Los Angeles has a number of hostels all around the city, the trick is finding one that is both available and near the sights you want to see. LA hostels are generally aimed at overseas “gap-year” travelers and many provide a sort of Hollywood experience in themselves. Hostels like USA Hostels and Venice Beach Cotel offer a location in an interesting, oft-toured part of the city and a stay in one of these hostels, with their nightly entertainment and daily trips throughout Los Angeles, may fill up your itinerary before you’ve cracked the spine of your guidebook.
Hostels in LA most often resemble cheap hotels with common rooms and a more social clientele than you’ll generally find in a hotel. Hostels are often mini-communities and the people you’ll meet walking around at night could be the highlight of your trip. Hostel rooms can be either private or shared and the ratio is about half and half. Amenities at most hostels include wireless Internet, towels and pub crawls or tours. Because many of the travelers that come through LA do not have cars or the inclination to rent one, most hostels offer shuttles to popular tourist destinations. This can be a real trip-saver as LA’s public transportation, while serviceable, is hardly quick or convenient.
Hostels around the rest of the city are harder to come by than hostels in the main part of the city. The attractions of Los Angeles are clustered around Hollywood and the film studios and the Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farms resorts aren’t interested in the budget travelers that frequent hostels. Enjoying Orange County does not necessarily mean splurging for a hotel, however. If you can get space in the hostel, the Colonial Inn Youth Hostel is located just a few blocks from Huntington Beach and will provide you with convenient lodging for a vacation spent on the beach.
If you’re set on both a hostel and Disneyland, the Fullerton Hostelling International is the closest hostel and your best bet. Five miles from Disneyland and the Anaheim baseball stadium, it’s convenient if you have a car and doable if you’re taking the bus. Right outside the University of California-Fullerton, your hostel is in a little college alcove of the city that provides a type of nightlife and dining options otherwise hard to come by away from the beach in Orange County. This Fullerton Hostel is notoriously difficult to book, so make your reservation well in advance of your trip.
Hostel prices are more expensive in Los Angeles and Orange County than you’ll find traveling in Europe or in other cities around the United States. $44 a night is about average, making hostels about the same price as a budget motel or a good deal on a site like Hotwire. What you do get at a Hostel, however, is the social atmosphere and the ability to be surrounded by fellow travelers from out of town. Also, the shuttle services can be extremely convenient, you really don’t want to try to see LA without some sort of personal transportation.