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It’s no secret that a trip to London can be really expensive. Flights, accommodation, meals, sightseeing, it all adds up, leaving you with a huge credit card bill waiting for your return back home. But despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, London doesn’t have to break the bank.

If you are traveling to London and are looking for a way to save on your trip, the best way to do it is by finding affordable accommodation. But Googling “cheap London hotels” in hopes of scoring a hotel for under $200/night isn’t going to work. They just don’t exist, not in good locations and with good ratings, anyway.

Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London.

Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London. Photo by Oksana | Drink Tea and Travel via Trover.com

The solution? Hostels. I know, I know, you think of a hostel and imagine a dorm packed with 20 smelly 18-year-olds? While that can be the case with some hostels, others provide fantastic accommodation options for groups of travelers, couples, and individuals looking for private rooms with basic bathroom amenities. Here are a few hostel chains that strike the perfect balance between cheap and cheerful.

YHA Hostels

YHA is a different kind of hostel chain. Did you know that YHA is a registered charity that was created over 80 years ago to provide young travelers with simple accommodation across England and Wales? YHA is a member of Hostelling International, so you can expect nothing less than high-quality service and accommodation. YHA has seven locations in London, ranging from YHA London St Pancras, located right in the heart of Central London, to YHA London St Paul’s by the river Thames. Rates at the YHA start at as low as $40/night and go up to $80-90 per person per night.

St. Christopher Hostels

Another fantastic hostel chain worth adding on your short list, are St. Christopher Hostels. These are almost always connected to a local pub, making it easy to meet and mingle with other travelers. All St. Christopher hostels are equipped with free wi-fi, satellite TV, luggage room, game room and chill out lounges. Many also offer a great “no curfew,” which means you can go out on the town and not worry about being locked out for the night. Rooms at St Christopher’s Hammersmith, St Christopher’s Inn Camden, and St Christopher’s Inn Shepherd’s Bush range from en-suite twin privates to 10 bed mixed dorms, with prices starting at $40 per person per night.

Camden Town, London.

Camden Town, London. Photo by Oksana | Drink Tea and Travel via Trover.com

Generator Hostel

If you are looking for something a bit different, check out the Generator Hostel London located in Russell Square. It’s a hostel with a great vibe and funky decor. The walls are decorated with reclaimed timber, exposed brick, steel pipes, and graffiti art. It’s a place that feels young and interesting, perfectly suited for vibrant personalities and those looking to socialize.

Outside of Russell Square, London

Outside of Russell Square underground station, London. Photo by Oksana | Drink Tea and Travel via Trover.com

There is no shortage of common areas in the Generator. There is a Chill Out Lounge, the Fuel Stop, the Turbine Pool room, and of course the Generator Bar, opened every day of the week from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. The place is so cool you’ll want to spend more time inside the hostel then outside! And best of all, their prices are an absolute steal given the location. Just $50 for a twin room with shared bathroom!