These NYC hostels (and affordable pod hotels!) are the perfect way for older travelers to save money in the Big Apple
I love New York, but I do not love the hotel prices. That’s why, when I’m traveling alone, I always book a hostel in New York City (or a pod hotel that’s effectively a hostel). Why? I’d much rather pay $50-$75 for a clean, quiet hostel right in the city than $200 for a dirty, sketchy hotel that’s a 45-minute subway ride from Manhattan.
A word of warning: prepare yourself for sticker shock when you’re looking for hostels in New York. They are ridiculously high-priced — it’s a lot like booking hostels in Scandiavia. Even London is cheaper!
As always, when I’m looking for hostels for adults, I want properties that are clean and quiet. (I left my party hostel days behind long ago.) The best part of hosteling as an older traveler in New York? You’re not alone! I ran into lots of other non-18-year-olds using hostels to save money for other fun Manhattan activities. I’m including links to each hostel; each one is an affiliate link. Learn more here.
I love Hosteling International (HI), and the HI New York City Hostel is no different. In fact, I think it’s one of the best hostels in the United States! The beds don’t have curtains, which is a bummer, but they’re comfortable enough. Each room has big lockers, and there are huge bathrooms on every floor. I loved that the shower stalls also had little private changing areas attached.
Getting to Hosteling International New York was easy; the 103 St. station on the 1 train is a few minutes away. I came to NYC on the Bolt Bus, which drops off at the Javits Center. From there, I just walked up to Penn Station and hopped on the train. Plus, Central Park is an easy walk away (and so is the 103 St. station on the A/B/C lines).
The best part of HI NYC? The enormous common areas! There are so many — it’s absolutely perfect for digital nomads. I brought my laptop down to one of the seating areas and got some work done using the free Wi-Fi. Plus, there’s a huge kitchen and a cafe, so you can get coffee or a light meal whenever you want. When the weather is nice, there’s even a little courtyard to sit in.
Looking for hostel pricing with a little bit of luxury? Head straight for The Jane Hotel, which is basically a hostel for adults. Here, you can rent “cabins” — little pods that close completely, giving you privacy and peace. They’re almost like single train compartments, right down to the raised luggage racks above the bed. Once you ditch your suitcase, head straight for the gorgeous bar and common areas, which look straight out of the Golden Age. So beautiful!
The coolest part? The cabins are decorated in the same wood-heavy vintage style as the rest of the hotel, so it’s a completely different experience than other capsule hotels and hostels. The true hostel-style experience comes in the shared bathrooms, which are just fine.
The Jane Hotel is one of the best-value hostel/hotel options in New York City, so it books up fast. Reserve your little pod as far in advance as possible to get the best prices. Traveling with another person? You can save money by booking the bunk-bed cabin. The closest subway stations are about 10-15 minutes on foot.
Now THIS is a New York City hostel I can get behind. Technically, it’s a pod hotel — basically, that means teeny tiny rooms. But at these prices, who cares? If you can book far enough in advance, you might be paying just $20 more per night than HI NY; that extra $20 is well worth it for the privacy!
Pod Times Square is geared toward digital nomad-style travelers. (Right up my alley, obviously.) The public areas are drop-dead gorgeous. Hostel-style travelers will probably gravitate toward the bunk bed rooms, which — get this — HAVE PRIVATE BATHROOMS. Glorious. Everything is clean and new and beautiful. Win!
If you’re coming to New York to see Broadway shows, this is a fantastic option. Times Square is 2 blocks away, so you can walk there in less than 10 minutes. Book this one well in advance; the good rates go away quickly! If it’s booked, try Pod 39.
Okay, so this one is a little far out of Manhattan…but it’s so beautiful, I don’t even care. This is the perfect way to get that hostel experience, but with a little bit of style. Plus, it’s so clean! I actually like Queens, so the location of The Local Hostel NYC didn’t bother me at all.
And an added bonus? They have female-only rooms, which is a must for me when it comes to hosteling as an adult. (You can also book male-only or mixed-gender rooms, as well as private rooms.)
The hostel rooms at The Local aren’t huge, but then what hostel in New York City is? Each bed has a locker, and I was able to stuff my suitcase in after removing a couple of packing cubes. Everything is super clean, and the bathrooms were small but acceptable. I didn’t use the common areas much — mostly because I wanted to maximize my time in the city on this trip. Don’t let the location worry you; there’s an E/M train stop a couple of minutes away, so you can get to Central Park in about 20 minutes.
Want to explore Brooklyn while you’re visiting New York? The NY Moore Hostel is a great option. The best thing about this hostel is the open, spacious rooms. There’s plenty of space for your luggage, and I never felt cramped. One thing to note — this hostel doesn’t do dorm beds, so it’s not great for privacy. (Or even the illusion of privacy.) That wasn’t my favorite thing, but since I wasn’t there much, it was fine.
There’s a subway stop (Montrose Avenue) about 10 minutes on foot from the hostel; you can take the N/R/W train into Manhattan pretty easily. The area is a little industrial, but I always felt safe walking alone, even at night. If you’re new to travel, it might be a little unsettling. Inside, the hostel is covered in colorful murals that are perfect for your Instagram. 🙂
Where do you stay when you’re visiting NYC? I’m dying to know what affordable hotels and hostels in New York City that you love — leave them in the comments or DM me on Instagram!