This is probably one of the most important things to look for. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to find that your hostel is a 2 hour trek away in the middle of nowhere. It’s always good to be fairly to be near to all the main hotspots and attractions, partly for convenience but also because you’ll meet so many more people. However, you also want to avoid staying in the ‘dodgy’ area of town.
If you’re travelling on a budget then the price of your accommodation will be a priority. If you go on a popular hostel search site such as www.hostelbookers.com or www.hostelworld.com you can organise your results by price so you can find the cheapest. Obviously, you can’t set your standards too high if you’re going for the cheaper option every time and don’t be surprised if these hostels lack some of the facilities you might be used to (like bed linen). It also depends on where you’re travelling. For example, a cheap hostel in Paris might cost £20 a night for the basics, whereas a hostel in Krakow could cost £5 a night for a nice room with breakfast included.
Keeping your belongings secure when you’re travelling can be tricky at the best of times, so when choosing a hostel it’s a good idea to see if they provide lockers or safety deposit boxes. Don’t forget to take a padlock with you.
You might be surprised to find that not all hostels provide bed linen as standard. For some of the cheaper hostels you may have to pay extra for sheets so it’s something to look out for.
5. Checking in/out times
It’s a good idea to note the checking in and checking out times so you don’t arrive at your hostel only to find there’s no one to let you in. Similarly you don’t want to wake up on the day of your departure to an angry hostel owner prodding you to get out of the bed.
Sometimes it’s good to see what others had to say about your potential hostel so read a few reviews to see if there’s anything you need to watch out for. Obviously reviews aren’t always the most accurate way to judge your accommodation but it can give you a general indication.
Does your hostel have Wi-Fi, organised bar crawls, hairdryers or a hostel bar? It’s a good idea to check what facilities your hostel offers other than just a bed and a bathroom. A hostel bar for example can be a really good way to meet new people.
If you’re a bit of a party animal it’s really worth choosing a hostel with no curfew, for obvious reasons.
It’s highly likely that you’re going to want to shower during your stay so double check to see if towels are available. Although you can always carry a travel towel instead – you can get these from walking/camping shops and they scrunch up into a little bag.
10. City Tax
For some countries you have to pay a city tax on top of your booking price. Usually this isn’t a lot of money – perhaps a couple of euros a night.