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If you’re traveling on a budget or just looking for a funky, communal vacation experience, San Diego has several hostels to give just what you’re looking for.  

Hostels range from colorful and modern to renovated older houses and hotels.  They often attract a younger crowd, and international visitors who are more familiar with the hostel experience often find this is a preferred way to enjoy San Diego.  Students and backpackers who travel light and with no set agenda in mind can stay longer and have a more spontaneous adventure at a fraction of the cost of a hotel stay.  You can find overnight rates for as little as $30 and up, depending on what kind of accommodations you want.

Keep in mind that there are trade-offs when you stay at a hostel.  The biggest of these is a lack of privacy because you’re often sharing sleeping quarters and bathrooms, and you’ll need to keep your belongings in a security locker.  

Some hostels also include common areas where you can cook and share meals together, reheat leftovers, or just gather around to swap stories.  A few even have onsite health clubs and restaurants if you’re looking for a more inclusive experience.

Others offer private rooms and baths, free breakfasts, and more. One of the best perks is that your host often is a local expert on what to do, where to go, and, just as important, what to avoid. Some hostels also have beach equipment, offer yoga lessons, and give you discounts for several San Diego attractions. 

It’s a much more tribal experience, but travel junkies throughout the world gladly accept that for the chance to meet new people from every part of the world, often making new friends and, in some cases, new travel companions.

You can find hostels in every neighborhood in San Diego.  From the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy to Balboa Park and several beachfront locations, you’ll be able to intimately explore each neighborhood because everything you need is generally within walking distance from your lodging.  And if it’s not, San Diego has a modern, multi-layered mass transit system to speed you to nearby destinations.