Booking and Finding a Hostel / Maddy is trying to start writing again

I miss travelling so much so this is (hopefully) going to become my outlet so I don’t go crazy.

Since my trip I’ve had a few people asking me questions about travelling! Which I love and encourage if you havea  question I’ll of course do my best to answer it. And I’m going to talk about my tips on one of the things I’ve been asked about in this post but I am going to say before I write this whole thing that all of this is my own experiance and my advice and I know plenty of other people have more experiance with this stuff. This is just what I’ve learned and what I want to share with anyone who wants my advice. I hope to write more of these too so if you have anything you want to hear about please let me know!

My topic for the first of this series (Or whatever it is) is about hostels. I was asked what I look for when I’d book one. So this is my advice. And I’m going kinda in depth here so… here I go.

http://generatorhostels.com/en/destinations/venice/ This photo isn't mine! It's from the website of the Generator hostel in Venice! I repeat not my picture
http://generatorhostels.com/en/destinations/venice/
This photo isn’t mine! It’s from the website of the Generator hostel in Venice! I repeat not my picture. Also this is one of my favorite hostels I stayed at. Super nice and the beds were comfortable! The photo above is from their website as well. 

WHAT I LOOK FOR

First off I booked all of my hostels through http://hostelworld.com/  which is super easy to use and I highly reccomend it. Their app is great too. Every time I booked a hostel I’d pay an extra Euro so that if I had to change my plans I could get my deposit back, which something like 15% of the total cost so usually about 15 Euros for me and if I didn’t pay that extra euro and my plans changed I’d have lost that money. Usually it has to be within 48 hours or something like that but it usually worked out.

When I’d look at hostels just for me I’d look at a few things in the reviews. First I’d narrow down my price to whatever I was willing to pay and sorted them from highest rated. Simple makes sense. Right?

Then I’d click on the ones that looked nicest to me. Generally I’d go by appearance here. I’d look at their facilities. Do they have anything special? Do they have a kitchen and a lounge? Air Conditioning and Wifi were almost always a necessity for me. They were usually my only requirements.

Then I’d look at the reviews. I ignore a few things in the little ratings breakdown. Staff, Cleanliness, Atmospehere. They seem like important things! I know. But this the advice someone at one of Rick Steve’s seminars about hostels gave me. The people that are reviewing these hostels might be used to 5 star hotels or they might be used to camping. So really the cleanliness isn’t that important. That being said if the hostel has a really low rating on that look at the reviews to see the exact problems. With Staff you don’t know if one guy had a bad day or if the guy even still works there. So don’t worry too much. Mostly they’re young people who just want to show you a city you like. There may be a rotten egg or two but they’re probably having a bad day. And atmosphere I just ignore unless I’m somewhere where I’m looking for something in particular. You never know what the people rating them were looking for. Genereally speaking i do look at the Location, Value for money, security, and facilities ratings but I hold them with a grain of sand until I’ve read what real people have written.

When I look at the actual reviews I only look at 2 things. I sort them first from newest to oldest. See what people who were there the other day say. Then I look at worst to best. Sometimes because they’re hilarious, and they are, but also because sometimes they will say something like “Everything here was amazing except that I saw a roach and the internet never worked” and if those are the two things I’m concerned about they’re good to know. One thing though. ALWAYS look at the dates on reviews. The guy who went to the free breakfast and it wasn’t free at all and there wasn’t any food… that might’ve been 5 years ago on the off season. Another good idea is to look at their social media to see what people have posted from there or about them you can easily get a good vibe about the people there or at least the area around the hostel.

When it comes to price I’m someone who is willing to pay an extra 5-10$/Euros a night in order to get a slightly nicer accomidation. I never splurged and got a private room because I was alone, however I did stay in 2 hotels, one because after a month I needed a night alone and the other because I was sick and had an awful day and I have the best moms in the world. I don’t really think the number of beds in a room matters that much. Yes you’re more likely to get woken up by strangers in the middle of the night but in a smaller room you’ve got a pretty good chance of that happening anyways. I stayed in rooms ranging from 4-16 beds and I think the only times I really got woken up were in 8 bed rooms. When it comes to single gender or mixed dorms I prefered the mixed dorms. This is all personal preferance of course but for me it just didn’t matter and generally an all female dorm is a few Euros more or the same price and I just never minded that much. Was I ever the only girl? Yes. Did I care? No. Did I feel safe? Yes. And if you’re put in a room where you feel unsafe tell the people that work in the hostel! They will help you to the best of their abilities!!!

Quick run down

  1. Look online
  2. check out reviews
  3. pick a hostel that you like!

My last bits of advice:

  • No one is to old to stay at a hostel. Anyone can. I mean that.
  • If you want to party and the hostel online is decribed as chill, quiet, or laid back maybe look somewhere else
  • If you don’t want to party and they advertise booze, clubbing and general debauchery maybe look for the chill place?
  • And look until you find somewhere you like.
  • oh and it always is a good idea to look at the hostel on a map before you book it and before you arrive/on your way there

I want to post more on here about this and general life stuff. If you want to know about anything please contact me!

Still working on getting pictures up! I’m awful about it I know.

Maddy

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