How to Book a Hostel

Finding good hostels to book at can sometimes be tricky. For those who don’t know, a hostel is a shared room accommodation laid out in a “dorm” style with bunk beds and shared washrooms/showers. They’re typically used by backpackers, youth, students or travellers on a budget. Personally, we are huge fans of staying in hostels. Not only are they cheap but they really enhance your travel experience. It’s a great way for you to meet like-minded people to share your travel experiences and tips with.  

Before traveling, we weren’t really sure what to expect when staying in a hostel and were kind of freaked about by some of the stories we had heard. So here, we’ve put together a complete guide to booking hostels along with what to bring so that you can have the best experience.

1. What kind of traveller are you?

This is probably one of the first things you’ll want to ask yourself before booking a hostel, since there’s going to be so many to chose from. Typically, hostels are known for having a party environment but if that isn’t really your thing there are definitely more chill hostels out there that you choose from.

2. Do your research before booking

When booking hostels our favourite places to look is, the layout of their sites makes it super easy to navigate and book.

One of the best things about staying in hostels is that they are so budget-friendly and if you do your research you’ll be able to land some amazing places. We’ve stayed in some incredible Hostels like Zostel in Jaipur, India for $6 CAD/night and Onederz in Siem Reap Cambodia which had an awesome rooftop pool for $8 CAD/night – absolutely insane!

  • Ratings:  Start of by rating all the hostels from high to low and only consider those with 7.5 ratings or higher (of course the higher the better)
  • Price: Depending on where you are visiting you can get some amazing deals like the ones we mentioned above. So if a place has a high rating and low price point then that’s a really good sign.
  • Reviews: Remember how we said, it’s important to know what kind of traveller you are? This is where you’ll be able to see why that’s essential. Many hostels have very high ratings because they are known for their party environment or some travellers have lower expectations. So if you’re picky about those type of things, make sure you read a lot of reviews and take a look a pictures to see if that’s the type of place you’ll want to stay at.
  • Beds: Usually the more beds in the room, the cheaper. Personally, we wouldn’t recommend staying in a room with more than 8 people. In our experience, it’s just too crowded and it’s almost impossible to get any sleep.

What to Bring

  • Lock – It is essential to store your important belongings like passports, cash and electronics in the locker that’s provided. When choosing a lock, go for one with a combination and not one that requires a key to avoid any issues of losing it.
  • Flip Flops – Staying in a hostels means you’ll be sharing a washroom and shower with other people so definitely get some flip-flops that are waterproof because there can be a lot of nasty things that you’ll want to avoid stepping in (ugh!)
  • Shower caddy/organizer – Get something  that you easily store your toiletries in and that you can hang while your in the shower. It makes the shared washroom experience so much better!
  • Microfiber Towel – We highly recommend this, they dry super quick and don’t take up a lot of room in your backpack. Also, this will just avoid  having to pay to use one of the hostel’s towels.

Hostel Etiquette

While it isn’t the most popular topic, it has to be said that when you’re staying with others it’s important to be respectful of the people around you. We’re just gonna layout some common sense rules:

  • If you’ve had too much to drink, try not to pass out on someone else’s bed (yes, that happens)
  • If everyone is sleeping don’t turn on all the lights, use your phone light
  •  DO NOT have sex in the room! It’s so gross and uncomfortable for everyone there. Just don’t do it.

And that’s our tips for staying in hostels! What are your thoughts on hostels? Share some of your favourites below!



Need more help planning your trip? Check out these posts:

  1.  Travel Checklist 
  2. How to Save for Travel 


    1. I stayed in several hostels when I was traveling in France as an exchange student. Some were nice, some were sketchy as all get-out… your advice is spot on! DO YOUR RESEARCH! Hostellers tend to be a very friendly sort. Some of my best memories were made there 🙂

      1. The social aspect is one of my favourite parts about staying in Hostels too 🙂

    1. I’ve never stayed in a hostel myself, but my mom has stayed at several here in the United States. Her favorite is the Everglades International Hostel in Florida City, FL. (check it out, She lived there for 8 or 9 months as a volunteer and goes back to visit friends there occasionally. It is a more “family friendly” place than a lot of hostels. The one thing I would recommend is to check for bedbugs. Gross, but with so many people, it can happen.

      Enjoyed reading your blog. Maybe someday I’ll have that experience. 🙂

      1. Florida actually has quite a few hostels: Pirate Haus, old St. Augustine, Key West, Clearwater, Miami, and in Brunswick GA, Hostel in the forest. (Hostel in the Forest is more for free-spirits.)

    1. I have never stayed in a hostel before, but my husband and I have debated it for an upcoming Europe trip. These tips are great!

      1. Definitely do it! You have to experience it at least once and you can find some great places for a more affordable price 🙂

    1. I’ve always been to scared to stay in a hostel! I’ll definitely be utilizing these awesome tips if I ever get brave enough to try one out.


    1. I’ve never stayed in a hostel before because I thought they were all dirty and unsafe. I didn’t realise they had a rating system. Will definitely so some more research in future.

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