Recently, my friend asked me a question: “Eli, how do you choose the best hostel when travelling?”
I happily answered it based on my experience, to what she then said something that got me thinking..
“This is exactly what you should write about. Stuff that seems so easy for you because you’ve experienced it so many times already. Things you might be unknowingly taking for granted now because they seem so obvious to you. But probably so many people are looking for these answers! ”
Woah. She had a point.
Thinking about it now.. this was literally me, a few years back. Searching online, depending on uncle google to give me the answer to which hostels are best.. I didn’t have a clue where to start.
So, this is exactly what I decided to write about.
Many of my favourite hostels were recommended to me, which was usually a few days before heading to a new destination. Therefore, definitely listen to those recommendations too!
But when that’s not the case wasn’t the case, here is exactly what I do – a step by step guide to:
How to Choose the Best Hostel
Ask yourself whether you want peace & quiet or something more social? Or a bit of both?
This is usually the first question I ask myself. Depending on how I’m feeling, where I am and what stage in life I’m at (literally), I tend to answer it differently depending on those things.
At the beginning of my solo travel, it was extremely important to me to meet people who I can explore the new destinations with. I wasn’t used to being ‘on my own’, especially when it comes to a foreign country.
In my opinion (and not only I’m sure) hostels are the best way to meet people. Or one of the best ways anyway. Personally, they’re my favourite way to meet people in an unknown place.
After a while however, I started to crave for a bit of peace and quiet. Somewhere where I could read a book, work on my blog or meditate with no distractions. So that’s what I went for that time.
With the number of hostels around the world, pretty much no matter what you wish for – it’s most likely going to be there, especially when it comes to popular destinations. So, go crazy.
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This is just the first result I got when searching | Credit: Google
Research the areas – on Google maps and Google in general
Looking into the different areas in the city you’re planning to stay at will narrow your search down by quite a bit. You might want to swap Step 2 with Step 3 if you wish, depending on what’s more important to you.
Personally, I tend to type in google something along the lines of ‘best areas to stay in hong kong’ – of course depending on how popular the place is, it varies on the results. Most of the time though, you’ll get a pretty decent idea of the different possibilities for budget-friendly or more of a ‘splash the cash’ kinda thing.
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This is what came up when searching: Hostels in Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong on Google
Use HostelWorld or Google to search for different hostels
Option 1: By typing in something as simple as ‘hostels in Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong’ – you’ll get a huge variety of options. My favourite way to do it is to look at the map with the available hostels displayed.
Option 2: Another good option is to go on HostelWorld for example and type in the location if you can – the search window often tends to be a bit funny by not letting you type in the exact area. If that’s the case, type in the city and zoom into the specific area you want to explore.
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Look at the Reviews and Specific Ratings such as Value For Money or Atmosphere.
This is when things get real. The ratings of all the different options are usually what narrows my search down to the final hostel. This and reading the reviews helps a lot as it makes it so easy to find out which hostel is social, clean or near the centre for example.
By asking yourself the first question in Step 1, you should have a pretty clear idea of what you’re looking for and this should make it super easy 🙂
So for example.. let’s say I’d like a very social hostel, in a good location..
Above are screenshots of two different hostels. As the atmosphere and location are very important, those are the areas I’m looking at the most, of course still taking into considerations the cleanliness and other things.
Hostel 1 has an overall great score but the location is what puts it down, there are also some reviews that clearly state that as a downside. Hostel number two again, has a great score overall, including the location. The reviews also talk about how great both the atmosphere and location are.
This is usually what finalises my search. The reviews are definitely my most trusted way when it comes to the question of How to Choose the Best Hostel when Travelling.
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One more thing..
Choosing a room
This is another important point and something to take into consideration when booking a hostel. And again, the first question comes, whether you want peace and quiet or meet people.
Whenever I felt social (pretty much most of my travels) I always went for a big dorm, often an 8-bed and usually it would be a mixed one. Mixed dorm means that both females and males can stay there.
I’ve met many girls who prefer female only dorms, so whatever floats your boat! 🙂 That wasn’t usually the case with me as I preferred a mixture. I also never had any problems or awkward situations.
Big dorm means more people to talk to, small dorm or a single bedroom, of course, means more privacy. Mostly the people I met in hostels were in the dorms, as I just found it easier to chat to people there rather than going up to someone in the common area etc. But it usually just works out either way!
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So here you go! I hope this can help you when choosing the place to stay. I also hope it can make it at least a little bit less frightening! 🙂
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Ps. Did you know that the whole time I was in Taiwan, I lived in a hostel? Here’s some of my Taipei Family <3