Here is some information to help you in selecting a destination and choosing your accommodation for any trips that you are planning. Take notice of the recommendations and suggestions from other students as they share experiences from their own trips about where to go and where to stay.

Selecting a Hostel or Hotel

You should see if you can find pictures and reviews of the hostel or hotel you will be staying in online before you make your reservation.

Find out where the hostel or hotel is and do some research on the area. If it seems to be more inexpensive than others, make sure it is in a safe area and accessible to where you would like to visit because you need to factor in costs to get around as well.
Hostels are fairly inexpensive, you should not have to pay more than $30 a night. But it is important to remember that you are paying only for a bed in a room that you will be sharing with other people, not for the whole room.

Helpful websites to find a hostel:,

Helpful website to find a hotel:,

Helpful Hints and Tips for Your Trip

Read the website of the hostel or hotel to find out what amenities are provided for you during your stay (do you need to bring a pillow and blanket?)

See if there are any other comments provided from previous travelers. Every website is going to make its hotel or hostel seem great. Trust people who have actually slept there.

Don’t let where you are sleeping ruin your trip.  Take people’s advice and use their recommendations.  Finding a place to stay doesn’t have to be stressful.

Book as far in advance as you can to give yourself the best chance to get what you want out of your trip and at the lowest cost.

If you are staying in a hostel, do you need to bring a lock with you to be able to secure your valuables?

If you want to cook for yourself to save a bit of money, will you have access to a kitchen?

Wear flip-flops in the shower.  Trust us.

Some places will ask that you pay a deposit with a credit card before you arrive. However, you should be able to pay the balance in cash or with a recognized ATM card. It is likely that your ATM card will be accepted if you don’t have a credit card, just ask. 

Be prepared for emergencies. Have some extra cash on hand, just in case. Make a copy of your important documents before you leave. 

Don’t forget to take information with you about your travel insurance.

If you are staying in a hotel, think about leaving the television on whenever you leave your room.  Ask housekeeping to make your room during breakfast when you are still in the hotel. Always keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Leave lights on at night with the drapes somewhat open. All of these things will give the impression that someone is in the room and will keep your things safe.

Don’t forget to pick up a couple business cards when you check in so you know where you are staying.  It is hard to find your way home if you don’t know where it is. 

Treat people with respect. Stay calm and try to keep a sense of humor; things don’t always work out the way you planned when you prepared your trip. There are always going to be surprises, don’t be afraid to be spontaneous, after all you are on vacation. 

Helpful Travel Websites

For maps and driving directions:,,

For city tourism guides:,

For travel information/resources:

Where to Go to Find a Flight

For airplane reservations:,,,,,,

Recommended Places to Stay


Quality Inn - University Center in Oakland

“It is located on the Boulevard of the Allies. In all it was a sound facility. The gym was not really good quality, unfortunately. Transportation is accessible from the hotel. It is in a better area than some of Pittsburgh’s other areas and it is right by the University of Pittsburgh. It is basically a standard hotel, but the rooms have two double beds and up to 6 people can fit in one room. I would definitely recommend it for anyone staying in Pittsburgh.”


Embassy Hotel

“It was really nice, it included breakfast and was in walking distance from the train station ‘The L’ and I had a great time while I stayed there. The room was big, it had a separate room with kitchen and TV in it, as well as a bedroom and a bathroom for $125 a night.”

Hostelling International Chicago

New York

Chelsea International Hostel

“It is quite basic and inexpensive. It is clean and they provide lockers for your things if you would like to keep them in there. You have to get your own food, but there is a kitchen and dining room with a TV and computers. It is in an ideal location in NY just outside of all the really busy spots but it’s in walking distance of everything.”

The Skyline Hotel

“It is a great option in a good location.  I stay there every time I travel to New York.”

The L Hostel in Harlem, New York City

“It was in a very safe part of New York and Harlem. We were in the center of the city within a few minutes. It was a very clean place resembling more of a Bed & Breakfast than a traditional hostel. The rooms were very nice, and there is sufficient space to lock important things away (probably not clothes). The staff is also extremely helpful and welcoming. You can get more blankets and towels whenever you need them. Breakfast is available for $3.99 and you get a bagel, coffee, and fruit. There is nothing to complain about. It was a great place to stay for young people and cost only $24-30 per night.”


Hostelling International Boston                                                   

“It was a pretty good place to stay. The cost is about $40 a night. The staff is friendly and it comes with complimentary breakfast. It is very conveniently located by Fenway Park, close to some major shopping areas and the public transportation system “The ‘T’”. I would recommend it to people traveling to Boston.”

Philadelphia Philadelphia listings

Travel Organizations You Can Be a Part Of

Servas, is an organization for international hosts and travelers that tries to increase understanding among people of different cultures through travel.  You have to fill out an application and have an interview and then you can be either a host or a traveler.  You could join Servas and use it when you travel during the campus breaks.      

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