So you’ve decided to stay in a hostel (YAY)! Your first step should always be to parooze Hostelworld. It is hands down the best place on the web to choose your perfect hostel. Hostelworld lets you filter the results for the kind of property you’re looking for; it also lets you sort properties by different factors.
Decide what’s most important to you about your hostel. In my experience, the four main factors to consider when choosing a hostel (or any travel accommodation really) are Price, Location, Reviews/ Ratings, Vibe. I’m going to break these down.
Price– Decide whats in the budget! This will vary city to city, but the average cost per night you should expect to pay will become clear as soon as you put your destination into Hostelworld.
Location– This is a huge one. The property description usually outlines the neighbourhood and highlights of the location. The reviews can further elucidate this topic. Also, Hostelworld very helpfully provides the “km from city centre.”
What won’t come as a surprise is that the properties closer to the city centre are often more expensive. If you can find something (and you usually can) that balances these two factors, great! But often you have to make a choice between price and location. After a full summer of having to make this choice, the winner in my mind is…. location! See, the money you save on the cheaper hostel, you usually end up spending in transport to get there and back. The ability walk to attractions/ nightlife is handy to avoid sometimes confusing transportation in a foreign land is handy. Furthermore, when your hostel is right downtown, where the attractions are, you can easily go back to make food and relax for a few hours in the middle of a long travel day, rather than having to buy, which will also save you money.
Vibe. What vibe are you going for! Do you want a party hostel, maybe one with a bar attached or inside? Do you want one with lots of activities, lots going on, hostel dinners, pub crawls, etc? Or are you looking for something more laid back? Maybe one that has a terrace, or a large comfy living room? Looking at pictures and description can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Reviews/ Ratings- Truth be told, I’m always wary of this factor. The overall rating of a property on Hostelworld is very helpful for getting a general feel. However, since we’re being honest here, I never review anything. As I’m leaving I say to myself and my travel buddies, wow what a great experience I should probably leave a review. But do I? Almost never. Especially when on the road, I get caught up in moving on to the next great experience. Because thats who I am, an easygoing, busy traveller.
Be aware of the kind of people who leave bad reviews. Uptight, inexperienced travellers who had a bad experience and decided to dwell on that negativity.
Its important to be aware that hostels are very transient places. Most staff are there on very short term stints, and they always experience a high volume of both travellers and staff coming and going, especially in the summer months. Properties take bad reviews very seriously and often work to address whatever issues where addressed.
~ The length of your stay is another important factor to consider. If you only have a few days, its probably worth it to spend a few more euros on the most central location, to make the most of your time.
~ Hostels closer to the city centre tend to be livelier and busier, with people coming in and out, and on short stays. Hostels farther from the centre tend to be quieter, more laid back, and larger than downtown hostels, with people on longer stays.
If you’re on a longer trip, I highly recommend trying a mix of hostel locations/vibes! I would NOT recommend booking all party hostels! I remember arriving at a wonderful hostel in Prague after a four wild days in Berlin. Though a good 25 minutes walk from town, it was so quiet, peaceful, had a huge garden in the back, the rooms were quiet and air conditioned, en-suite bathroom, it was exactly what we needed. We wouldn’t have survived that trip without a little R&R at that hostel!
As always, message me for ANY questions or advice. I’m always happy to help!
~ elina x