Hostels may be a lot of fun to stay in and are typically a cheap alternative for tourists, but they aren’t necessarily the most pleasant places to stay. You may not be able to have the relaxed vacation that you desire because the cleanliness isn’t up to your expectations or because you’re crowded in a room with a bunch of people. But you don’t have to pay for a hotel or anything else. Here are some pointers to help you choose the best lodging available at a price you can afford:
Choose a More Quiet Location
When looking for a hostel, one of the first things to consider is the type of location you desire. If you’re searching for something a little more comfy, you might want to skip the party hostel. Otherwise, you can end yourself in a room with a bunch of drunken fools who make noise all night and have sex in the bunks below you.
And there might be an unending procession of odd individuals entering and exiting your room, especially as everyone prepares to go. Or even worse. You may also want to check at hostels with an age limit so you aren’t locked in a room with a family and their little children. Read through the hostel description and reviews so you can pick the best place for you.
Key things to look for: curfews, quiet hours, age limits and whether or not there’s a bar on the premises.
Don’t go with the cheapest option.
Sometimes the cheapest location available is also a beautiful place, but most of the time, if you want a pleasant place, you’ll have to spend a little bit more. When it comes to hostels, you truly get what you pay for, which may range from filthy restrooms to run-down furnishings to shady settings and more. You don’t have to stay at the most costly choice, but you should absolutely look over the facilities and reviews to ensure you have a clear understanding of what the area has to offer before booking your seat.
Key things to look for: amenities, reviews and photos.
Get the Smaller Room
These days, many hostels offer private rooms, where you can stay in your own space while still enjoying the common room and other aspects that make hostels so great. Even if you’re still looking to stay in a dorm, be selective about the dorm that you’re staying in. Maybe you want to give a pass on that 20-bed dorm and instead stay in a 6-bed dorm. Again, this may mean you’re shelling out a little bit extra per night, but it may be worth it just to know there won’t be 19 strangers all snoring around you. You may also want to look into all-male or all-female dorm, where you don’t have to worry about staying with couples and may have fewer people sharing one bathroom.
Key things to look for: available options for rooms.
Read also: 9 Crafty Ways to Save Money for Travel
Make Some Friends
Knowing the individuals you’re living with, in my view, is one of the things that makes a hostel seem more comfortable.
If you’re all strangers and no one speaks to each other, you’ll frequently spend the entire night pussy-footing around each other. As a result, you’ll want to stay in a hostel with some character. Look for a facility with excellent ratings, positive single traveller reviews, a well-equipped common area, and pleasant staff.
You don’t have to become BFFs for life with the other people you meet there, but if you want to go out to dinner or go sightseeing with someone—or even if you simply want to feel less awkward when you trip over someone’s suitcase and wake everyone up at 3 a.m.—being sociable is absolutely one way to achieve it.
Key things to look for: common areas and positive reviews.
Have a Movie Night
If you’re really missing the comfort of home, nothing beats a communal movie night. But a lot of times hostels only have basic channels (with movies in the local language) or an outdated collection of DVDs. And if you try to stream from Netflix, Hulu or other sites when you’re traveling abroad, you’ll find yourself faced with an error message because of the sites’ copyright restrictions.
Fortunately, there’s a way around this: just install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your viewing device, and voila, those error messages will go away. Why? The VPN sends your information through a US-based server, so Netflix sees your web traffic as coming from the US rather than coming from wherever you’re actually located. As far as they’re concerned, you’re back home on your couch. Gather your friends and see if you can find some popcorn and candy!
Key things to look for: free WiFi and a VPN; bonus for hostels with connection cables so you can connect your computer to a larger screen.
Staying in an uncomfortable hostel can really put a damper on your trip, but if you do a little research, there’s no reason you can’t find a good place to stay in, even if you’re traveling on a budget. There’s such a variety of options available these days that if you really know what you want in a hostel and can narrow down your options, you’ll be able to find the perfect place for yourself!
What’s the best hostel you’ve ever stayed in? How did you find out about it? Do you have any other advice for guests looking to boost their comfort level in hostels?