Through my travels I have stayed in many types of hostels, guesthouses, cheap hotels, you name it and I have stayed in it. There are many different types of cheap accommodations while backpacking and each one has its own style, amenities and good and bad things associated with it. When im choosing a hostel there are a few things I look for that will sway me to choose where ill be staying that night or how ever many nights I am in that particular city. Here’s my top 5 things I look for when I choose a Hostel:
5. Free Breakfast
Most hostels that I have stayed at will include a free “breakfast” with the price of a nights stay. This is a good thing to look for if you either on a budget or a cheap skate, like me. While most of the time the free breakfast will only consist of cereal or bread, jam, fruit, and juice and coffee it’s still free and will save you a few bucks from having to eat out somewhere. Even if you wake up and you’re not too hungry its smart to head to the kitchen area and grab a couple of pieces of bread and some fruit and save it for later because now you have something to eat for lunch and you also just saved money that will no doubt be spent on beer later that day.
4. Free Internet
Internet is a must have for backpackers. It provides a means of keeping in contact with family and friends back home, reserving a hostel in your next city, checking how much money you have left and even seeing whats going on in the world. In Europe especially internet is insanely expensive as most internet cafes charge you by the hour so when im looking for a hostel that I want to stay in I usually go with one that offers free internet. I love anything free and hey, its more beer money that ill have to spend each night.
Location is a pretty important factor to take into account when I look for my hostel. Obviously the hostels that are closer to the city center or the popular areas of town will be cheaper than the ones further away. Even though one out-of-town may be a good amount cheaper than in town you have to remember that you will have to pay for transportation from your out-of-town hostel into the popular part of town and back again. This can add up to a big chuck of change at the end of the day. I have stayed in both of these types and ive learned my lesson: pay the money to stay close to where the happening spots are. Most of the times the price of transportation everyday adds up more than the price of the hostel. Location is a big key for me. Spend the extra money and you will have more coins to spend on beer that night. ( Crazy how that works, huh?)
Theres nothing better than walking into your new hostel in the city you just arrived in and seeing that it has its own bar packed with other backpackers partying and drinking and laughing and just having a good time. If I hear or read that a hostel has a great atmosphere than chances are I will head there and see for myself. I mean that’s what backpacking is all about. Seeing the world, meeting people, and having a great time all the time. Now, there are some times when I am just over the drinking and loudness and want to find a quite place on a secluded beach and be alone but most of the time I look for the hostels that are packed with loud rowdy drunk kids. Then I spend the money that I saved on not having to use an internet cafe and buy beers. All.Night. Long.
It’s no secret that I am a cheap skate so this one so come as no surprise. The number one thing I look for when searching for a hostel is PRICE. I’m a backpacker not a tourist. I don’t have loads of cash. My money has to last me weeks, not days. I’d rather have a crappy dorm room than a 4 star hotel. That’s just how I am. Usually the cheapest rooms are dorms rooms. This means that you will be sharing a room with strangers. Anywhere from 3 to 24 other people will be sleeping and staying in the room with you. What better way to meet people than to have to “live” with them? The biggest dorm room I stayed in was a 25 person one in Amsterdam. It was cheap but not THAT cheap being that the Euro dominates the USD. It was fun and since we all saved money by booking the dorm we all went out for beers!