Booking a hostel for the first time? Before you book, here are the top 10 tips you should know before booking a hostel
One of my top priorities when booking a hostel is a good location. Book one that is in close proximity to where you’re going to be exploring or spending a lot of your time. Ask yourself;
- Where will you be traveling from the hostel?
- How much will transport be if my hostel isn’t close to tourist attractions?
- Do I need to be close to the airport?
You’ll often find that the better the location, the more expensive the accommodation is. However, most of the time it’s worth it. Especially, if you’re not renting a car or traveling alone for example.
Choosing your location is extremely important for safety too, even if it means forking out more cash, it’s always worth it to be staying in a place where you’ll feel more comfortable.
2. Is there a kitchen?
My second top tip and a great one if you’re on a budget is to check the reviews on Hostel World or Booking.com and make sure that there is a communal kitchen that guests can use. Head to the supermarket, stoke up on groceries, and get cooking! Undoubtedly, you’ll more than likely be fighting for the cooker at night in the hostels with other backpackers but it could easily save you a day! You’ll often find the kitchen being busy to be a good thing as it’s a great opportunity to get chatting with other backpackers and make friends!
3. Good wifi
Even though traveling is a great way of disconnecting from the world and switching off, we all need to let our families and friends know that we’re safe. I currently work online and travel while I work so good wifi is essential. Most hostels these days have equipped communal work spaces with excellent wifi so read the reviews before booking.
4. Free organized activities
This is my favorite out of my top 10 tips you should know before booking a hostel! Before you book a hostel, scan the description and read the reviews to make sure they offer free activities. This is such a key way of making friends if you’re traveling alone. A lot of hostels organize pub crawls, beer pong, yoga classes, etc. I also recommend checking out a hostel’s Instagram before booking as they usually share pictures and videos of the events so that you can see if it’s your vibe or not.
5. Free Breakfast
This is a big bonus to check before booking a hostel. A free breakfast means it’s one less meal to pay for so you save money. Most of the time it’s just a small bowl of fruit and a pancake but when you’re strapped for cash after 3 months of traveling you’d take any free food. 🤣 If you need more tips on how to save money while traveling, check out my previous blog post here.
6. Curtains on your bed
This may sound like an odd thing to suggest looking out for but trust me, the last thing you want is to have the 9 other backpackers in your room able to watch you while you sleep. In the shared dorms a lot of hostels have curtains on the beds so you’re not fully exposed when you’re sleeping 🤣 A lot of hostels don’t have these curtains, so if this bothers you just read the reviews, it normally says if they do, or not in there!
7. Plug sockets near your bed
I’m not fussed about this one but it can be annoying when you’ve to leave your phone on the other side of the room to charge. Some hostels have a locker for each bed with a plug inside. If you think not being able to charge your electronics overnight right beside your head will bother you, check the reviews first.
8. Female-only or male-only dorms
If you’re traveling alone, you might feel safer in female or male-only dorms. Most countries in Central America had these options but we found Costa Rica has mainly shared forms everywhere.
9. Good reviews
This one sounds really obvious but trust me, read the reviews before booking!! The majority of the time people who leave reviews will be concerned about the same kind of thing you might be concerned about. Sometimes, people will leave a comment about something you didn’t even think might be positive or negative about a hostel before they said it.
10. Free Water Dispenser
What’s the point in paying for water every day when most hostels have free filtered water dispensers? We thought every hostel would have free water but nope we got charged extra in Colombia in Palomino every time. This information won’t always be on the reviews, but you can always reach out to the hostel on Instagram. If you’re worried about clean water while traveling, I highly recommend buying a filtered water bottle. The one I use is from Water-To-Go.
Hostel World has a feature where you can see where other guests are from that will be staying in the hostel at the same time as you! It has a chat feature to connect with them so that you can start making plans to travel together or for example, rent a car together etc!
Which are these top 10 tips you should know before booking a hostel do you relate to the most? Let me know!