Picking a hostel can feel like a nerve-racking experience, especially if you’ve never stayed in one before! It feels like just picking a hotel, but somehow riskier! You can pick a hostel based on how cool it looks, or how close it is to the city’s best attractions, but you’re better off if you prepare before you look.
Picking the right hostel isn’t just about how close it is to the cool attractions, it’s about how well it FITS your NEEDS. I say customize, customize, customize! Read on for the TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO HOSTEL BOOKING
I had never stayed in a hostel before, but man did I just get a crash course in booking them! I am planning a GIANT EUROTRIP this summer and I am staying in hostels to get a feel for the local culture as well as trying to keep my costs down. I kept thinking, how does anyone have the time to read carefully and pick the right one?! Staying in a hostel is a great choice for savvy travelers, but be sure you make that hostel work for YOU!
How to get started
- Write your needs down- Write out your top needs. Will you DIE without wifi? Can’t sleep in a room with another gender? Must have laundry? You can filter your search by room type, bed type, price, ratings from others, facilities (like free WIFI and laundry!), and types of payment. Knowing your needs beforehand will make this process a LOT faster.
- Decide your top budget- Before you start looking, decide how much you have to spend on hostels, per night. Knowing your top budget ahead of time will help you filter the hostels that fit your budget. Even if it looks cool, if it’s not in your price point- move on!
How to pick the RIGHT one
- Photos- First things first, see if they have photos! Be wary of places that have generic, stock photos. Make sure they have a variety of photos- photos of the city do not count! Make sure you can clearly see the beds, bathrooms, and common areas. Use your best judgement
- Reviews- Check out how MANY reviews they have. If the hostel has a 9.0 rating, but only 10 reviews, it doesn’t mean as much. Try to stick to over 1000 reviews, if possible, and make sure you READ a variety of them.
- Owner research- Personally, I am a solo female traveler, so I prefer to stay in hostels/air bnbs/ bed-n-breakfasts run by women or families. If you are comfortable renting a room from the opposite sex, that’s great. I definitely want to put this in as a note for new travelers or cautious travelers to remember. Assess your comfort level and read reviews about the owner to decide for yourself.
- Read the fine print- I didn’t realize that some hostels don’t offer sheets or hot showers unless it specifically states so in the hostel overview! Be sure to read the fine print to see what is/what’s not included.
- SCAMS- If it sounds too good to be true, it just might be. My experienced traveler friend always follows this golden rule when booking an accommodation: Type the name of the place into Google, followed by the word SCAM. You’ll be able to tell right away if there are any negative reviews written about the place. [For example, type: ‘ACE HOTEL,SCAM’]
If you follow these basic guidelines, you’ll be on your way to an amazing adventure. Staying in hostels is amazing because it gives you a better feel for local culture and you get to meet amazing people from around the world! Don’t be afraid, use this knowledge to be proactive and savvy! Happy Travels!
Spot you soon,
As always, if you liked my article, SUBSCRIBE to my blog and SHARE this post with your friends!
Tweet me @SpotTheRedHead if you need TRAVEL ADVICE or if you just want to follow and say hi!