Affordable accommodation in the US

The cost of accommodation for any traveler exploring the USA is significant particularly in the cities. Yet wherever you go, you’re almost certain to find a reasonably priced motel or hotel of decent quality. If you’re prepared to pay a little extra, great historic hotels and lodges can offer truly unforgettable experiences.


Typical motel and hotel rates start at $45 a night in rural areas whereas about $80 in major cities. Most hotels would set up a third single bed for about $15–25 extra, decreasing the cost for the people sharing. A dormitory bed in a hostel usually costs $20–35 per night, but cleanliness and safety requirements might not be up to your expectations. You can often get discounts if you travel during the slack times.



Motels are typically located along the main roads away from the city centers. Budget hotels or motels may be very simple, but in general comfort requirements are standardized – each room is fitted with a double bed (often two), TV, telephone and typically a portable coffee maker, plus a bathroom. Many of them now offer Wi-fi. There may be a swimming pool and added amenities available at a bit higher price.

The least expensive properties tend to be family owned private ‘mom n pop’ motels, but these are nowadays rarer, at least in the large urban areas. A few national chain of motels range from the inexpensive and reliable Super 8 and Motel 6 through to the mid-range Days Inn and La Quinta. Most motels and hotels struggle to fill their rooms during off-peak season, so it’s worth negotiating to get a couple of dollars off the asking price. Staying for more than one night at the same place might bring more reductions.



Staying at a B&B is a common alternative, often luxurious as compared to traditional hotels. Several B&Bs consist of no more than a few furnished rooms in someone’s home, and even the larger establishments tend to have less than ten rooms. If this cozy atmosphere appeals to you, there are a range of choices around the country. You may be expected to interact with the host or other guests. Therefore to be able to make a suitable choice, you should check their policy online.

The price you pay for a B&B might range from $80 to $275 for a double room and mostly includes breakfast. The difference between a boutique hotel and a bed and breakfast inn may only contribute to the fact that the B&B is owned by a private person rather than a chain. Many B&B have joined forces in many areas to form central booking agencies, making it much easier to find a space at short notice.



Hostels are not as abundant in the United States as they are in Europe, but there’s provision for backpackers and low-budget travelers. Unless you’re travelling alone, most hostels cost roughly the same as motels. Book a stay at a hostel only when you want a youthful environment and sociability. Many of them are not accessible by public transport or in towns and cities, let alone in rural areas.

Most are nothing more than converted motels, where the dorms consist of a few sets of bunk beds in a musty space which is also allowed out on demand as a private unit. Prices range from $20 to about $35 for a dorm bed, and from $40–60 for a double room, with higher-end rates in the major cities.