Insider tips in GlobetrotterGirls at Pepo - Sep 8 2017, 05.07.13 AM UTC

Because I am back on the road and traveling on a budget for the next month, I will be staying in a lot of hostels over the coming weeks. But I am very picky when it comes to budget accommodation, which is why I thought I’d share my tips on how to find a good hostel with you. Because let’s be honest here: there are still plenty of hostels out there that suck! So here is what I do when I look for a hostel:

1 Look up ratings

I usually book hostels through I used to love Hostelworld, but I kept finding better deals on, and at some point I just stopped using Hostelworld. As a rule of thumb, I never book a hostel that’s rated less than an 8 out of 10. Even if a hostel is a 7, for me that’s too low of a rating. The higher the rating, the better for me.

2 Pay more

Yes, I am on a budget, but I’ll happily pay 2-3 Euros more and stay in a newer, more stylish hostel. There are even so-called luxury hostels now, which usually have super nice facilities. For a dorm bed in those you may pay 20 Euros for a bed instead of 15, but for me, that’s worth it. In a hot country, I’m also happy to pay more if the hostel has a pool. Last year in Colombia I stayed in one of the best hostels ever: brand new furniture, a great location, and not one but TWO swimming pools!

3 No backpackers

I am in my 30s now, which means I’ve grown out of the gap year backpacker age. And that’s why I don’t stay in a hostel that has the word ‘backpacker’ or ‘backpackers’ in it. These are usually the party hostels with a bunch of 20-somethings who want to get drunk every night, something I cannot identify with.

4 Late check-outs

I don’t understand how there are still hostels that have a 10am check-out – while in hotels, you can check out at noon. If the hostel doesn’t have at least an 11am check-out, I don’t want to stay there, unless I have an early flight / bus to my next destination.

5 Recent reviews

This goes along with #1 – I don’t just look up the rating of a hostel, I also look up recent reviews, and when using, I usually cross-reference Tripadvisor as an independent reviews platform. Recent reviews are important because you want to find out if the hostel has suffered from a bed bug infestation recently. No hostel and hotel is safe from them, no matter how fancy and expensive it is… and I sure don’t want to stay in a place where bed bugs were reported recently.

6 Lockers

I have come across so many hostels on my travels that still don’t have lockers, I just don’t know how people can stay there and not worry about having their stuff stolen. As someone who travels with a lot of electronic equipment, I don’t feel comfortable staying in a dorm where everyone can access my backpack with all my valuables, and I also don’t want to carry around things like passport, credit cards, and all my cash.

7 Activities

That’s not a deal breaker, but when traveling alone, I appreciate it when a hostel offers communal activities such as pub crawls or walking tours, which makes it easy to connect with other travelers. A hostel I stayed at in Colombia even offered free salsa lessons which was awesome.

8 Amenities

Other than lockers, these are the amenities that I always make sure a hostel has: hot showers (not a given in Central America, for example), free wifi, a common area to work in and to socialize, a kitchen so that I can cook for myself if I don’t feel like going out to grab something to eat.


Do you stay in hostels? What’s something that’s important for you when booking a hostel?
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