How to Pick a Great Hostel While Traveling Abroad
Finding a great hostel is sometimes tough. Finding a great hostel filled with amazing people in a great location with all the proper amenities is even tougher. Here are some quick tips for how to pick a great hostel while traveling abroad.
Location, Location, Location
– It holds true in real estate and if definitely holds true with hostels. Is the hostel near all the famous places you are intending on visiting? If not, is there easy access to public transportation? Or is Uber in the city you’re in? Location is a primary deciding factor because finding a place near all the attractions I intend on seeing is key so I don’t spend more time in transit getting from place to place. It’s also a huge benefit if I am suddenly jet lagged and need to crash for an hour or two.
Figure out Target Audience
– Try to find out who the hostel is trying to appeal to. Momma always told you not to judge a book by its cover, but if the images of the hostel have people drinking or showing off the bar – it is definitely a party hostel. The atmosphere of the hostel can also be figured out from the reviews left by other travelers on Hostelz. Some party hostels give you a beer when you check-in (this happened to me in Estonia!) and offer specials throughout the day.
Room & Board Situation
– This is a criterion that most people tend to overlook. Are there private rooms, gender specific rooms, and mixed housing?
Cheaper is Not Always Better
– This held true for me in Sofia, Bulgaria. My friend and I showed up after a grueling overnight bus ride from Athens, Greece. Not only was the hostel nothing like what was pictures, but we were sleeping on wood palettes with matresses on them.
– As stated above, check out Hostelz.com, Hostelworld, and other hostel websites to see what people are saying about their time at the hostel.
– A common area with tables, chairs, beanbags, board games, and other items are a great way to meet other people over some food or a beer.
A Kitchen to Cook In
– A shared kitchen is a necessity for me. Being able to buy groceries in a foreign country and cook a few meals is an awesome way to save a few bucks.
Late Checkout/Early Check In
– This is another perk that some hostels offer. You don’t want to stay in a place that is trying to turn over the rooms at 9 am or 10 am. Sleep is a precious thing while traveling, so being able to sleep uninterrupted once in awhile is a nice feeling. Same goes for early checking – you don’t want to show up to a hostel and have to sleep with all your stuff in a common area until your bed is ready.
– This is now more standard than it was a few years ago. Hostels have to have WiFi in order for me to successfully work remotely with my team.
– These are just small perks that don’t make or break my stay in a hostel, but they are pretty nice to have. Lockers in the room or behind the desk to store your backpack. Be sure to bring a lock! Breakfast in the morning is always a great thing to wake up to. Whether is a small pastry, free coffee, or a bowl of cereal it really makes a difference to slowly wake up in your new ‘home’. Airport pickup and dropoff is also great. Most of the time it is not included in your hostel rate, but they will coordinate your pickup and drop off for about 20-40 Euro more.
Ask Other Travelers
– If the items above haven’t helped guide you to pick a great hostel while traveling abroad, ask the other people who have been to the cities you’re going to. A face to face recommendation is fantastic because they’ve probably already researched the hostels in that city heavily and could recommend others if theirs wasn’t adequate.
Other Quick Tips –
- Bring your own lock
- Bring a pair of earplugs & and eyemask
- If people in person and online are raving about a hostel, book it now. You never know how quickly the place will fill up.
At the end of the day, you’re not going to be spending all of your time in the hostel. It’s more or a less a place to sleep soundly at night and possibly meet other travelers during the day.
Have any more tips to add to this article, drop a note below.