Things to know before booking a hostel

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Let’s be honest, we would give up our jobs right now and travel the world for years on end if we could – but unfortunately, our bank account would have an emotional breakdown and cry for the rest of its short life. Yep, traveling costs money, which means that your dream of flying from one country to the next just isn’t viable. Everything from the flights, to the insurance, to the accommodation, to the food and the travel within each destination will set you back a fair few dollars, so it’s not even worth thinking about, right? Well, you shouldn’t write it off completely. Although many people often have negative thoughts on staying in hostels, they are one of the cheapest ways to travel the world on a budget. However, you should probably know these things before booking a hostel…

You need to do your own location research

Most major cities and tourist destinations are overrun with hostels – which means that they are all in competition with each other. Unfortunately for lowly travelers, the people who run these hostels know exactly what their potential customers would want from a hostel, which is why they often advertise themselves as ‘centrally located’ or ‘just a five-minute walk to the metro.’ However, these guys will say anything for a sale, so it’s important to do your own location research. Using Google Maps to locate where the hostel in relation to the areas you want to visit, make sure you know what you’re booking.

Always keep your safety in mind

Sadly, you can never guarantee the safety of your belongings when you travel. That’s just the way it is. Every time you leave your suitcase in an airport or in a hostel (or even a hotel) you never know what is going to happen – but you can do your best to ensure your possessions are kept safe. Make sure that you book your hostel in a safe neighborhood, and ensure that you take numerous combinations padlocks with you on your travels. Just to be sure, it’s also a good idea to label your luggage with your name, address and contact number just in case. For your own benefit, take a picture of your suitcase or backpack before you leave to show the relevant officials if your stuff is stolen.

Make sure you’re up to date on the check-in and check-out times

A hostel is not like a 5* hotel – and many do not have 24-hour concierges or even receptionists. Because of this, it’s important to ensure that you are aware of the hostel’s check-in and check-out times, because they may not agree with your itinerary. If you know your overnight train will be arriving in the early hours of the morning, it would be an idea to contact the hostel before you go to see if they will be able to make arrangements to check you in. The same goes for the check-out times.

Each hostel is different

One of the best things about hostels is that each one is different, and they each have their own vibe. Most hostels around the world try to offer their own social scene for their visitors, and may often house their own bar or games rooms to accommodate their guests. By looking at their website, you’ll be able to get a feel for their vibe. If they are a buzzing hub of drinking and DJ’s, the introverted travelers may want to steer clear. If they are in the middle of nowhere that features just one communal kitchen, the travelers looking for a good time may want to choose somewhere else.

Hotels are one of the cheapest ways to travel the world – but you need to know how to choose the right one!

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