Unlike Shanghai, in Beijing budget accommodations abound. You should not have any trouble finding a bed/room at one of many youth hostels or guesthouses in the city. Prices are below or around $10 per day and most of the hostels provide very good service which includes organizing tours, renting bikes, Internet access etc...
Most of the hostels are centrally located which means you will be able to walk to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, or take taxi to other nearby tourist spots.
How to find a good hostel in Beijing?
1) One way is to do your research before the trip; if you go to our LINK page ( http://www.yilongwei.com/links/web_sites.htm ) you will find the list of the most relevant hostel related web sites - just pick the hostel that you like and send them an e-mail and most likely they will be able to make a reservation for you.
I have compiled and uploaded information on over 50 hostels, guesthouses and inexpensive hotels in Beijing. You can find the file here:
2) Another option is to look for a hostel when you get to Beijing; just take a shuttle bus from the airport (Y16) to the centre of the city (line 2 is most useful but any shuttle bus will do) and from there get a taxi which should not cost more than another Y10-15 (which is one or two dollars) and ask the taxi driver to take you to one of the hostel that is on this list:
http://www.yilongwei.com/download/Beiji ... _print.rtf
This list have hostel names and hostel addresses written in Chinese which is very important because most travel guide books will give you hostel names written in pinyin which won't help much when you deal with taxi drivers who (believe it or not) can not read pinyin! Unless you have hostel name and address written in Chinese the communication may not be as smooth as you may want it. This list is only 3 pages long and has names and addresses of "only" 29 hostels, but chances are you will find a room or a bed in the first or the second hostel you visit. Just print this list and take it with you and your hostel worries are over!
Here are some other useful links that may be of help when you search for a good hostel in Beijing:
Practically all relevant hostel web sites are listed on our LINK page:
*** http://www.yilongwei.com/links/web_sites.htm ***
You can also check out these:
http://www.studentholidays.com/budget_h ... _china.htm
http://www.hostelbeijing.com/findabed.p ... ntry.China