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How To Find The Perfect Hostel

Whether you're a seasoned backpacker or a first-time traveler, finding the perfect hostel is crucial to making the most of your trip. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. From location to amenities to atmosphere, we've got you covered on how to find the perfect hostel so you can stick to your budget, feel safe, and make your travel dreams come true. Let's get ready for your next adventure!

Where Can You Find Hostels

There are a few different ways to find hostels for your backpacking trip. The most common websites are Hostelworld, Hostelbookers, and, which allow you to search for hostels based on location, price, and reviews from previous guests. You can select private or dorm-style rooms on these platforms to save money.

More adventurous travelers will wait to arrive at a destination and walk around to compare hostels. While this allows you to see if a hostel is safe and a good match for your travel style, it can also be risky as hostels can book up quickly. You may not be able to get an affordable option or may find yourself in a room of twenty snoring travelers if your luck runs out.

Backpackers walking into hostel
A hostel can make or break a travel experience. Choose wisely!

Hostel Red Flags

Not all hostels are created equal and it is always important to trust your gut in any situation that doesn’t feel safe. It is always unfortunate to lose out on money spent on a hostel, but it is always better to prioritize safety over money. Still, before you even book a room, there are a few red flags you can look out for to ensure you don’t get stuck paying for a room you will regret.

Bad Reviews

When it comes to booking a hostel, paying attention to reviews from previous guests is essential. Bad reviews can be a red flag that something is not right with the hostel. While a few negative reviews are normal for any accommodation, if the majority of reviews are consistently negative, it's best to steer clear. Look for reviews that mention issues like cleanliness, safety, or unresponsive staff. Keep in mind that some reviews may be biased or exaggerated, so try to read a variety of reviews from different sources before making a decision.

Weird Policy Language

Another red flag to watch out for when booking a hostel is strange or confusing policy language. Hostels should be transparent and straightforward about their policies, so if you come across language that seems overly complicated or unclear, it's worth asking for clarification before booking. Some common policy areas to pay attention to include check-in and check-out times, cancellation policies, and rules around noise and behavior. If a hostel's policies seem too strict or unreasonable, it may be best to keep searching for other options.

Aggressive Responses From Hostel On Reviews

If you notice aggressive or defensive responses from a hostel in response to negative reviews, this can also be a red flag. While it's understandable that a hostel may want to defend itself against unfair or untrue reviews, it's not appropriate for them to attack or belittle their guests. Look for responses that are polite and professional, and that offer a solution or explanation for the issue at hand. If a hostel's responses seem confrontational or hostile, it's probably best to look for another option where you'll feel more welcome and comfortable.

✈️ Pro Tip: Hostels are great places to make friends while traveling, but you can also meet people at these spots while exploring.

Interior of a dorm room hostel
Keep an eye out for red flags before you book your hostel.

How To Find The Perfect Hostel

So now that you know what to avoid, how do you choose the perfect hostel for your trip? There are a lot of factors to consider, some of which you may prioritize more than others. Still, don’t rush your decision-making process so you can ensure you find the best spot for you.

Prioritize Location

When searching for the perfect hostel, one of the most important factors to consider is location. Consider the purpose of your trip and what you want to do in the area. If you plan to explore the city, look for a hostel that is centrally located and close to public transportation. If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle, consider a hostel in a quieter area with access to nature or outdoor activities.

Don’t Just Go For The Cheapest Option

While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest hostel you can find, keep in mind that this may not always be the best option. A cheap hostel may have limited amenities, poor cleanliness, or be located in a less desirable area. Instead, focus on finding a hostel that offers a good balance of price and quality, and that meets your needs in terms of location, amenities, and atmosphere. Keep in mind, the cheapest options in hostels typically are mixed dorm rooms with many people in the room. While this might help you save on your budget, it may stop you from getting a goonight's sleep and feeling safe, so it might not be the best option.

✈️ Pro Tip: Don't skimp on your accommodation and instead travel to one of these 10 Most Affordable Places To Travel in 2023

Look At The Amenities (Kitchen, Showers, Etc.)

When selecting a hostel, take a close look at the amenities they offer. A well-equipped kitchen can help you save money on meals, while a clean and spacious shower can make your stay more comfortable. Other amenities to look for include laundry facilities, common areas for socializing, and access to Wi-Fi. Consider what's most important to you and look for a hostel that offers the amenities you need.

Know The Type Of Hostel It Is (Party, Short Stay, Youth, Digital Nomad)

Hostels come in many different forms, from party hostels to quiet retreats to hostels designed for digital nomads. Before booking, make sure you understand the type of hostel it is and what type of atmosphere you can expect. If you're looking for a social experience, a party hostel may be the right choice. If you're a digital nomad, look for a hostel with a co-working space or other amenities geared toward remote workers.

Man and women in hostel dorm beds
Every traveler will have different things they prioritize and should consider them when booking a hostel.

Look At Their Social Media Photo Tags

Social media can be a great tool for getting a better sense of a hostel's atmosphere and vibe. Check out their social media profiles and look at their photo tags to see what other guests have posted about their experience. This can give you a better sense of what to expect and whether the hostel is a good fit for you.

What Is The Locker Situation

Safety and security should be a top priority when selecting a hostel. Look for hostels that offer secure lockers or storage for your belongings, either in your room or in a common area. This will give you peace of mind and help protect your valuables.

Is Breakfast Included

Many hostels offer breakfast as part of the stay, which can be a great way to save money and start your day off right. Look for hostels that include breakfast in the price of the stay, and check what type of breakfast is offered. Keep in mind, a lot of hostels don’t mix up what they offer every day. If you’re staying for an extended time in a hostel, it may be better to eat out or make your own breakfast instead.

Do They Organize Events

If you're looking for a social experience, consider staying at a hostel that organizes events and activities for guests. This can be a great way to meet other travelers and make new friends. Look for hostels that offer pub crawls, city tours, or other group activities.

Looking for the perfect hostel can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Consider your needs and avoid red flags before you book a bed. And remember, travel mistakes are bound to happen. If you don’t get it right the first time, you can still find the perfect hostel for you. Bon voyage!


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