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How To Get Rooms At A Hostel


by Birgit Dowd



Finding affordable accommodations while traveling is always a top priority for budget-conscious travelers. Hostels, with their shared dormitory-style rooms and communal facilities, provide an excellent option for those looking to save money and connect with fellow travelers. However, booking a room at a hostel can be a bit different compared to traditional hotels. With a bit of research and planning, you can secure a comfortable and enjoyable stay at a hostel.


In this article, we will explore the process of getting rooms at a hostel, from researching different options to making a reservation and arriving at the hostel. We will provide tips and insights to help you navigate the world of hostels and make informed decisions that suit your travel needs.


Whether you’re a first-time hostel traveler or a seasoned backpacker, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and techniques to make the most out of your hostel experience. So, let’s dive in and start planning your budget-friendly accommodation!


Researching Hostels

When it comes to finding the perfect hostel for your trip, conducting thorough research is essential. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you choose the right hostel:

  1. Start by identifying the destination and travel dates: Before you begin your search, determine the location you plan to visit and the dates of your stay. This will help narrow down your options and give you a clearer focus.
  2. Utilize online resources: There are numerous websites and apps dedicated to helping travelers find and book hostels. Take advantage of platforms such as Hostelworld, Booking.com, or HostelBookers, which provide extensive lists of hostels around the world, complete with reviews, photos, and ratings.
  3. Read reviews and ratings: Hostel reviews can offer valuable insights from fellow travelers who have stayed at the property. Pay attention to comments about cleanliness, staff friendliness, atmosphere, and security. Look for hostels with overall positive ratings and specific features that align with your preferences.
  4. Consider the location: The location of the hostel can greatly impact your travel experience. Choose a hostel situated in a safe area, near public transportation, and within proximity to attractions or amenities you plan to visit. Check if the neighborhood is vibrant or quiet, depending on your preference.
  5. Explore the hostel’s website: Once you have shortlisted some hostels, visit their official websites to get more detailed information. Check out the room types available, common areas, amenities, and any special offerings. Look for important details like lockers for securing personal belongings, Wi-Fi availability, and kitchen facilities.
  6. Consider the atmosphere: Hostels come in a variety of styles, from party-focused to relaxed and laid-back. Consider the kind of atmosphere you prefer and choose a hostel that aligns with your travel goals. Some hostels cater to specific groups, such as solo travelers or digital nomads, so keep an eye out for those options if they resonate with you.

By conducting thorough research, reading reviews, and considering factors such as location and atmosphere, you can narrow down your options and choose the hostel that best suits your needs and preferences. This will ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay throughout your trip.


Booking Directly with the Hostel

While online travel platforms are convenient for searching and comparing hostels, booking directly with the hostel can have its advantages. Here are a few reasons why booking directly with the hostel may benefit you:

  1. Best rates and deals: In some cases, hostels may offer special discounts or deals for those booking directly through their website or contacting them directly. By cutting out the middleman, you might be able to secure better rates or exclusive promotions.
  2. Flexible reservation terms: When you book directly with the hostel, you have the opportunity to discuss any specific requirements or special requests you may have. This could include preferences for a particular room type or requests for early check-in or late check-out.
  3. Direct communication with the hostel staff: Booking directly allows you to establish direct communication with the hostel staff. This can be advantageous if you have any questions, need additional information, or require assistance during your stay. The staff will be able to provide you with personalized recommendations and insights about the hostel and the local area.
  4. Supporting small businesses: By booking directly with the hostel, you are supporting local businesses and the hostel industry as a whole. This can have a positive impact on the local economy and contribute to the sustainability of hostels in your chosen destination.
  5. Greater flexibility for reservation changes: Booking directly with the hostel may give you more flexibility to modify or cancel your reservation, compared to booking through third-party platforms. Hostels are often more willing to accommodate changes if you have booked directly with them.

When booking directly with the hostel, be sure to provide accurate and detailed information, such as your arrival time and any special requirements you may have. Keep confirmation emails or receipts as proof of your booking to avoid any misunderstandings upon arrival.


While booking directly with the hostel has its benefits, it’s always a good idea to compare prices and options on online travel platforms before making a final decision. This way, you can ensure that you are getting the best deal and make an informed choice.


Using Online Travel Websites

If you prefer the convenience of online booking and want to explore a wide range of hostels, using online travel websites can be a great option. Here’s why:

  1. Extensive options: Online travel websites like Hostelworld, Booking.com, and HostelBookers offer a vast selection of hostels worldwide. These platforms allow you to filter your search based on criteria such as location, price range, amenities, and ratings, making it easier to find a hostel that suits your needs and preferences.
  2. Transparent reviews and ratings: One of the main advantages of using online travel websites is accessing a wealth of reviews and ratings from previous guests. They provide insights and honest feedback about the hostel’s cleanliness, staff friendliness, atmosphere, and overall experience. Take the time to read through reviews to get a clearer understanding of what to expect.
  3. Secure booking process: Online travel websites usually provide a secure booking process, ensuring that your personal and payment information is protected. You can easily compare prices, room availability, and book your chosen hostel directly through the platform.
  4. Convenient booking management: Online travel websites often have user-friendly interfaces that allow you to manage your bookings easily. From making changes to your reservation to viewing your booking details, it’s all just a few clicks away. Some platforms also offer mobile apps, providing even greater convenience while on the go.
  5. Customer support: If you encounter any issues with your booking or have questions, online travel websites typically have customer support services to assist you. You can reach out to their support team via email, phone, or live chat for any inquiries or concerns you may have.

Keep in mind that booking through online travel websites may come with some commission fees or additional charges. It’s important to carefully read the booking terms and conditions to understand the payment and cancellation policies associated with your reservation.


Remember to compare prices and read reviews across different platforms, as some hostels may be listed exclusively on certain websites. This will help you make an informed decision and secure the best possible deal for your chosen hostel.


Evaluating Hostel Reviews

When researching and comparing hostels, reading reviews from previous guests is an essential step. However, it’s important to evaluate these reviews critically to make informed decisions. Here are some tips for evaluating hostel reviews:

  1. Consider the overall rating: Pay attention to the overall rating of the hostel. Hostels with higher ratings tend to provide a better experience, but be cautious of a few negative reviews that may not accurately represent the majority opinion. Look for hostels with a large number of reviews to get a more reliable assessment.
  2. Read a mix of positive and negative reviews: While positive reviews can give you an idea of what to expect, negative reviews can provide valuable insights into potential drawbacks or issues with the hostel. Look for common themes in both positive and negative reviews to gauge consistency.
  3. Look for recent reviews: Hostels can undergo changes over time, so it’s helpful to consider recent reviews rather than solely relying on older ones. Recent reviews can give you a better sense of the current state and atmosphere of the hostel.
  4. Consider the reviewer’s perspective: Keep in mind that everyone’s preferences and expectations can differ. Consider the reviewer’s background, travel style, and specific needs to determine if their review resonates with your own preferences.
  5. Look for specific details: Pay attention to reviews that provide specific details about the hostel. This can include cleanliness, staff behavior, amenities, security measures, and the overall atmosphere. Specific information can help you get a clearer picture of what to expect during your stay.
  6. Beware of fake or overly positive reviews: While rare, some hostels or individuals may post fake or overly positive reviews to boost their ratings. Look for reviews that provide balanced feedback and avoid those that appear too general or overly promotional in nature. Trust your gut instinct when evaluating reviews.

Remember that personal preferences and expectations can vary greatly. What might be important to one traveler may not hold the same weight for another. Take the time to read and evaluate multiple reviews to form a well-rounded understanding of the hostel’s strengths and weaknesses.


Ultimately, trusting your instincts and considering a variety of factors will help you make more informed decisions and choose a hostel that aligns with your needs and expectations.


Considering Location and Facilities

When choosing a hostel, two crucial factors to consider are the location and facilities it offers. Let’s explore how these aspects can impact your hostel experience:




The location of the hostel plays a vital role in your overall travel experience. Here’s why it’s important to consider:

  1. Proximity to attractions and amenities: Consider the distance of the hostel from the main attractions, landmarks, and amenities you plan to visit. Opting for a hostel located in close proximity to these places can save you time and money on transportation.
  2. Safety and security: Research the safety of the neighborhood where the hostel is located. Look for hostels situated in well-lit and safe areas, particularly if you’re traveling solo or arriving late at night. Reading reviews and considering recommendations from trustworthy sources can help you gauge the overall safety of the location.
  3. Accessibility to public transportation: If you plan to rely on public transportation during your trip, choose a hostel located near bus stops, metro stations, or train stations. This will make it easier and more convenient for you to explore the city and reach your desired destinations.
  4. Local vibe and atmosphere: Take into account the character and atmosphere of the neighborhood surrounding the hostel. Do you prefer a lively area with a bustling nightlife, or a quieter and more peaceful atmosphere? Consider your personal preferences and choose a location that aligns with it.



Reviewing the facilities offered by a hostel is essential to ensure a comfortable stay. Here are some facilities to consider:

  1. Common areas: Common areas such as lounges, kitchens, and outdoor spaces can greatly enhance your hostel experience. These areas provide opportunities to socialize, meet other travelers, and relax after a day of exploring.
  2. Internet access: In today’s digital world, having reliable Wi-Fi access is almost a necessity. Check if the hostel offers free Wi-Fi or if it comes at an additional cost.
  3. Lockers and storage options: Hostels usually provide lockers or storage facilities where you can securely store your belongings. Confirm if these facilities are available and whether you need to bring your own lock or if they provide them.
  4. Linen and towels: Find out if the hostel provides clean linen, blankets, and towels or if you need to bring your own. Some hostels might charge extra for these amenities.
  5. Laundry facilities: If you’re on an extended trip, having access to laundry facilities can be a significant convenience. Check if the hostel offers laundry services or has self-service laundry machines.
  6. 24-hour reception: Consider whether the hostel has a 24-hour reception. This can be particularly important if you have a late-night arrival or need assistance during non-standard hours.

When considering both location and facilities, think about your personal preferences, priorities, and the type of experience you want to have during your stay. By carefully assessing these factors, you can choose a hostel that suits your needs, enhances your travel experience, and ensures a comfortable and enjoyable stay.


Choosing the Right Room Type

When booking a room at a hostel, it’s important to consider the various room types available. The choice of room can greatly impact your comfort, privacy, and overall experience. Here are some common room types found in hostels:

  1. Dormitory rooms: Dormitory rooms are the most common and budget-friendly option in hostels. These rooms typically have multiple bunk beds and are shared with other travelers, often of the same gender. Dormitories offer a chance to meet and socialize with fellow travelers, making them ideal for those seeking a vibrant and communal atmosphere.
  2. Private rooms: Private rooms in hostels provide more privacy and are suitable for individuals, couples, or small groups who prefer their own space. Private rooms can range from single or double rooms to larger options, such as triple or quadruple rooms. These rooms usually come with either shared or en-suite bathrooms.
  3. Female-only or male-only rooms: Some hostels offer rooms exclusively for female or male travelers. These rooms provide an extra level of comfort and security for those who prefer to share accommodation only with travelers of the same gender.
  4. Mixed dormitories: Mixed dormitories are shared rooms where both male and female travelers stay together. Some travelers appreciate the added cultural exchange and dynamics that come with sharing a room with people of different genders.
  5. Premium or deluxe rooms: In addition to standard dormitories and private rooms, some hostels offer premium or deluxe room options. These rooms often have extra amenities, such as larger beds, en-suite bathrooms, or additional space, providing a more upscale experience compared to standard rooms.

When deciding on the right room type, consider the following factors:

  1. Privacy needs: Reflect on your preference for privacy. If privacy is important to you, a private room or a smaller dormitory with fewer beds might be more suitable.
  2. Travel companions: If you’re traveling with a partner, friends, or family members, consider whether you want to share a dormitory or opt for a private room where you can all stay together.
  3. Comfort requirements: Assess your comfort requirements in terms of bed size, noise level, and bathroom facilities. Private rooms generally provide more comfort and amenities compared to dormitories.
  4. Budget: Keep in mind that the cost of different room types can vary. Dormitory rooms are typically the most affordable, while private rooms come at a higher price. Consider your budget and weigh it against your desired level of comfort and privacy.

Remember to read the room descriptions and amenities carefully before booking. It’s also a good idea to check the reviews from previous guests who have stayed in the specific room type you are considering.


By carefully evaluating your needs, preferences, and budget, you can choose the right room type that enhances your hostel experience and ensures a comfortable stay.


Checking for Special Offers or Discounts

When booking a room at a hostel, it’s always worth checking for any special offers or discounts that can help you save money. Here are some key ways to find these deals:

  1. Subscribe to hostel newsletters: Many hostels have newsletters that they send out to subscribers. By signing up, you can stay informed about any promotional offers, discounts, or upcoming events. This is a great way to get exclusive deals directly in your inbox.
  2. Follow hostels on social media: Hostels often promote special offers and discounts through their social media channels. Follow the hostels you’re interested in on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to stay up to date with their latest deals. Some hostels even run limited-time flash sales exclusively for their social media followers.
  3. Check the hostel’s website: Visit the official website of the hostel you’re considering to see if they have any ongoing promotions or discounts. Many hostels have dedicated pages or sections on their website that highlight current deals. Make sure to read the terms and conditions for any special offers to ensure they align with your travel plans.
  4. Search for online travel platform promotions: Online travel platforms like Hostelworld, Booking.com, and HostelBookers often feature deals and promotions on various hostels. Use the search filters on these platforms and look for discounted rates, special packages, or value-added offers.
  5. Consider loyalty programs and membership discounts: Some hostels offer loyalty programs or membership discounts for frequent guests or members of certain organizations. Check if the hostel you’re interested in has any such programs and consider joining to avail yourself of discounted rates or exclusive benefits.
  6. Stay during off-peak seasons: Hostels may offer lower rates during off-peak seasons when there is less demand. Consider planning your trip during these periods to take advantage of reduced prices.

By actively seeking out special offers and discounts, you can make your hostel stay even more budget-friendly. However, it’s essential to read the terms and conditions of any promotions carefully. Pay attention to blackout dates, booking restrictions, and cancellation policies to ensure they align with your travel plans.


Remember, finding a good deal is not just about the price but also about the overall value. Consider the amenities, location, and reputation of the hostel alongside any discounted rates to make an informed decision and enjoy a rewarding stay at the best possible price.


Making a Reservation

Once you have chosen the hostel and room type that best suits your needs, it’s time to make a reservation. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a reservation at a hostel:

  1. Visit the hostel’s website or online travel platform: Start by visiting the official website of the hostel or the online travel platform where you found the hostel listing.
  2. Check availability: Enter your desired travel dates and select the room type you wish to book. Make sure to check the availability of rooms for your specific dates.
  3. Review the reservation details: Carefully review the reservation details, including the dates of your stay, room type, and the total cost. Take note of any specific policies, such as cancellation or payment requirements.
  4. Enter your information: Provide accurate information such as your full name, email address, and contact number. Some hostels may also require additional information, such as your passport or ID details.
  5. Review the booking terms and conditions: Read the terms and conditions for your reservation, including any cancellation policies or additional fees. Familiarize yourself with any payment requirements, such as a deposit or full payment in advance.
  6. Choose a payment method: Select your preferred payment method. Most hostels accept credit/debit cards, but some may also offer alternative payment options. Ensure that the payment method you choose is secure and reliable.
  7. Complete the reservation: Once you have reviewed all the details, and you are satisfied with the terms and conditions, proceed to confirm your reservation. You may receive a confirmation email or booking reference number after the reservation is successfully processed.

It’s important to keep a record of your reservation confirmation, either in print or electronically, as proof of your booking. This will be useful in case of any issues or misunderstandings upon your arrival at the hostel.


If you encounter any difficulties while making a reservation or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the hostel directly. They will be able to provide assistance and clarify any concerns you may have.


Now that you have successfully made a reservation, it’s time to look forward to your stay and start planning the rest of your trip!


Communicating with the Hostel

Effective communication with the hostel staff can greatly enhance your stay and ensure a smooth experience. Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with the hostel:

  1. Before your arrival: If you have any specific requests or questions prior to your arrival, it’s a good idea to reach out to the hostel in advance. This can be done through email or their preferred contact method. Inquire about check-in procedures, luggage storage options, transportation recommendations, or any other concerns you may have.
  2. Provide your estimated arrival time: Hostels often have specific check-in hours or require advance notice for late arrivals. It’s important to inform the hostel of your estimated arrival time so they can be prepared to welcome you. If your plans change or there are unexpected delays, make sure to keep the hostel informed about any changes.
  3. Ask for local recommendations: Hostel staff members are usually locals or long-term residents of the area. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations for things to do, places to eat, and hidden gems that you might not find in guidebooks. Don’t hesitate to ask for their recommendations to make the most out of your stay.
  4. Address concerns promptly: If you encounter any issues or have concerns during your stay, it’s important to communicate them to the hostel staff as soon as possible. Whether it’s about noisy roommates, cleanliness concerns, or any other issues, raising them promptly allows the staff to address the problem and find a solution.
  5. Show appreciation: If you have a positive experience or receive exceptional service from the hostel staff, don’t hesitate to express your appreciation. A simple “thank you” or a kind word can go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere and building rapport with the staff.
  6. Follow hostel rules and guidelines: Hostels usually have specific rules and guidelines in place to ensure a peaceful and comfortable environment for all guests. It’s important to respect and adhere to these rules during your stay. This includes being mindful of noise levels, properly using shared facilities, and respecting the privacy of other guests.

Remember, effective communication is a two-way street. Be courteous, respectful, and patient when interacting with the hostel staff. They are there to assist you and make your stay enjoyable.


By maintaining open lines of communication, seeking their guidance, and addressing any concerns promptly, you can foster a positive relationship with the hostel staff and ensure a pleasant and memorable stay.


Arriving at the Hostel

Once you arrive at the hostel, there are a few key steps to follow to ensure a smooth check-in process and a comfortable start to your stay:

  1. Check the reception hours: Hostels usually have specific reception hours. Make sure you arrive during these hours to ensure a seamless check-in process. If you anticipate arriving outside of reception hours, inform the hostel in advance to make arrangements for a late check-in.
  2. Have your reservation details ready: When you arrive at the hostel, have your reservation details readily available. This could be in the form of a printed confirmation, email on your mobile device, or the booking reference number. Provide this information to the reception staff for a hassle-free check-in.
  3. Complete check-in procedures: At the reception, the staff will guide you through the check-in process. They may need to verify your identification, collect any outstanding payments, and provide you with any necessary information about the hostel’s rules, facilities, and services. Take the time to ask any questions you may have at this point.
  4. Pay attention to security measures: Hostels often have security measures in place to ensure the safety of guests and their belongings. Pay attention to any instructions regarding keycard access, lockers, or securing personal valuables. Familiarize yourself with the hostel’s security procedures to ensure your peace of mind during your stay.
  5. Ask for a hostel map and recommendations: Upon check-in, ask the hostel staff for a map of the local area. They can provide valuable information about nearby attractions, public transportation options, grocery stores, and restaurants. Take advantage of their local knowledge and recommendations to make the most of your time in the destination.
  6. Take note of important details: Pay attention to any important details provided during check-in, such as breakfast timings, checkout procedures, Wi-Fi access codes, or any specific hostel rules and guidelines. Being aware of these details will help you have a smoother experience throughout your stay.

Keep in mind that each hostel may have specific check-in procedures and policies, so it’s important to follow their instructions and guidelines. If you have any concerns or questions during the check-in process, don’t hesitate to ask the reception staff for clarification or assistance.


Once you have completed the check-in process, you can start settling into your room, familiarize yourself with the hostel’s facilities, and embark on your exciting adventure in a new city.


Settling In and Enjoying Your Stay

After a smooth check-in, it’s time to settle in and make the most of your hostel experience. Here are some tips to help you settle in and fully enjoy your stay:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the hostel layout: Take some time to explore the hostel and familiarize yourself with its layout. Locate common areas, communal kitchens, bathrooms, and any other facilities that may be available. This will help you navigate the hostel easily during your stay.
  2. Respect communal spaces and other guests: Hostels are social environments, and it’s important to respect the shared spaces and other guests. Keep noise levels down, particularly during quiet hours. Clean up after yourself in communal areas, and be considerate of other guests’ privacy and personal space.
  3. Connect with fellow travelers: One of the advantages of staying in a hostel is the opportunity to meet and connect with fellow travelers. Take the initiative to strike up conversations in common areas, join hostel activities or events, or participate in group outings. Building connections with other travelers can lead to memorable experiences and even lifelong friendships.
  4. Embrace the hostel’s community atmosphere: Hostels often have a vibrant community atmosphere. Take advantage of this by participating in activities or events organized by the hostel or joining in on group outings. Engaging with the hostel community can enhance your experience and create lasting memories.
  5. Participate in hostel activities or amenities: Many hostels organize activities such as group dinners, city tours, pub crawls, or movie nights. Take advantage of these opportunities to connect with other travelers and experience the local culture. Additionally, make use of amenities such as communal kitchens or common areas to relax, socialize, or prepare your own meals.
  6. Seek advice from hostel staff: The hostel staff are a valuable source of information about the local area. Don’t hesitate to approach them for recommendations on attractions, restaurants, or lesser-known gems worth exploring. They can provide insights and tips that will enrich your travel experience.
  7. Respect the hostel’s policies and guidelines: Adhere to the hostel’s policies and guidelines. This includes respecting quiet hours, following any rules regarding cleanliness or kitchen usage, and being mindful of other guests and staff. By doing so, you contribute to a positive and harmonious environment for everyone.
  8. Take care of your belongings: While hostels take measures to ensure the security of guests, it’s still important to take care of your belongings. Utilize lockers or storage facilities provided by the hostel to securely store your valuables. Always carry important documents with you or use a safety deposit box, if available.
  9. Enjoy the hostel’s unique offerings: Each hostel has its own unique offerings and ambience. Take the time to embrace and enjoy the special features of your chosen hostel. Whether it’s a rooftop terrace, a cozy common area, or themed decorations, soak up the atmosphere and make the most of the hostel’s charm.

Remember, the hostel experience is all about embracing new connections, cultures, and adventures. Stay open-minded, flexible, and ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of hostel travel. By following these tips, you can settle in quickly and create lasting memories during your stay.



Booking a room at a hostel can be a rewarding and budget-friendly option for travelers looking to connect with fellow adventurers and save money on accommodations. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the process of getting rooms at a hostel with ease and confidence.


Start by thoroughly researching different hostels, considering factors such as location, facilities, and atmosphere. Read reviews from previous guests to gain insights and make informed decisions. Explore both direct booking options and online travel platforms to find the best rates and deals. Keep an eye out for special offers or discounts that can further enhance your savings.


Once you have selected a hostel, make your reservation and communicate effectively with the hostel staff. Provide any necessary information, ask questions, and address any concerns to ensure a smooth check-in process and a delightful stay. Upon arrival, familiarize yourself with the hostel’s layout, respect communal spaces and fellow guests, and embrace the social atmosphere by connecting with other travelers.


Make the most of your hostel experience by participating in hostel activities, seeking advice from the staff, and immersing yourself in the unique offerings of your chosen hostel. Settle in, take care of your belongings, and enjoy every moment of your stay.


Remember, the world of hostels is full of opportunities for new connections, cultural experiences, and unforgettable adventures. By utilizing the tips and techniques discussed in this guide, you can make the most out of your hostel stays and create lasting memories in your travels.


So pack your bags, embark on your next journey, and open the doors to a world of budget-friendly and community-centric accommodation at hostels!