We at Cigars & Leisure understand there’s a time for extravagance and staying at beautiful boutique hotels, but there’s also a time for frugality. This fall season, while you’re buying beer for tailgating, going to concerts, and exploring all the South has to offer, it’s best to keep everything else cheap. Thus, we’ve compiled a list of five hostels that offer a chance to meet new friends and see sights inexpensively. Sure, you could stay on the second floor of an equally cheap Days Inn, but really, why would you want to?
The Hostel in the Forest—Brunswick, Georgia
Ever wanted to stay in a treehouse? Here you can! Situated on a 133-acre forest and wetland, this hostel is a perfect getaway from the congested highways and cities. It also doubles as a nonprofit education center that teaches sustainable practices. You can hike, canoe on the lake, walk a labyrinth (trust us, just try it), or even participate in a sweat lodge. The hostel also boasts four gardens, produce from which is used for the nightly vegetarian meals. They even serve their own blend of coffee every morning. Note: There is a membership fee of $10 to stay here, and then it only costs $30 a night after that.
TripAdvisor testimonial: Alice Y. says, “It’s a very free-spirited place that requires the ability to just let go. It’s one of my favorite places in the world.”
The Hostel in the Forest
Brunswick, Georgia 31523
Downtown Asheville Hostel & Guest House—Asheville, North Carolina
This hostel offers free ingredients for pancakes and coffee. That’s all you should need to know. But if you need some more convincing, all their rooms are private, so there will be no sleepless nights listening to the guy snoring below you on your bunk bed. It’s also within walking distance of several breweries and restaurants, as well as the U.S. Cellular Center, where many events are held. But seriously, they have free pancakes and coffee; what more do you need?
TripAdvisor testimonial: Tabatha J. calls it a “perfect hideaway” and says, “I can’t begin to tell you what a perfect gem this hostel and house is!”
Downtown Asheville Hostel & Guest House
16 Ravenscroft Drive
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
NotSo Hostel—Charleston, South Carolina
Located in downtown Charleston, this hostel is right in the middle of all the action. It has two locations, one with dorm-style rooms and a communal kitchen and bathrooms. The other, the Annex, is recently renovated and comprises entirely private rooms. Each location has a spacious common area where you can hang out and get to know your fellow hostel-mates. While the private rooms are a little more expensive—but still cheaper than most hotels—the dorm rooms are only $28 for a weekday and $32 for the weekend.
TripAdvisor testimonial: Charismatic C. calls it “transcendent” and says, “The NotSo Hostel is a beacon of professionalism and joy in the city of Charleston. [Employee] Bailey is the greatest person in all of humanity.”
156 Spring St.
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Nashville Downtown Hostel—Nashville, Tennessee
Making its home in a renovated historic building built in the 1800s, this hostel opened its doors in 2012. If you’re looking to make a new friend in Music City, then this is your best bet. They have enough bunk beds to accommodate more than 250 guests from all over the world. They also feature a large common area complete with laundry service, a full kitchen, instruments, pool and foosball tables, and plenty of couches to hang out on and meet fellow travelers and musicians. This place is insanely friendly, which is evident from their motto: “Come as guests, leave as friends.”
TripAdvisor testimonial: Megan M. says, “I’ve stayed in about five hostels within the last two years, and this one was the best. … The community area and kitchen blew me away.”
Nashville Downtown Hostel
177 First Ave. N.
Nashville, Tennessee 37201
Madame Isabelle’s House in New Orleans—New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in a quiet neighborhood, this hostel is only a short, 10-minute walk away from the nightlife of Bourbon Street. It is also one of the only hostels located within walking distance of the French Quarter. Did we mention they have a hot tub and cats? Lots of cats. But that’s because Madame Isabelle says cats are as much a part of New Orleans as the French influence. You can choose between private rooms or dorm-style accommodations; it’s up to you. But really, what does it matter where you sleep if you have a hot tub to soak in after a long night spent partying?
TripAdvisor testimonial: Jessica E. says, “The hot tub is awesome.”
Madame Isabelle’s House in New Orleans
1021 Kerlerec St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Hostel in the Forest: Courtesy of Hostel in the Forest, NotSo Hostel: Courtesy of NotSo Hostel.