Relive your college years and save money while traveling by staying in a cheap dorm room (from $22) when school is out of session
Above: A dorm room at the London School of Economics (from £27/$44 a night); Below: A dorm room at Dublin City Univeristy (from €36/$50)
This page covers:
• When dorms are open
• How much dorms cost
• What dorms are like
• In the U.K.
• In London
• In Ireland
• In Spain
• In ItalyWhen the students are away, the tourists will play. During the summer school break, many European universities and colleges help pad that endowment by renting out all that unused dorm space.
University dorms are (mostly) only an option during summer vacations. From sometime in late May or early June (when students head home for the summer) through the end of August and even into September (when they return), universities in London, Dublin, and other European cities open their dorms up to travelers.
In some cases, you can get even rooms during school breaks and weekends as well—and, if enrollment is down, they'll rent empty dorms out year-round.
Rates vary, from around $22 to $35 per person in a single with shared bathroom down the hall to $50 to $120 for a double or twin, with or without bath—but dorms can also run as little as $150 per week.
What's more, folks under 26 often pay even less (presumably because young 'uns will just blend in, so the administrators don't have to bother explaining what a bunch of old fogies are doing living on campus).
The 11th centry castle that houses students—and, in the off-season, travelers—at Durham University in England (closed for refubishment in summer 2011). Most look like, well, like dorm rooms: unfussy, unfancy, un-spacious, and full of modular furnishings that aren't treated particularly well during the school year.
Still: they are central, convenient, and astoundingly cheap.
So brush up your partying skills, dust off those dim memories of the lyrics to Louie Louie, and get ready to share the bathrooms—it's time to go back to college.
- University-rooms.com (university-rooms.com) - Broker for handling short-term stays at many colleges and universities around the world, mostly in the U.K. (26 cities) and Europe (several each in Ireland, Spain, Italy, a bit in France, Switzerland, Belgium), with a few in North America (U.S., Canada), and coming soon: Germany, Austria, Australia, and South Africa.
- Budgetstayuk (www.budgetstayuk.com) - A consortium of 70 academic institutions across the U.K.—23 locations in London alone, not to mention five in Edinburgh and another five in Durham (including the 11th century Durham Castle), and still more in Canterbury, Oxford, Cardiff, York, Dulin, Plymouth, Birmingham, Leeds, Swansea, Exeter, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Norwich, and Wolverhampton. (The site is an offshoot of VenueMasters, a free venue–finding service for meetings and groups.)
- University Rooms (www.universityrooms.co.uk) - Around 3,000 accommodations available across the U.K. in the summer season. The site was started in 2007 by an Oxford grad who dreamed it up while still in school.
- Visit Britain (www.visitbritain.us) - You can search the accommodations database for "Budget and Student" and will get results mixing hostels and campus housing. For some direct links to London college and university dorms, see below.
- London School of Economics (www.lse.ac.uk/vacations) - Holborn, Bloomsbury, Bankside, Butler's Wharf, Clerkenwell.
Rates: Single from £27; Twins from £44; Triple from £69.
- University College London (www.ucl.ac.uk/residences) - Bloomsbury (just north of the British Museum).
Rates: Single from £31; double from £43.50.
- University of London (www.londonmet.ac.uk/accommodation/summer-accommodation) - Bloomsbury, St. Pancras, Paddington, Marylebone.
Rates: Single from £30; twin/double from £51.
- King’s College (www.kcl.ac.uk/kcvb) - The Strand (Covent Garden), Waterloo, Denmark Hill, North London/Hampstead Heath.
Rates: Single from £28; twin from £58.
- University of Westminster (www.londonmet.ac.uk/accommodation/summer-accommodation) - Near Victoria.
Rates: Single from £34; twin from £50.40.
- International Students House (www.ish.org.uk) - North Marylebone/Regent's Park.
Rates: Single from £39; twin from £62; triple from £81.
- Queen Mary and Westfield College (www.admin.qmw.ac.uk/ccrs/conference) - East End.
Rates: Single from £41; twin from £73.
- London Metropolitan University (www.londonmet.ac.uk/accommodation/summer-accommodation) - South Hackney, Cambridge Heath, Enfield, Wood Green.
Rates: Single from £20.
- Dublin: Trinity College (www.tcd.ie/accommodation/Visitors) - Downtown.
Rates: Single from €60.50; Double from €81.
- Dublin: Dublin Univeristy (dublin.university-rooms.com) - In Glasnevin (north of city center)
Rates: Double from €36.
- Cork: University College Cork (en.cork.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €32; 3-bedroom apartments from €90; 4-br from €140.
- Madrid: [Four locations] (en.madrid.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €16
- Barcelona: [Seven locations] (www.en.barcelona.university-rooms.com).
Rates: Single from €35; apartment (3-4 people) €225.
- Seville: Colegio Mayor Santa María del Buen Aire (three-night minimum) and Residencia Universitaria Baños de la Reina (en.seville.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €22; double from €37.50.
- Valencia: Colegio Mayor Galileo Galilei (en.valencia.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €29; twin from €39.
- Malaga: Residencia Universitaria Jacinto Benavente (en.malaga.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €17; twin from €34; triple from €51.
- Alicante: Residencia Villa Universitaria (en.alicante.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €39.50; doubles from €45.50 .
- Santiago de Campostela: Colegio Mayor Arosa (en.santiagodecompostela.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €40; triple from €90
- Alcalá de Henares: Residencia Universitaria Cardenal Cisneros (en.alcaladehenares.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Single from €31; twin from €59.
- Zaragoza: Residencia Universitaria Goya (en.zaragoza.university-rooms.com) - Two-night minimum.
Rates: Single from €27.50; twin from €45.
- Milan: Residenza Universitaria Bassini (en.milan.university-rooms.com) - Two-night minimum.
Rates: Single from €33.
- Lake Como: Residenza Universitaria Santa Teresa (en.como.university-rooms.com) - Two-night minimum.
Rates: Doubles from €56.
- Urbino: Collegio del Colle, Collegio Aquilone, and Collegio Serpentine (en.urbino.university-rooms.com)
Rates: Singles from €16.
- Sadly, there's no official Website, buy you can get a list of student housing in dozens of Italian cities—including biggies like Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, and Palermo—by sending a letter asking for the "Guide for Foreign Students" to:
The Italian Ministry of Education
00153 Rome, Italy
Hotels / Multiple options