IntroductionTraveling and exploring new places is truly an amazing experience; however, it is usually accompanied by a lot of headaches - from the destination itself, to the tickets, to the place to sleep. Yup, it is a real struggle. With all the available options for us to choose from nowadays it seems that finding the best spot has become harder rather than easier job – you aren’t sure whether you rent an Airbnb or you just stick to the regular option, a hotel or if you are in for an incredible and affordable experience a hostel is a place for you. What is a hostel? It is an affordable type of accommodation that is centralized on promoting shared social experiences and environment. It is not a hotel and it isn’t a motel. Hostels are usually affiliated with dirty and packed places with a lot of beds and very very cheap. This is not the case anymore, in recent years they got a total makeover and a lot of new hostel owners decided to take on a different direction and offer low price & great experience at the same time. Most of the newer hostels now are very modern and highly equipped to serve any kind of needs. Now that you know that there is another, great, accommodation option for your trip you are ready to step into the detail. Choosing a hostel might seem an easy job, because you supposedly don’t apply the same rules as in finding and booking any other type of accommodation, but this is very much not the case. Picking a hostel requires the same effort as finding a nice plane ticket or choosing a hotel or apartment of your liking.
Types of hostelsYou thought there aren’t that many variations to this didn’t you? I beg to differ. Much like hotels and another rent type of accommodations, hostels also vary from one to another. As I said there are hostels offering differing experiences from the location to the types of sheets for example. There are hostels which are more family prone, while others provide a nice and calm environment for the “alone time” fans. There are a few basic types I’d like to outline for you, so you get a better understanding of the experiences you can get out of a hostel. The cheap one – this, my dear readers is exactly the type of hostel you picture in your head, when you hear the word “hostel”; sometimes located in sketchy areas, these hostels may not offer you the best views in the city or the biggest rooms around, but it’ll do the job of offering a roof over your head for the night. This option is great if you have a tight budget, or simply don’t care whether you’d spend the night in the Four Seasons or in a simple hostel room. Opposed to that, naturally, you have the luxurious type of hostel. This is the hostel of your dreams. Sleek design and high-class experience, as long as you are able and willing to drop that extra cash. They are usually offering way greater locations and bigger and better rooms than the cheaper versions, so it’s going to be worth it. The next one is the family-friendly type of hostel, this pretty much speaks for itself – it offers bigger more family-friendly rooms (https://www.cloudbeds.com/articles/8-types-of-hostels-to-visit/ ) and usually has game rooms, entertaining centres and sometimes even curfew. Needless to say, these hostels are more family based, and it may not be a great idea to book a room there if you’re looking for a party; which brings us to the next type of hostels. Party hostels, this is where you go to spend your night when on a trip if you are young, fun and always ready to meet new people and party. These accommodations organize all kinds of events including pub crawls for their guests which may not always be very budget-friendly, if you know what I mean. Some party hostels have age restrictions so you should always try to check before booking. And last but not least, your home away from home type of hostel. This kind of accommodations is very centralized on the idea that travellers should feel at home even if they are far away from it and mesmerize their guests with cosy and homey environment and experience. They offer living space areas, kitchens sometimes even a garden to chill in and so on, so it is an amazing place if you feel homesick while on the road. As I mentioned, these are only a few basic types I wanted to reference to you, as there are many others more each with its own idea of a hostel experience. For more ideas, you can check here. And now that you are aware of what a hostel is and the basic types of accommodations you can choose from it is time for us to move forward with all else you need to take into consideration before you actually book one.
Set a BudgetKnowing your budget and financing is a crucial part of travelling; you should always try to stay ahead of the situation to avoid nasty surprises that leave their mark on your credit/debit card. Before you chose where to stay try to weight in the odds – would you like to pay a bit extra, but be comfy and at a good location, or are you unwilling/unable to spare some more cash and prefer to just have a roof over your head and a bed to lay your head after a long day of sightseeing. This all depend on you and your needs and most of all money. Before you set the budget check out the currency rates (if needed) and the prices all around the city/ village and then decide where it is more worth it for you. Always check if you have to make any pre-payments and additional charges for the hostels’ breakfast/lunch/ dinner (if not mentioned).
Know What You’re Looking ForThis is also partially connected with the previous section. Before you book it and after you set your budget you need to know what to look for. Are you looking for a chill place, or somewhere you can party. Howe important is for you to sleep on a nice bed, how clean you want the place to be and etc. This is an essential part of your hostel research, as you don’t want a bad accommodation choice to ruin your whole trip. Check out the areas they are located at – their security, supermarkets and pharmacies (and hospitals) around, places to eat, shop and so on. Knowing what you look for will make your search times easier. As if you are not specific enough you’ll end up with numerous choices and not be able to pick one that is most of your liking because you didn’t know what to look for.
Ratings & ReviewsThere are the two “R’s” you should pay most attention to. In the Hostel descriptions (but not only!), as with most people’s CVs, there usually appears to be a small level of over-exaggeration connected to either the room size or its proximity to specific sights. This is why you should always check out the ratings, reviews and comments of previous guests. Look for red flags and decide what is going to be the deal-breaker for you. There are a couple of websites and blogs which offer that kind of information, which could prove very useful to you in your quest to finding the best hostel. For more elaborate information on hostels you can check this website, it contains all that you need in order to chose a hostel that fits you, your ideas and budget the most.. Of course, sometimes not all ratings and reviews are objective this is why you need to be careful on what to believe and what not to believe, also see if the remarks are reasonable and supported and shared by other guests.
Draw the Line and See Who’s Your WinnerNow that you have all the information you need on hostels and how to pick one, it’s time for you to actually do it. Based on your budget estimate, your priorities, research and ratings you are now able to narrow down your choices and just pick one of the available options. You should always keep in mind that saving up sometimes is not a good idea as it might turn out more costly than actually spending some extra cash.
How About a Suggestion?Consider this paragraph as the “author’s choice”. As I mentioned above finding a good destination, if you have nothing specific in mind, could also present as an issue, as finding a hostel is now easier, but how about the country that hostel would be in? I won’t take much of your time with this one as I am only going to give you one suggestion to visit, if you still haven’t – Thailand. Why? It’s foreign, exotic, and mystical and it offers great variety of experiences for you and your friends or family (or you by lonesome). And what I’m trying to say is that this amazing island and its beautiful beaches are going to completely take your breath away and steal your heart. It doesn’t matter if you are off exploring, partying or soul searching – it has everything for everyone. How about the hostel situation there you ask? Thailand offers an immense amount of accommodations including great hostels each with their own perk. As I said everything for everyone! If this has caught your attention and want to know a little bit more about Thailand you can see it here.
Final ThoughtsChoosing a place to stay before going on a trip is not an easy job, especially knowing that there are so many choices each having their own perks. A hostel can be a great place for you to not only rest your head for the night, but also to meet new people with different lifestyles and in some cases party all night long. The good thing about hostels is that they don’t limit you. You want to travel alone and spend some cozy time – no problem; travelling with your family and pets – worry not, there are great options for you. Hostels are definitely not what they used to be in the past, now they can be crazy, funky, boutique, chill, cheap, expensive, moderate price and many more. There is basically something for every ones’ taste and preference. Before choosing, however always make sure you take the necessary steps so you don’t get “played” in the end. Be aware of your budget – what you are able/ willing to spend and spare on, but don’t make too much compromise you might end up regretting it. Know what you are looking for in you accommodation – cleanness, less noise, type of rooms, food, location and so on. At this point you probably have a few favorites – which is the right time for you to check out those reviews and ratings, don’t forget those comments though, they can be crucial for your choice. Always keep in mind that not all of it would be super objective, so try do see if a concern is shared by a lot of ex-guests. Read the fine print - this is a golden rule that doesn’t only apply when reading Terms & Conditions. After you’ve gone through all of this now you are ready to narrow down your options and pick one, it should be easier as you now consider only a few accommodations. You picked? Great! Now it’s time for you to book it, always pay attention to the check-in/out policy, reservation cancellations, pet policy and parking (if needed).
Now, that you have booked your trip and accommodation our journey is coming to an end. I hope this short step-by-step guide was helpful in your search for the right hostel for you. You should always remember that everything narrows down to a good research and knowing what you look for (based on that budget of yours!). Hope you have a great trip and stay!