While Bratislava hasn’t undergone the kind of turmoil that many of its neighbors to the south have in recent decades, the city is still not yet a tourist magnet. Being in the shadow of Vienna could help, however, especially for those looking for something cheaper and different.
Hotels and hostels in Bratislava are very good value by European standards, yet not as cheap as the larger cities to the south. The Bratislava Old Town is very popular and worth spending a bit more for central accommodation.
This is a city that seems to be almost overrun with international dining options, so finding local food (which will be cheaper) can be a challenge, but one that will keep your expenses well down and give you the authentic experience at the same time.