What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “hostel”? Maybe it’s budget travel, dirty, party place, the list really goes on. For me hostels have so many benefits. For starters, they allow you to see more of the world because you’re spending less on accommodations which is often a huge chunk of people’s travel budgets. Also, they have a great community feel that helps you meet new people and feel more at home versus a stuffy, cookie cutter hotel.
However, hostels do have a bad reputation. I get it. They’re all fun and games until you reach a point in your life where you like to have a clean bathroom, get a good nights rest, and don’t want to party all night long. I’m 28 and I’m totally over that vibe. Sleep is important to me on a trip, but saving money is also important to me, especially since you hardly spend anytime in your hotel room anyway.
The good part about hostels though is there are so many different types and they don’t all need to be made for young backpackers who are just looking to get drunk. But how do you know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to the hostel you’re choosing? How do you pick one that suits your needs? Here are some tips…
Look at reviews
Reviews can’t always be taken too seriously and I’m sure you know this, sometimes you’ll stumble upon a place and realize that almost all the reviews are great but there’s always going to be those one or two that aren’t so great. Face it, there’s always something to complain about! However, looking at reviews can really help you pick apart if it’s the right hostel for you. Do people mention the cleanliness? What about the noise levels? Do they talk about partying in their reviews? Look out for the things you want/don’t want in a hostel while reading through the reviews.
Look at the photos
The photos are a good sign of what you are looking for. There are a ton of beautiful hostels out there and there are also a ton of dirty, cheap ones too. Photos are usually pretty easy to depict what type of hostel you’re looking at. It’s also helpful to look at photos of a place via TripAdvisor instead of just on the hostels website, these are often uploaded by travellers like you and you can guarantee they are going to show you the real side of a hostel versus just the photoshopped photos.
Pay a little more
If you want budget accommodations but still want the hostel to be clean and comfortable you might need to pay a little bit more, however, this doesn’t mean you need to pay the same price as what a hotel would be so you can still save money this way. You might want to opt for a smaller dorm room to make it more comfortable, for example, 4 bed dorm, versus 12 bed dorm. You might also want to pay a bit more for a private room if they are offered or just pay more for a slightly nicer experience than the super budget hostel.
Finding a good hostel that suits your needs is possible. You don’t need to give up and go for the nearest chain hotel. Even if you’re not a hostel person, there’s likely something out there for you, it’s just the matter of doing your research and not just booking the first place you see (or the cheapest).
What are your tips for finding a great hostel? Share them in the comments!
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