So you’ve decided you want to stay in a hostel. How do you find the right hostel for you?
First and foremost using a hostel booking site works wonders. There’s a few different ones out there, but my favorite is hostelworld. When you go to hostelworld on the main page you’ll see the search. Pop in your destination city, your arrival, & departure dates as well as the number of guests and hit search. Once you are brought to the results you can narrow down your search. Let me help walk you through a search:
1. I’ll be in Milano in September so I will type Milan, Italy in the city and let’s use Sept 1 as our arrival and Sept 4th as our departure and 1 guest. Hit find hostels and a list will be populated for you.
2. Once you have the search results, I myself immediately go to rating and pull it so it only shows hostels that have a rating of 80% – 100%.
Note 1: I learned after leaving some ratings that if you put average for everything they get a rating of about 70%. Which some of those I’ve stayed at, I would think deserve higher than a 70%. In any case, if you’re looking at 80%+ it means they have an above average rating. (ratings are taken from all reviews over the last 6 months or so).
Okay so if you are following along with me, you’ve moved the rating to 80 – 100% and the list has been narrowed.
3. For me, the next most important thing to do is look at the facilities. You can check any of the ones that are important to you. For this example walk through, I’ll choose 24 hour reception (someone is there to check you in or out at anytime), 24 hours security (there is some sort of security in place 24 hours a day), air conditioning, breakfast included, and luggage storage (where you can leave your luggage after check out if you have a few hours before you are moving on to your next destination). If you click show more, you’ll have even more options such as linen included, towels included, kitchens, airport transfers, lockers, etc.
4. You’ll notice your list as gotten even smaller. The next thing I do is click payment type. Some hostels don’t take credit cards or debit cards, and I always prefer to pay with plastic than having actual bills on me, but that’s just a personal preference.
5. Next I click room type, I like the female dorms, so I click that and guess what? You should know by now, the search results shrink again.
So at this point, depending on how narrow you’ve made your search or not, you should have a more manageable list. Sometimes it’s not perfect and you will have no results, in that case, you’ll need to decide what is most important to you.
One thing I didn’t talk about was price, you can clearly put a price limit on your search as well, I personally don’t because usually by this point my search results are narrow enough and I can easily see what’s in my price range or not.
Now you can check out each of the hostels that are left on your search result and decide which sounds like the best fit.
1. Read the reviews. They show the most recent towards the top, so you can see what conditions are like currently. This is important because sometimes over the years, conditions go downhill.
2. Check out the distance to the way your are getting into the city whether it be airport or train station, etc, and see if the hostel is easily accessible for you. Also, if you have a plan of what you want to see in your destination city see how close it is to those sites. I try to stay close to the sites I want to see as I can save money on in city travel by being ale to walk to the sites.
3. Look at the photos! See what you are getting yourself into. Of course photos can be outdated, but it can give you some idea.
4. Check out the breakdown of the rating.
5. Go ahead and see the difference in paying with Euro, British pound, or US dollar. I talked about this in my post about finding a flight. There can be differences, and sometimes it can work in your favor. At the time of booking through hostelworld you only need to pay a deposit of 12%!
I’m someone that likes to have my route planned in advance, but leave some room for changes. So, I myself pay the extra dollar for the flexible booking offered through hostelworld. What is flexible booking? Well you pay the extra dollar and if your travel plans change the despot you put down is available for you to use on a new booking. That dollar does not go towards your deposit or towards a new booking, and is not refunded if you cancel your plans. However, to know I have my rooms booked for my entire trip feels good. And to know if I change my mind and decide to go to another city that deposit I put down can be moved to the hostel in the new city. Each hostel has their own cancellation policy as far as time in advance, so make sure you contact the hostel directly to find out about that.
So now that you know how to find the best place for you! Start booking my fellow Jetsetter!