When deciding to backpack San Fransisco last summer I didn’t know a lot about it and many of my friends and family asked why I had chosen to go there. In all honesty, I didn’t really know much about San Fran myself, and it was only on a recommendation that my friend and I decided to travel there. Thank God we were told to go! San Fran is one of the coolest places I have ever been, it was so different to L.A and had such a unique vibe! We had heard a lot of negative things about how expensive San Fran is for backpackers, which was a little off-putting at first but the more we read the less we cared, and thank goodness we decided to bite the bullet, book a flight and go, as it was one of my favourite places.
After staying at really nice hostels in our previous destinations we were extremely disappointed and gutted with the horrific hostel that we stayed at. We had left it quite late to book our hostel so we didn’t have many options and all of the hostels we found were quite expensive compared to what we had previously paid in other states. The cheapest hostels we found were around $50-65 per night (pricey!). We chose to stay at San Fransisco International Hostel which was $57 per night. This Hostel was horrendous. We were on the top floor in the dirtiest room ever… the sheets were dirty, there was no room to move, the bunk beds didn’t have guards, the sink barely worked, the showers were mouldy, and the toilette….well lets just say you couldn’t even fit your feet in with you, that’s how small it was! On our last night in San Fran (typically) the lift wasn’t working. So we hadto slide two very heavy suitcases down 8 flights of stairs, with no help, and my suitcase was broken from doing this…. (1. never ever backpack with a suitcase 2. never stay at this hostel 3. pack light). Whilst this hostel was in a good location and was very central (10 min walk from Union Square etc), it was near a few dodgy streets…. so be careful if you choose to stay here! We wish we had stayed at USA Hostels San Fran, as we had stayed at a USA Hollywood Hostel, which was luxury…!!!
Things you must do in San Fransisco:
– Pier 39!! (Best place ever)
– A Tour Bus (Cheap way to get around and you get to see LOADS, we even sneakily used them everyday, despite paying for 24 hours… as no one ever checked our tickets!)
– Golden Gate Bridge
– Alcatraz (we just did a boat trip that went around it, which was around $20, however, I highly recommend that if you want to go inside Alcatraz that you book this tour well in advance! This tour looked amazing but unfortunately it was booked up for the next two months!)
– Buy the garlic chips at Pier 39 at the crêpe shop!(Weird…but honestly, garlic heaven!)
– Union Square
– China Town
–Eat at King of Thai Noodle House!!! (This little take-out/ restaurant looks like nothing, but we ate here twice and had the same Thai green curry both times……. I would fly back to San Fran, just to have this again! Located @ 184 O’Farrell St).
– Haight-Ashbury Neighbourhood….HIPPIE PARADISE!!!! (literally one of the coolest places in San Fran! Amazing shops, Vegan and Veggie food….heaven!)
Although San Fran is considered to be quite an expensive place for backpackers, we managed to budget really well and we actually didn’t spend a silly amount of money. Most days we spent under $25 by going to smaller independent restaurants, choosing the cheapest transport options etc. San Fran is such a cool city and was so different to L.A…it’s quirky in its own way, so it is definitely worth a visit! However, a word of warning…San Fran is FREEZING so just because its in California don’t expect sun, it is foggy and cold!
I would definitely like to go back to San Fran and would recommend it to everyone. So don’t be put off by the prices, we only went for 4 days and this was more than enough time!