In this episode of the Indie Travel Podcast, Craig and Linda Martin share ten things to look for when choosing a hostel from a hostel-booking site.

To listen, hit play below or find episode 62 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:

1. Price. Order the results by price to find the cheapest one in the list easily.

2. Rating. Other people who have stayed in the hostel will have filled in a survey to give an overall rating, given in percentages. Choose a high-rated hostel with a fair price.

3. Atmosphere. The ratings are often broken down into categories such as location, cleanliness and fun. The “fun” rating can give you an idea of atmosphere – a high rating usually means it’ll be a bit rowdier, where a low fun rating tends to indicate a quieter hostel. Staff can really make the atmosphere, so check comments on the site or do a google search for the hostel to see other reviews.

4. Location is REALLY important. Is it near the station or airport or easy to get to? Is there a collection service?

10 things to look for when booking a hostel online on the indie travel podcast
5. Is it an independent hostel or a member of an organisation like HI or YHA? We find independent hostels tend to be better. Also, you might need to be a member of the organisation, or pay an extra charge, if you want to stay at an affiliated hostel.

6. How big are the dorms?
Usually, the smaller the better. Shy away from hostels with 100-bed dorms – you won’t get any sleep if they are full. If they have different-sized dorms, how much extra is a smaller one? Would a private room be worthwhile?

7. Are the dorms segregated or mixed gender? A female-only dorm might be a good option for a solo female traveller, but hostels that keep men and women separate aren’t so great for couples. Make sure they have the choice you want.

8. What extras are included
in the hostel price? Breakfast, wifi, sheets, towel, dinner, station pick-up, a beer on arrival – these are all things we’ve got from some hostels but not others.
9. What facilities does the hostel have? A kitchen is a must on our mental list, but it might also have a book exchange, a bar, or a swimming pool.

10. What isn’t included in the cost? Some hostels charge you for sheets but won’t let you use a sleeping bag, or provide breakfast for an extra cost. Sometimes showers are extra as well.


You know which of these factors are most important to you, so weigh them up against each other to find the best hostel for you. We often book using Hostelbookers.

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Your thoughts on "Hostelling podcast: 10 things to look for when booking a hostel online"

  • Great tips Linda and Graig! If someone like to read some more tips. I set up: Seven tips for travelers staying in hostels.

    on June 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm Reply
  • Great suggestions. I think first and foremost its important to know yourself before you start booking away. Know what kind of traveler you are, what kind of ammenities you can or can't do with out, what atmoshpere you can sleep in...geez, do you even plan on sleeping all that much? Choosing a hostel is alot like choosing a friend, you really have to know what you look for in a friend before you get a good one.

    on June 27, 2008 at 8:02 pm Reply
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I just disagree with the second tip. These rating are not always reliable...

    on February 4, 2009 at 5:21 am Reply
  • […] back in 2008 we recorded a podcast called Ten things to look for when booking a hostel online. Things have changed for us — we no longer stay in hostel dorms, for one thing — but we still […]

    on June 29, 2016 at 7:48 pm Reply

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