When thinking of where to stay on your summer holiday, a hostel might not be top of your list. Once thought of as crime-ridden, dirty squalid housing for students and vagabonds, hostels are now considered economical and more sociable alternatives to big chain hotels and resorts.

Forget staying at some tourist-magnet hotel – hostel holidays are being tipped as the best way to save money and enjoy different cultures. With wallets wilting under the pressure of the credit crunch, cheaper holidays are more appealing than ever.

A recent study carried out by price comparison site Savebuckets.com shows that Britons are cancelling their summer break to save the pennies, so an affordable option is needed to save your much loved holiday.

If fashionable, sociable, quality accommodation that goes easy on the bank balance sounds like the answer to you, then embrace the rise of the modern day hostel. Whatever your tastes, there is a hostel to suit you, from the more economically minded to luxurious and family-friendly.

Niamh Ni Mhir, chief marketing officer of travel website Hostelworld.com, says: “No one wants the credit crunch to infringe on sacred holiday plans, so now is the perfect time to experience some of the best hostels the world has to offer. The diversity available makes for some exciting decisions, with hostels offering a unique range of accommodations and top-rate facilities from only £8 per night. Long gone are the days of hostels with boarding school dormitories and cold showers. Today’s hostels come with high standards and top rate facilities.”

Still unsure which hostel to choose? Check out these suggestions from Hostelworld.com.

1.St Christopher’s Inn, Newquay. For those planning to stay in the UK this year, a seaside break could be perfect. Visit the cliff-top St Christopher’s Inn, Newquay, with ocean-view bedrooms, and a hot tub and terraced area overlooking the beach.

2.Inout hostel, Barcelona. If you fancy travelling a little further afield try this hostel, which comprises a large living area, TV and games rooms and perfectly accommodates groups. Located in the heart of Collserola Park with 25 hectares of gardens, forests and sports fields, there is plenty of space to party in.

3.Carpe Noctem, Budapest. This hostel is perfect for single travellers, groups and couples who want to meet people and make the most of the city’s day and night-time attractions. The hostel itself is newly renovated 100-year-old house and has all the character and personal touches you could want from a hostel, with loads of communal space too.

4.Ostello Gallo d’Oro. Ostello Gallo d’Oro is located in the city centre of Florence, only five minutes walk from the David statue and a 10 minute walk from the Duomo and the train station. Choose from rooms with two, three, four and five beds, all with a bathroom. You can book a private room or a bed in a dormitory shared with others. The rooms are spacious and modern with comforts you may not find in other hostels, such as en-suite rooms with TV, free internet access and wireless connection.