- Write detailed instructions for how to get to the hostel from the train station/airport/wherever you’re coming from. Getting lost sucks and some hostels can be tough to find.
- Book hostels ahead of time during the busy season — especially in the summer.
- Bring ear plugs and a sleeping mask. There is bound to be one person who snores super loud when you’re in a room of 12 people. He is probably the same jerk who turns the lights on when returning to the room at 4am. He’ll probably brush his teeth and leave the water running the entire time too. And I bet he hates puppies.
- Renting a towel from a hostel is a lot better than carrying your own stinky wet towel around in your backpack. Not all hostels offer towels for rent, so I suggest buying a special quick drying travel towel
- Check Here: Hostels in Athens, Greece.
- I always like to book hostels that only allow people 18+. Large school groups often rent hostels for school trips. 50 middle schoolers running around isn’t remotely enjoyable. I also like hostels that don’t rent to bachelor/stag parties as these groups often get belligerently drunk.
- Read the hostel’s policies. Some only accept cash, some have a lockout period (usually between 11am-4pm) for cleaning, and some even have a curfew.
- Some hostels charge for linens. I’ve never encountered this but I have had to pay a refundable deposit on sheets.
- I’ve never met a front desk worker who didn’t speak pretty good English.
- Many hostels have pub-crawls and the guides know where to get the cheapest drinks. This is a great way to meet other travelers.
If you want a hostel with a lively social scene, then you’ll want to find one with a bar. The beer prices at hostel bars are usually pretty affordable and sometimes it’s the best deal in town. And drinking in the hostel is safer than wandering the streets drunk after a big night out.
The bars do get a bit noisy, so you might want to book a hostel without a bar if you’re a light sleeper — or don’t enjoy drunk people.
Free WiFi is becoming standard in hostels. Most hostels have computers with internet access, but they usually charge you to use these computers. Some hostels have free computers with free internet and that is really nice. However, free computers can be a little annoying because they’re always occupied with people checking Facebook.
If you’re a long-term traveler, a washing machine is a great luxury. Hand washing your stinky socks (and trust me, your socks will stink) is never fun, so having a machine do all the work is a miracle.
However, most hostels don’t have washing machines so don’t expect this.
The hostel’s location can have a huge impact on your hostel experience. It is much more convenient if you’re located near the sights/bars/clubs/grocery stores/public transportation/McDonald’s.