Finding the right hostel for a price you can afford can definitely be one of the hardest parts of traveling as a member of Generation-Y. When you are on an extreme budget, landing a place that costs a reasonable amount and that you aren’t creeped out when staying there is like playing a difficult game of poker. You don’t want to have to sacrifice comfort and safety for the amount you can pay.
Some of my friends and I decided to head to Rome for a Rolling Stones concert this summer (you can read about that adventure here) and we had to find a place that we felt comfortable with without cutting off an arm and a leg. In this case, we ended up getting what we paid for—the hostel was clean, but the staff was terrible, and they ended up charging us more than what was promised. We learned a few lessons about booking hostels after that experience.
Read the reviews online.
You’ll want to use sites like Hostelworld.com or Hostels.com when looking at places. Though it’s a good idea to check out a potential hostel’s website, as well, reading the reviewers from former guests can be one of the best ways to get an idea of whether or not you should stay there. The more reviews, the better idea you will get about whether you should book that room.
If you are positive you are going to make it on your trip and you absolutely know you will be there, paying beforehand can save you some unnecessary charges that they might not have listed on the website or hostel websites. If money is your top priority, you can save yourself some extraneous costs by budgeting before you arrive. If this isn’t possible, feel free to ask some questions about any charges that the hostel might bring up that you were unaware of. We had our hostel in Rome charge us a “hotel tax” and we paid—not knowing that hostels were exempt from this tax and the owner just wanted to pocket an extra two euro.
Word of mouth.
No doubt, the best way to find a hostel is to ask someone who has been to your future destination where they would recommend staying. Knowing someone who has had firsthand experience can direct you to the right establishments. They can also give you an idea of what is a reasonable amount of money to spend when you are visiting that particular location.
Have any tips for finding the perfect hostel? Do you have any you would recommend?
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