When starting your adventure in a foreign land, it is important to remain within your means. For a backpacker, it is important to plan out everything ahead due to a shortage of funds and a high desire to travel and explore. An essential element is to arrange a good place to stay if you want to discover the surrounding areas. A good hostel to find can be difficult; especially one that meets your financial needs, has a good location and is also livable. Often time’s people have come across hostels that are in a broken condition, but because of the people living there, they had the time of their lives! Be aware of the myths that go around in backpacker environments. Don’t let them scare or influence you too much, better to follow your intuition and do your research online before you leave on your backpacking trip.
I learned most about how to find a good backpacker hostel when I was living abroad for 6 months in Sri Lanka. In the weekends and during the holidays, I stayed at many different hostels in several countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India. The years before and the year after I resided at even more hostels in Europe. So that’s why I decided to write this quick guide for you.
There are a few steps that you, as a backpacker, can take to find the best hostel in whichever place you are traveling to.
Table of contents
- Cheap is not better but might be good enough
- A good backpacker hostel and its location
- Get to know about security
- Free (and viable) Wifi internet
- Free breakfast?
- Humane check out
- Fancy a beer now and then? A bar is what you need.
- Your type of stay
- Conclusion: How to find a hostel that's perfect for you?
Cheap is not better but might be good enough
The question of how to find the best backpacker hostel can be answered by first understanding that a cheap backpacker hostel is most likely not always the better option for everybody. Don’t aim to save a buck or two if you need a lot of comforts, as super cheap hostels have uncomfortable beds, dirty washrooms and are generally unclean.
But for some other people that don’t need that much of luxury, less comfortable stays might be good enough. It all depends on your standards and budget. Why not spend a cheap night or 2 in a cheap place, and spend more money on good food or some nice sightseeing on your backpacker trip abroad?
A good backpacker hostel and its location
The next most important thing to consider when you are looking for a good hostel is the location in the region. The hostel should be at the heart of the place that you desire to explore. If it is far from the main sites of attraction, it can create major hassles in your travel and add to the commute costs as well. Another thing to keep in mind is the amenities which is better if it is close by.
Activities in the area
A good backpacker hostel will help you really well with informing you about activities in the area. Even better, some hostels also arrange great activities in area like sightseeing trips, walking tours, bar-to-bar strolls and other fun stuff. Activities are a great way to get to know other backpackers on the road.
Get to know about security
The security of the hostel is another element that should be a part of the list. Not every country has a high level of security hence, it is essential that the hostels have adopted some measures to keep its travelers safe.
Keep your important belongings safe in lockers
Often hostels have lockers to keep your belongings secure and it is a good idea to opt for such a hostel. tip: Bring a small brass lock with you in your backpack (for the lockers in the hostels. Some hostels also sell brass locks, but not all of them do.
Free (and viable) Wifi internet
Not every backpacker needs a good wifi connection on his/her backpacking trip. But come on, this is 2017… Some people might find a good wifi internet connection really useful. Think about social media, uploading holiday pictures, chatting to relatives and looking up nice places to go to. In Europe, roaming costs are over now though, so 3g/4g can be used everywhere, which is very convenient.
It might be interesting to search the internet for things to know or use Google maps for where you want to go when you are hanging around in your backpacker hostel. So keep in mind that a free a viable wifi internet connection can be very useful in some situations.
Yes, some hostels offer free breakfast, tea and/or coffee in the package. It can be an insanely convenient thing to have that opportunity. Else you might be looking for hours just to find a good place to have your first food of the day. It can also help you save a buck or two on your backpacking trip.
Some toast, an egg and a good cup of tea or coffee, first thing in the morning, can make a big difference. I always smile when the hostel I stay in offers a free breakfast in the standard package.
Humane check out
Always get to know about the checkout time of a hostel in advance. You might want to choose for a hostel with a late check out. Getting up too early is not always a comfortable thing to do. Especially not when you stayed up for too long in the night. A late check out, might feel more humane when you have planned a full day of activities or traveling after leaving your hostel.
Fancy a beer now and then? A bar is what you need.
A good backpacker hostel is a backpacker hostel with a bar, or at least a good common area where you can consume a fresh pint of beer in peace. This might depend on your preferences towards the golden goodness. But a hostel with a bar, can make a difference in some situations. When I was staying in hostels with not much to do around in
When I was staying in hostels with not much to do around in area, a bar in the evening meant a great resort for card games, good talks and quite a lot of fun. So for me, a bar can make the deal complete of a good backpacker hostel.
Your type of stay
The type of hostel you select depends on your type of personality. Many hostels are filled with people who party 24/7, while others are family-oriented ones. You should take into account your personality and the company you want and then select the hostel for your backpacking trip.
One of the things in a good hostel is the overall character of the place, the feel that you get once you step into the place. The atmosphere plays a huge role in contributing to your mood. If the hostel has a gloomy or dead feeling to it, it will ruin the entire trip for you. Hence, apart from the safety, cleanliness, size, and company, an imperative thing is how you feel once you step into that place after a long day out.
Conclusion: How to find a hostel that’s perfect for you?
To find a good backpacker hostel, you must keep in mind each and every element in order to ensure that your backpacking trip is safe and fun. Many people have claimed to have found good friends in their hostels only, and with the right contacts, you might be able to explore the areas that were not even a part of your list, adding more excitement to your traveling!
Always do some research on the internet about accommodation options in the regions, look on tripadvisor.com for good reviews and on booking.com for superb deals. It might be a good idea to book a good hostel in advance when you are unsure about where you are going to stay the first night when you arrive at your backpacking destination. Also do check hostel reviews and other accomodation guides.