Share this Post
Where you stay can go a long way to making or breaking your experience in a city. A good hostel gives you a nice place to relax at the end of a hard day. It can be a great place to meet people, make friends, and get advice for interesting things to do. And, of course, getting a decent night’s sleep can make all the difference to how you feel when you’re out exploring the city the next day.
With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks that we generally use to make sure we find somewhere decent to stay.
You can also search for accommodation through these websites, and then book directly with the hostel / hotel to potentially save a bit of money.
Check the rating
A pretty obvious one, but take care. Pay attention to how many people have rated the hostel as well. A hostel with a rating of eight from thousands of ratings is probably better than one with a rating of nine from only 20 or 30 ratings.
Read the reviews
This one seems obvious but it can often be overlooked. Reading the most recent reviews can give you a heap of information you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
- Look for any mention of atmosphere, cleanliness, and whether anything is broken.
- See what reviews say about the staff. We can’t stress this enough. In our experience the staff can make the biggest difference to the feel of a hostel. If all the reviews are mentioning the staff and it’s all positive, go ahead and book.
- If the hostel is really rowdy and a party hostel, people will generally mention it here. If that’s what you’re after then go ahead and book, and if it’s not, then avoid it at all costs!
- If the location is bad, it’ll usually be mentioned here too.
- The reviews are also particularly handy if you want to make sure the wifi is good, as people always complain about bad wifi here.
Check the facilities for things that you want
Lots of hostels offer things like free breakfasts, bike hire, and social activities. Decide what you’re looking for, and double check to make sure it will be there.
If you want to save money, look for a hostel with things like a kitchen and washing facilities. If you want a more social hostel, look for one that has a bar and social nights. Some hostels will also lay claim to being ‘party hostels.’ It’s always worth reading the reviews to see what they’re really like.
**If you want or need good wifi, don’t always trust what the hostel says, read the reviews**
Check that it’s in a good location
There’s nothing worse than getting to a city and realising that you’re staying a long way from everything that you want to do. A quick way to find out where the good locations are in a city is to do an accommodation search, and then switch the results to map view. You’ll generally find that there are clusters of hostels in certain areas.
Book in advance… sometimes
Depending on your travel style, you’re either super organised and have everything booked, or you leave it as late as you can. And there are advantages to both.
- If you’re going to a tourist hotspot in peak season, book early. Certain hostels will book out really early, particularly some of the party hostels in Europe, so for those ones book even earlier.
- If you’re going to be somewhere over a weekend, then it’s worth booking a little way in advance too.
- On the other hand, if you book as you travel, you can get recommendations as you go on where to stay, and it gives you a little more flexibility to change your plans as you go. Again, decide what’s more important to you, and go from there.
Talk to people!
If you’re backpacking and going from hostel to hostel, you’re bound to meet lots of people that have been to similar places. You’ll get some great recommendations for places to stay. People are generally more than happy to talk about the places that they enjoyed. Be a little bit wary though, and still do your research before booking!
Of course, none of this is guaranteed to find you a good place. But it at least gives you the best chance! Is there anything else that you do when you’re booking? Let us know!
You might also like
- How to find cheap flights
- Popular places to go on your first trip to Europe
- 14 movies to watch if you’re planning a trip to Europe
Back to Travel Tips and Advice