Your Guide for a Complete Hostel Experience

This article provides a complete guide to have the best hostel experience.

The term “hostel” may not always evoke excitement, but it truly deserves to!

What exactly is a hostel, and what’s the experience like? Hostels provide affordable accommodation for travelers. Many hostels are well-maintained, offering individual rooms and unique opportunities to enhance your trip through social interactions. In the current era of travel and technology, where Airbnb has gained popularity, hostels often don’t receive the credit they deserve.

For instance, I managed to explore Southeast Asia on a budget of approximately $3 per night, thanks to hostels. No prior bookings were necessary – I simply arrived with a guidebook and a friendly demeanor. While it might not be as straightforward in certain countries, hostels in some places resemble hotels (at a fraction of the cost).

Finding the Ideal Hostel

Although not every hostel experience is a 5-star one, positive experiences tend to outnumber the negatives. The key to discovering the right hostel abroad lies in research. The following websites offer reviews and comparisons of amenities like free WiFi and breakfast

Hostelworld: Widely known and comprehensive, Hostelworld is an excellent starting point for seeking the perfect hostel. You can filter searches by neighborhood, explore house rules, and get details about upcoming events. The site covers everything you need to know about your prospective stay.

Hostelz: This site is a versatile tool for hostel travelers, offering smart and easy price comparisons across various booking platforms. It includes hostels not listed on other platforms and provides reviews and information about different types of hostels.

Hostelgeeks: Featuring detailed reviews of some of the world’s most impressive hostels, Hostelgeeks is a great resource. It also offers comprehensive city guides and top hostel recommendations for each destination. Though more renowned for general travel bookings, is also useful for hostel searches and even provides cashback benefits.

Hostelworks: Offering opportunities to exchange work for free accommodation in highly-rated hostels worldwide. This arrangement allows travelers to save money while immersing themselves in local culture.

How to Book a Hostel

Hostels can be booked in various ways, including online in advance or in-person upon arrival.

Online Booking: If you prefer planning ahead, booking online is ideal. This method reduces travel stress and usually requires a partial payment to secure your reservation. Most sites offer free cancellations up to 24 hours before arrival.

Country Booking: If you’re more spontaneous, booking in-country offers flexibility. You might have limited room options, but you’re not tied to specific dates. Arriving without reservations might lead to open beds due to cancellations or staff recommendations for nearby hostels.

What to Expect During Your Hostel Stay

During your hostel stay, you can anticipate a sense of community, camaraderie, various travel opportunities, engaging games, delightful food, and plenty of fun! High on my list of the most memorable hostel experiences is my time in Melaka, Malaysia. My friends and I hadn’t made advance reservations; instead, we arrived in the city and sought recommendations from fellow travelers. To our pleasant surprise, we were directed to a distinctive hostel where it was hard to distinguish guests from staff. It’s common for travelers to contribute at the front desk or roles like cleaning and kitchen duties in exchange for free accommodations and meals.

As mentioned earlier, Hostelworks is a platform that can help you discover such work, living, and travel arrangements. These types of hostel experiences foster an incredible sense of belonging and community. Some travelers had been living under this arrangement for months! We were warmly embraced by a diverse community of hostel dwellers hailing from Malaysia, Germany, India, Switzerland, and the US. After introductions and mingling, we all went out for dinner at a local spot frequented by hostel guests. The next day, a few of our new roommates and us even explored the city together! This account is just one among numerous exceptional hostel stays.

How the Travel Landscape has Been Reshaped by Hosteling?

Travel hasn’t always been attainable for young people, women, or those on tight budgets. However, hosteling has significantly eased global exploration for these demographics. Hostels existed before the rise of popular online travel apps and remain a fantastic option for those seeking to embark on journeys without depleting their funds. Furthermore, aside from being an excellent method to travel economically, hostels abroad offer several advantages. These encompass access to dependable, complimentary WiFi, communal meals with free breakfast commonly included, opportunities for mingling with fellow travelers from diverse nations, and the flexibility to manage reservations and stays. Hostels frequently present day-trips and other experiences that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive or challenging to arrange individually. The presence of knowledgeable local guides and seasoned travelers within overseas hostels is an invaluable asset.

Work Exchange

Engaging in a work exchange is a departure from the typical vacation norms. It’s possible that you might not personally know anyone who has engaged in a work exchange before. I, too, underwent a range of emotions and thoughts about embarking on a journey through a work exchange before I took the plunge. On one hand, there was a sense of apprehension about investing my vacation time in collaborative efforts with unfamiliar individuals. Conversely, I was struck by the incredible opportunity to allocate my travel budget judiciously and indulge in authentic experiences.

Looking back, I’m immensely grateful for having cast aside my concerns and embarking on travels through work exchange opportunities. These experiences have proven to be profoundly meaningful and transformative.


We hope the this guide has motivated you to explore alternatives beyond traditional travel and accommodation methods. By supporting hostels, you’re not only backing local communities but also promoting affordable and accessible travel for everyone!