Posted: 03/03/20 | March 3rd, 2020
With its historic colonial buildings, die-hard sports fans, and lively nightlife, Boston is one of my favorite cities in the US (and I’m not just saying that because it’s where I grew up!).
Boston has been a commercial hub since the 17th century and holds an important place in American history. After the Boston Tea Party in 1773, it became a pivotal bastion of support for the US War of Independence. Even today, the city is brimming with history and has lots to offer. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking to understand the roots of modern America.
Since it isn’t the most affordable destination, budget-conscious travelers and backpackers are probably going to want to save money however they can. That means finding budget-friendly accommodation.
Like most US cities, Boston doesn’t have many hostels. But the ones it does have are modern, clean, safe, and social for the most part.
That said, there are a lot of things to consider when selecting a hostel. The top four when picking the best hostel in Boston are:
- Location – Boston is a big city and it can take some time to get around. Pick a place that is central to the sites and nightlife you want to see. All the hostels listed here are in central locations.
- Price – In Boston, you really get what you pay for, so if you go with a really cheap one, you’re probably going to get a hostel that is small, cramped, and doesn’t offer great service.
- Amenities – Every hostel in the city offers free Wi-Fi, and most have a free breakfast, but if you want more than that, be sure to do your research to find the hostel that best meets your needs!
- Staff – All the hostels listed here have amazing staff! They are super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you don’t end up staying at one of the places listed below, be sure to look up reviews to ensure you end up somewhere where the staff is helpful and friendly! They can make or break a hostel!
To help you plan your trip, here is my list of the hostels in Boston that I like the most. If you don’t want to read the longer list below, the following hostels are the best in each category:
Best Hostel for Budget Travelers: Boston Fenway Inn
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads: HI Boston
Best Hostel for Families: Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers: HI Boston
Best Hostel for Partying: Backpackers Hostel and Pub
Best Overall Hostel: HI Boston
Want the specifics of each hostel? Here’s my comprehensive list of the best hostels in Boston:
Price Legend (per night)
- $ = Under $30 USD
- $$ = $30-40 USD
- $$$ = Over $40 USD
1. HI Boston
HI Boston is the best hostel in town. It offers both same-sex and mixed dorms, and each bed comes equipped with a shelf, outlets, and a locker. The private rooms are modern and have more of a hotel feel to them; they also come with TVs and a bathtub (which is largely unheard of in a hostel).
The hostel also has a free continental breakfast, a kitchen to cook your own meals in, and a common room complete with TV, pool table, and a piano. They also organize free city tours and host dinners, among other activities. It’s a very social hostel.
HI Boston is located close to the Freedom Trail, the Boston Common, and Chinatown. More attractions, like the campuses of Harvard and MIT, are a only few T (subway) stops away.
HI Boston at a glance:
- Organizes lots of activities
- Female-only dorms for extra privacy and security
- Great place to meet other travelers
Beds from $25 USD, private rooms from $101 USD a night.
2. Boston Fenway Inn
The Boston Fenway Inn is the cheapest hostel in town. But you get what you pay for, so expect basic accommodations. The rooms here can get cold in the winter, and the windows let in a lot of sound from nearby restaurants and bars. Bathrooms aren’t plentiful, and sometimes there are lines. And if you’re not one of the first to shower, you may miss out on hot water.
Breakfast is included but is quite basic (toast and coffee) unless you wake up early and grab pastries before they’re gone. It also doesn’t have a full kitchen, and the common room is set up with tables and chairs, so it’s not super comfy.
However, the hostel is located in a prime spot near the affluent Back Bay neighborhood, a picturesque and historic neighborhood with designer boutiques, indie shops, and some of the best spots in town to eat and drink. The hostel is close to Fenway Park, the stunning Boston Public Library, the Museum of Fine arts, and the Mapparium.
Boston Fenway Inn at a glance:
- Most affordable accommodation in town
- Great location (lots of shops, bars, and restaurants nearby)
- Quiet and laid back atmosphere
Beds from $19 USD, private rooms from $54 USD a night.
3. FOUND Hotel Boston Common
FOUND Hotel Boston Common is one of the oldest hotels in the city. Renovated in 2018, it has much more of a hotel feel to it. There isn’t a common room or kitchen, so it’s not easy to meet other travelers here, and the rooms here are small (some of the private rooms have hardly enough space for the bed).
But it’s a short walk to Boston Common and the Public Garden and has plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs nearby. It’s also just over one block from the subway, so it’s easy to get to other attractions in town.
If you want a place that’s quiet, tidy, comfortable, and not particularly social, then book your stay here.
FOUND Hostel Boston at a glance:
- Clean, modern hotel vibe
- Quiet atmosphere (so you’ll get a good sleep)
- Great location near Boston Common
Beds from $36 USD, private rooms from $82 USD a night.
4. Boston Homestel
Located in an old house a few miles outside of the city center (but close to the JFK Library), Boston Homestel offers simple rooms and dorms. The rooms here are clean and bright but don’t have much to them. The beds aren’t the most comfortable, but the quiet location makes it easier to fall asleep than in other hostels in the heart of the city.
The hostel has a common room and a small kitchen, but not much more. It’s a quiet hostel, so don’t come to Boston Homestel expecting a party.
Boston Homestel at a glance:
- Quiet neighborhood so you’ll get a decent sleep
- Laid-back atmosphere
- Not super social (no partying)
Beds from $37 USD, private rooms from $87 USD a night.
5. Backpackers Hostel & Pub
Backpackers Hostel & Pub is a social hostel located in Everett, just outside the city. It’s not fancy by any means, but it has a lively atmosphere and free breakfast (which is a big plus for budget-savvy travelers). The dorms are large and not particularly fancy or comfortable (most are 8-10 beds), but the drinks are cheap, and it’s just a 10-minute drive from downtown by car (25 minutes by public transportation).
The staff are super friendly and helpful, and they also offer a free shuttle pickup service from the nearest T (subway) station (which is a 30-min walk away). They have a kitchen too, so you can easily cook your own meals here to save even more money. It’s a busy, social hostel.
Backpackers Hostel & Pub at a glance:
- Lively, social atmosphere makes it easy to meet people
- Free shuttle service from the bus station
- Bar on-site with cheap drinks
Beds from $40 USD a night (private rooms not available).
6. Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships
Available from June through September, this is easily the coolest place to stay in town: a functional sailing vessel, the Liberty Clipper. It’s a wooden three-mast ship with cozy cabins for rent. While the rooms are small, the experience is unlike anything else Boston has to offer.
Towels and linens are included, and the hot water is plentiful. There is no Wi-Fi, however, and you need to leave the ship during the day. But if you’re looking for a unique experience, this is hard to beat. It’s also a great choice for couples.
Liberty Fleet at a glance:
- Great for couples/families
- Super unique accommodation
Cabins from $60 USD a night.
Whether you’re looking to stay in the heart of town or in more quiet accommodations further afield, Boston will have something for you. While the rock-bottom budget options are limited, the facilities at the better hostels will not leave you wanting.
Even with the prevalence of Airbnb here, hostels are still the cheapest accommodation option. Just be sure to book early and you’ll be able to find a bed, meet new travelers, and save some money in the process!
Book Your Trip to Boston: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel — and I think they will help you too!
Looking for more information on visiting Boston?
Check out my in-depth destination guide to Boston with more tips on what to see and do, costs, ways to save, and much, much more!