I have heard varying reports on this, what should I realistically budget for a decent hostel (dorm) in the city? What about the average price of a meal?
I would say about $20 US per night. I was able to get a private room for $40 US near Vysehrad just south of the city center and easily accesible by tram. Food can vary widely generally around $6-10 for a normal type meal, however avoid the cafes near the astronomical clock in the center since they tend to charge you a lot more for beer and meals. But my Grandmother (who is from Prague) gave me a great recommendation-- go to U Stari Pabi, a hotel, jazz bar and restaurant! about 11 years ago
stay at czech inn. probably the best hostel i've ever stayed at.. i think less than $20/night too for a dorm. and yeah avoid those restaurants near the clock they're expensive. also, i noticed that a lot of the restaurants I went to did not accept credit card, but my parents went shortly after I did and didn't find that at all (they were also on a different budget than i was). about 11 years ago