A Beginner’s Guide to Hostels

We love hostel! We have stayed in so many all around the world. They are an inexpensive place to stay and make traveling more affordable. They are a place where you can connect with people from all around the world and make new friends. Staying in affordable hotels is key when you are traveling on a budget.

Many travellers are not keen on the idea of staying in hostels. The idea of having to share a dorm with others can be off putting for some. Maybe others have avoided hostels because of the reputation they used to have or one bad experience.

There are so many types of hostels to choose from. We have created this guide to make it a little easier for you to decide what hostel is right for you.


Types Of Hostels

Not all hostels are equal. There are different types of hostels to cater to different travellers needs and demographics.

Budget Hostel

Don’t be put off my the name! Budget hostel does not mean dirty sheets or rodent infestation. A budget hostel is simply a hostel that provides you with a basic bed or room and nothing else. You typically won’t find swimming pools, work space, or breakfast included here.

Budget hostels are a popular choice among long-term travellers and those looking to stretch their cash. They usually have on site cooking facilities to allow you to prepare your own meals.


Party Hostel

Party hostels are for those who enjoy nights out and socialising into the early mornings. If partying is not your thing we recommend you avoid booking a bed at this type of hostel. Most party hostels have an on-site bar, promote drink deals and pub crawls.

These hostels are typically very loud. Drinking and partying is often prioritised over a a good night sleep and cultural experiences.

Flash-Packer Hostel

A recent addition to the world of hostels. Flash-packer hostels provide travellers with a more premium hostel experience. These hostels are not cheap but you could argue you do get value for money.

Compared to the typical budget style hostel, flash-packer hostels usually have pools, breakfast, trendy interior design and cosy common areas. For long term travel these types of hostels are not ideal due to the cost. However for a short trip they are usually cheeper than a hotel but more expensive than a budget hostel.

If you are new to staying in hostels staying at a flash-packers hostel might be a good way to easy into the hostel life.


Hostel Facilities

So when booking hostels there are a few things you will want to first consider.


Majority of hostels will have wifi but is always good to double check just incase. When we travel we do not by sim cards for every country we travel to. Instead we use public wifi. This makes wifi essential when choosing what hostel to book.

If like use you rely on public wifi when traveling have a read through the reviews. You will soon find out if the wifi the hostel provides has good connection.



If you are staying in a shared dorm we highly recommend you book a hostel that have lockers. It is reassuring to know while you are out all day sightseeing your valuables are locked away safe.

It is also a good idea to lock away your valuables such as passport, cash, camera, laptop etc while you are sleeping.


Another high priority for budget travellers. Having a kitchen to prepare your meals can save you a lot of money and is sometimes worth paying a little extra for this facility.

When we traveling Australia for two months we would not book a hostel without cooking facilities due to the high cost of dining out in. However when we backpack South East Asia we don’t look for this facility as it is often cheeper to eat out anyway.

So we recommend if you are planning a trip to Europe, the USA or anywhere with a high cost of living you book a hostel with a kitchen.



If you are planning on traveling for a long period of time you will soon realise the importance of laundry facilities. The cost of doing your laundry can get pretty pricy but hostels with laundry facilities usually offer self service at a much cheeper cost.

A lot of hostels operate a laundry service where you insert coins into the machine. Doing your own laundry will save you so much money compared to paying for a laundrette service.

How to Find the Right Hostel for You?

Once you have decided the type of hostel you would like to stay in and the facilities you require you can begin your search. There are many sites that offer a huge range of hostels such as HostelWorld, Booking.com and Agoda.


Always read the reviews before you book. In particular pay attention to any reviews regarding the cleanliness. If there are one or two negative reviews we would disregard this. However if there are multiple negative review we tend to avoid that place.


Number of Beds

When you are booking your bed in a hostel dorm you will also have to choose the size of the dorm you stay in. Some hostel dorms might only have 4 beds per room others can have up to 30 beds per room. The more people per room the cheaper that bed will be. We usually try book dorms with 4-8 beds per room. The more people staying in the room, the more noisier it may get.

Gender Specific Dorms

Another option you will have when booking your hostel is wether you want to stay in a gender specific dorm or a mixed dorm. We usually book mixed dorms as it means we are in the same room however we have booked gender specific dorms before as it can be cheaper. Solo travellers might prefer to stay in gender specific dorms. Many female travellers feel safer in a female only room.


If you are new to hostels we hope this guide helps you choose the right place to stay. If you are a regular at hostels share your tips and thoughts below.


2 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Hostels

  1. hostels are the lifeline of the backpacker in places like Europe and North America! And you meet so many amazing people. as you get older, sharing a dorm becomes far less attractive. However, many hostels have the opportunity for your own room these days. It obliviously costs more, but has the advantage of not sharing with snoring strangers, or in my case not annoying strangers with my snoring! but you still get the kitchen, laundry, social experience etc! great post!


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