When you’re traveling and you’re on a budget I recommend that you stay at a Hostel! Hostels are somewhat like small dormitories for foreigners to have a pit stop in during their travels. They don't have all of the opulent accommodations of bigger hotel chains. The price is a huge plus. A typical night in a hotel can cost you easily upward of $100 a night, but a hostel space, in a room with eight other people can start at $9 a night! And while you may think that cheaper isn’t better in my experience the cheaper option was definitely a better option.
My first experience in a hostel was when I was in my first teaching job in Daqing City, China. There I had spent almost every dime of my money on bills. American bills, that is, because in China there aren't so many ancillary costs of living… anywho ending rant now (lol), but I still wanted to go to Beijing for my vacation. My friends were going to Madagascar or something and I definitely didn’t have the funds for that. But I definitely had enough for a 20hr train ride to Beijing. The problem was where to stay and could I afford to stay anywhere. Luckily, my friends suggested a hostel and after a probing look at hostelbookers.com I found a hostel for $15 dollars a night whereas a hotel in that same area would have cost me $80 a night.
I managed to find the Sanlitun Youth Hostel in Beijing’s Sanlitun club district. With Hostelbookers (and most hostel sites) hostels can be sorted by price, ratings and reviews. I advise you to choose a hostel located near where you want to go. I had never been to a club before so I chose a hostel in a club district. However there are hostels near the major tourist attractions. During your research you will see that some hostels advertise what attractions are near that hostel.
Protip: When researching a hostel for a foreign country its always good to lean towards all of the hostels that give you instructions on how to get there from the train station or airport. It just makes your life easier.
I was able to get a bed and a room with 5 other complete strangers (mixed gender too) and to be honest it was one of the best decisions. No one in my room was from the same country and people were constantly checking in and out there was still no overlap with the citizens of the world. I teamed up with a Frenchman to play pool against the Dutch of the Netherlands. I went out for drinks with two new German friends. I went to a club with a Saudi woman and watched the Women’s Olympic Weightlifting Events with 2 random Americans and a Welshman. Thanks to the hostel I got to make friends with people all over the world.
Side Note: A lot of Hostels have lockers and more security measures for those who are concerned about theft and the like. All of a hostels services and amenities are typically listed on hostel booking sites. I myself did not take option because at that particular hostel you had to pay more… which wasn’t an option for me lol. I kept my valuables on my person even when I slept.
I am about to take another trip within a trip overseas and take a trip down to Japan. And true to my word I’m staying at a hostel and this time its an 8 person dorm. I know its going to be great just like my last time. So if you’re reading this I hope it helps sell you on the financial and community benefits of choosing hostels.