udaipur)
The rooftop is open-air with a breathtaking 360-view of Jodhpur.
I would enjoy my mornings and evenings here overlooking the old city.
Pricing: $15-25/night for your own room & bathroom
We stumbled across this Bed & Breakfast Guesthouse in the heart of my other favorite Blue City, Chefchaouen in North Morocco. Centrally located within the town with a friendly staff, beautifully decorated in traditional Moroccan / Moorish designs. 3 levels with 8 private guest rooms + private bathrooms, air conditioning and TV included in each room. Delicious breakfast is offered in the rooftop terrace.
Pricing: $40/room + private bathroom
Address: Av Hassan II Bab El Hammar, 91000 Chefchaouene, Morocco
Riad Sidi Omar
When traveling to Marrakesh, there are several decisions to make when it comes to accommodations. Do you want to stay inside the Souqs near the Main Square of Jemaa El Fna? If so, this is where you will experience the most action (sight & sound), but potentially more chaotic (more touts and catcalls for women travelers). Other option is whether you want to stay in a Riad (family-owned guesthouse typically with a beautiful courtyard), a boutique or five-star hotel. Marrakesh has so much to offer in all levels of accommodations which you really can’t go wrong either way.
I chose to stay at Riad Sidi Omar after seeing all the wonderful reviews (over 100 – 9.9/10 star reviews!). A safe haven of peace, situated in the heart of the medina in the beautiful district of ‘Mouassine‘. Located inside the Souq, 8 minute walking to Jemaa El Fna, ran by brothers Omar and Jawad. Their parents and sister live there as well with a full spread of Moroccan breakfast included. They were among the most accommodating hosts I ever met, helping me arrange:
- Airport pickup
- 1.5 day trip to Zagora Desert for Camel Riding + Camping
- Cooking Lessons with their family
- Recommendations on Restaurant & Nightlife options in the New Marrakesh city
Pricing: $55 per room + bathroom – $85 for 4 bed shared room
Note: They also have a nicer house in the countryside just 20 minutes away if you’re looking for a different experience. I would recommend staying at both for the full experience!
Second Home Hostel
Second Home Hostel was the best place to stay in Istanbul owned by brothers Murat and Can Seyit. Located centrally between old and new town, walking distance to everything you wish to visit. It is not only a safe space, the brothers will give you the best tips on restaurants and nightlife, and even take you out to town. The rooms are clean with room options. Turkish breakfast is included and the vibe is amazing.
The living room area offers guests Hookah, tea, and a space to mingle any time of the day with other travelers.
Pricing: $25/private room – $35 for 2 people in shared room.
Where you stay in a new country can really set the tone for your whole experience. Our friend highly recommended Casa Malecon. How can you go wrong with a rating of #1 out of 309 on trip advisor in ‘specialty lodging‘!? The communication ahead of time with the owner Alain was as fluid as can be (limited Wifi access in Cuba), a super easy-going guy (like a homie!). He arranged airport pickup and restaurant reservations for us (Havana 61 & La Guarida).
Upon arrival, Alain welcomed us into the main living rooms area/kitchen & bar where we enjoyed beers while sorting our travel logistics with him. The guesthouse is located along the Malecon (water front) near Old Cuba, walking distance to many main attractions and easy taxi rides on the classic cars to other parts of town. The rooms are clean and comfortable. Full, delicious breakfast is included + fresh squeezed juice.
Pricing: $30-40/room with 2 beds
Villa Pupi y Emilio Casa Particular
On your trip to Cuba, a must is to visit Viñales, a town in West Cuba (2 hour drive from Havana) with charming colonial-era wooden houses lining the streets. The ultimate destination to relax in the countryside near the mountains and hills, tobacco farm tours (cigars!), caves, horseback riding, waterfall hikes and more. Pupi, who was born and raised on the same street runs this successful Bed & Breakfast in her own 2-bedroom apartment.
“Casa Particular” is the best place to stay throughout Cuba, meaning people’s home. Her apartment is comfortable with a hearty spread of breakfast included. She also offers a delicious home-cooked dinner that you must do. We opted for this option both nights we were there and it ended up being the best meals of our Cuba trip. The dinners are around $10-12 depending if you order the fresh Fish, Lobster or Chicken as main entrée.
I miss our grandmother Pupi already. Please give her a big hug for me if you visit!
Pricing: $19/room with 2 full beds in a shared apartment with Pupi
Note: She speaks only Spanish so use Google Translate if needed!
Our time in Dakar wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for staying with at Hedi’s apartment. He, his wife Marianne and son Maxime live in the unit above, connected to their rooftop terrace where you can enjoy the view of Dakar. Hedi is originally from Guadalupe (a French Territory) and his wife is a local. They are a wealth of knowledge on the country of Senegal on everything from culture, nightlife, food to the political situation. They were friendly, hospitable, and now lifelong friends.
The apartment is clean, comfortable and conveniently located in the city, easy taxi ride to where you need to go.
Pricing: $57/apartment with 2 bedrooms + pull out couch & 2 full bathrooms
Tel Aviv, Israel
Right in the midst of the most lively and vibrant action, Beachfront Hostel, as it’s name suggests is indeed ‘beachfront‘. Located along the famous Tel-Aviv Promenade, just a walking, bus or biking distance to everything you want to do. The two story building offers a variety of rooms accommodating any traveler’s budget. What I loved is the huge roof lounge area for sun-bathing, soaking up the sun and sipping a beer while enjoying the sunset.
- Beach towels
- Hot/cold drinks anytime of the day
- Air Conditioning
- Full breakfast for just 30 ILS ($8) at “Yotveta” restaurant next door
- 20% discount at the popular ‘La Mer’ beach restaurant
Pricing: $25/person for 5-bed mixed dorm – $70/bedroom, sleeps 2
Chelsea International Hostel
New York City, USA
Situated in the heart of Chelsea neighborhood, north of Greenwich Village and south of Midtown Manhattan, Chelsea Hostel is one of the oldest hostels in NY (opened in 1993). In one of the safest neighborhoods especially for female travelers just walking distance to bars, restaurants, shops and a quick walk to the subway.
One of the cheapest options in Manhattan next to Airbnb’s, Chelsea Hostel is maintained 24 hours a day by a friendly, highly motivated staff. The front desk team can help arrange tours, taxi’s and any recommendations. The amenities are basic but clean: a twin size bed with clean sheets, a sink, shelf and coat rack in the room. Bathroom and shower are in the hallway.
Pricing: $75/night for shared room (Breakfast & Coffee included)
Address: 251 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011
The hostels/guesthouses I mentioned can be booked directly from their website, or by googling the name and booking through a 3rd party site. I would recommend trying to book with them directly, to cut out the 3rd party fees as most of the places mentioned are family-owned and genuinely good people.
When searching for any accommodations on the internet, I would trust a minimum of 10 reviews that are over 3.8 stars out of 5, or 8 out of 10 star rating. With this principle, I have enjoyed all the places I have stayed at. If there is no review, I would avoid it. Best places to search for cheap accommodations: HostelWorld & Airbnb. TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Agoda.com (best for Asia) will also have some of these inexpensive accommodations.
Despite how inexpensive the accommodations listed above were, to my fateful surprise, they have all been a lovely cultural exchange. These experiences helped shape my beautiful memories of these places. I have created a special bond with the owners and am still in touch with many of them today.