We've all heard the negative premonitions behind Hostels; they aren't clean, noisy, and uncomfortable. Well those are all myths or things you can avoid if you take the time to thoroughly understand your needs and book based on those needs. Each hostel experience could be completely different from the next so here are our tips on the What, When, and How of getting the most out of your hostel stay.
We are Polina & Corey of Wandering Class and we hope these tips help you have a successful and fun stay!
When a hostel may be a great option for you
- You're on a budget. Hostel accommodations can be cheap! From $10-40/night on the budget side and can go higher as you add accommodation. But most times you can get away with a nightly rate that's extremely budget friendly.
- Traveling with a group. When you can't get all your friends in a hotel room and are over fighting who gets the bed or the couch, hostel may be the right option. One room can accommodate all of your friends and if you book early enough, you might be able to find a room all to yourselves! This could apply to traveling with an odd # of people too.
- Looking to mingle, meet, and socialize! Hostels are a breeding ground of people looking to meet fellow travelers and have some fun in a new land. You never know what kind of memories you'll make with your hostel mates!
- No Age Restriction! You truly don't have to be in your early 20's to enjoy a Hostel.
HINT: most hostels have gathering areas like lobby, lounge, cafe, bar, or even club! So you can scout the type of experience you want to have by the activities these hostels offer. Many even give you drink vouchers!
- You just need a bed. If you're not looking for the mint on your pillow, and just a place to crash for a night or two, a hostel gives you just that.
Honestly it's hard to define your need to stay in a hostel, if you're a traveler at heart or want to be one, staying in hostels should be second nature. If you're adventurous, have introvert tendencies (like we do) and want to meet others like yourself who appreciate and love to explore, you will find them at a hostel because you already have THAT in common!
Deciphering your booking needs
- Number of Bed Dorms. Meaning there are so many beds in a single room. Beds could be single beds or bunks, and most times they are bunk beds.
- Private Rooms. No sharing with strangers on this one, just read the fine print on what kind of bed(s) and number of guests they sleep.
- Bathroom Situation. Look for "Ensuite" or in suite bathroom, probably the most convenient as you're most likely sharing with only your roommates. If bathroom is shared, you may be sharing a few bathrooms with the entire/part of hostel.
- Kitchen. Review if there's an easily accessible kitchen and refrigerator, you never know when you have some extra leftovers you may want to warm up or prepare a home cooked meal. At Chili Hostel in Prague our 8 bed dorm had a connected kitchen which was great for hanging out and preparing our own meals within reach. (Book here!)
HINT - if you're traveling alone and book a private room that sleeps 2, make sure you're only paying for one guest rather than two. These types of rooms normally require that two people book so you're stuck with twice as much cost... Please keep that in mind when booking!
Amenities to consider when booking & packing
- Lockers. Most hostels provide locks for in-room lockers, but I would double check that to be sure. This is a VERY important amenity as you are carrying extremely valuable items; passports, ID's, cash, cameras, jewelry, you name it. Always stay safe and lock your valuables.
- Towels. Check the towel policy - are towels provided at no cost? Can you rent them? Good to know for your budget or if you need to pack your own.
- Linens. Same as towels, check the policy! We've arrived at a hostel where we had to rent our linens. Mind you it wasn't a terrible cost, but would have been nice to know prior to arrival... oops didn't do our homework!
- Technology/Internet. Wifi is important especially in a land where your home network gives you no access to update your friends on your fabulous travels. Most hostels offer computers to access internet, check what it costs!
- Check-in/out times. A check out time of 12 noon makes huge difference than a check out time of 10 am. This could mean an extra 2 hours of valuable sleep before the next big adventure!
Traveling is all about the experience, do you want to roam alone through hotels or live your adventure amongst others? Do you want to have stories to tell? Check this out - we stayed on a BOAT (pictured below) in Berlin right next to the berlin wall. I may not recommend it for the 6+ foot tall ones (that's me, Polina!) but this hostel definitely floats my boat! :P
Ready to Book?
We hope this gave you insight on what to look for when booking a hostel. Forget the preconceptions about Hostels, if you do the research, and know what kind of experience you're looking for, a Hostel could be a GREAT choice for your next travel accommodation! And it's cheap!
Polina & Corey of WanderingClass