How to Choose the Perfect Hostel: A Comprehensive Guide

Finding the ideal hostel can make or break your solo travel experience. It’s crucial to select a place that not only fits your budget but also meets your personal preferences and needs.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of recognizing a ‘good’ hostel, and highlight the key features to consider before booking. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, these tips will help you make an informed decision.

1. Research and Analyze Hostel Reviews

When it comes to selecting the perfect hostel for your solo travel adventure, it is crucial to take the time to thoroughly research and analyze the reviews of the hostels you’re considering. Reading through previous guests’ experiences can provide valuable insights into the overall quality and suitability of a hostel. Here are a few key points to keep in mind while evaluating reviews:

  1. Consider Positive and Negative Feedback: Pay attention to both positive and negative reviews. Positive reviews can highlight the strengths and unique features of a hostel, while negative reviews can shed light on potential drawbacks or issues. Take note of any recurring themes or specific concerns mentioned by multiple guests.
  2. Evaluate Deal-Breakers: While reading reviews, it’s essential to evaluate whether the issues mentioned are deal-breakers for you personally. What might bother one traveler may not be an issue for another. Each person has different preferences and priorities, so it’s essential to filter the feedback through your own lens of what is important to you.
  3. Keep an Open Mind: Remember that each individual’s experience is subjective. While reading reviews, it’s important to approach them with an open mind. Some guests may have experienced isolated incidents or may have different expectations compared to your own. Consider the overall sentiment and the consensus among the majority of reviewers.
  4. Look for Specific Details: Pay attention to the specific details mentioned in the reviews. Look for comments about the cleanliness of the hostel, the quality of the facilities, the helpfulness of the staff, and the overall atmosphere. Specific details can provide a more accurate picture of what you can expect during your stay.
  5. Consider the Source: Take into account the credibility and reliability of the review source. Reviews on trusted platforms like HostelWorld or reputable travel websites are generally more reliable. It’s also worthwhile to read reviews from different sources to get a well-rounded understanding.

By taking the time to thoroughly read and evaluate hostel reviews, you can make a more informed decision about which hostels meet your personal preferences and needs. Remember that reviews are just one piece of the puzzle, and it’s important to consider them alongside other factors such as location, amenities, and pricing.

2. Assess the Dormitory

When browsing through photos of hostels on platforms like HostelWorld or Google reviews, pay close attention to the dormitory. Check the quality of the beds—are they sturdy and comfortable? Is there enough space between each bed or are they crammed together? A spacious and well-maintained room can greatly enhance your stay.

Additionally, ensure that the dormitory provides lockers for securing your belongings and ample power outlets for charging your devices. Clean and hygienic bathrooms are also a vital consideration.

3. Evaluate the Common Areas and Facilities

When searching for a good hostel, it’s important to consider the availability of communal spaces that encourage socialization and relaxation among fellow travelers. These areas serve as the heart of a hostel, providing an opportunity to connect with people from different cultures, exchange stories, and forge lasting friendships. A dedicated common area is a key feature to look for, as it creates a welcoming environment where guests can come together.

In a well-designed common area, you may find comfortable seating arrangements that invite conversations, such as cozy couches or communal tables. These spaces often include leisure activities such as board games, books, or musical instruments, fostering an inclusive and lively atmosphere. Hostels that prioritize communal spaces understand the significance of these areas in creating a sense of belonging, enabling travelers to bond over shared experiences and adventures.

For budget-conscious travelers who prefer to cook their meals, a fully-equipped kitchen within the hostel can be a great advantage. In addition to enabling you to save money on dining out, a hostel kitchen allows you to prepare your own meals and experiment with local ingredients. It not only offers a practical solution for sustaining a budget but also adds a culinary dimension to your travel experience. Look for hostels that provide well-maintained kitchens with amenities like refrigerators, stoves, and cooking utensils to facilitate your culinary adventures.

Furthermore, it’s important to check if the hostel has a 24/7 reception desk. This round-the-clock availability ensures that there will always be staff on hand to assist you, regardless of the time you arrive or any issues you may encounter during your stay. Whether you need directions, recommendations for local attractions, or help with any concerns, having a reliable and accessible reception desk adds a sense of security and peace of mind. It ensures that you have the support you need throughout your stay, enhancing your overall hostel experience.

4. Consider Location and Accessibility

When it comes to selecting the ideal hostel, the location is a crucial factor to consider. The location can greatly impact your overall travel experience, convenience, and ease of exploration. Here are some key points to expand on this section:

  1. Convenience and Accessibility: The location of your chosen hostel should be conveniently situated near public transportation options such as train stations, bus stops, or subway stations. This ensures easy accessibility to and from the hostel, especially when arriving in a new city. Using a map or online resources, you can determine the proximity of these transportation options to your hostel. It’s essential to choose a location that allows you to conveniently navigate the city and easily access popular attractions, restaurants, and other places of interest.
  2. Safety and Security: When evaluating the location of a hostel, it’s important to take into account the reviews and feedback from other travelers regarding the safety of the neighborhood. Opting for a hostel in a safe area provides you with peace of mind during your stay. Consider the overall reputation of the neighborhood, the presence of well-lit streets, and the availability of security measures in and around the hostel, such as key card access or security guards. Researching the neighborhood’s safety will ensure that you can relax and enjoy your solo travel adventure without unnecessary worries.
  3. Proximity to Popular Attractions: Another aspect to consider is the proximity of the hostel to popular attractions. Being located near major landmarks, museums, parks, or cultural sites can greatly enhance your overall travel experience. It allows you to easily explore and immerse yourself in the local culture and attractions without spending excessive time and effort on transportation. By choosing a hostel that is close to the main attractions you plan to visit, you can optimize your time and make the most of your solo travel adventure.
  4. Local Amenities and Services: Additionally, consider the availability of local amenities and services near the hostel. Are there supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, or restaurants within walking distance? Having these amenities nearby can be beneficial, especially for budget-conscious travelers or those who prefer to cook their meals. It’s also helpful to have access to services like laundry facilities, ATMs, or currency exchange offices in the vicinity. These amenities can contribute to a more convenient and comfortable stay during your solo travel adventure.

By taking into account the location’s convenience, safety, proximity to attractions, and availability of local amenities and services, you can ensure that your chosen hostel fits your preferences and enhances your overall travel experience.

5. Supplementary Features

When it comes to enhancing your hostel experience, there are some additional features to consider that may not be the core factors, but can greatly contribute to a more enjoyable stay. Let’s take a closer look at these features:

  1. Social Events and Tours: Check if the hostel organizes social events or offers tours for its guests. Participating in these activities can provide an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded travelers, make new friends, and create lasting memories. It also allows you to explore the destination with the guidance of local experts, ensuring you don’t miss out on any hidden gems and unique experiences.
  2. Free Breakfast: A hostel that offers a complimentary breakfast can be a major plus for budget-conscious travelers. Not only does it save you money that would otherwise be spent on eating out, but it also provides a convenient way to start your day of exploration. A hearty breakfast can give you the energy you need to explore the city and make the most of your solo travel adventure.
  3. Individual Curtains, Lights, and Power Outlets: Privacy and convenience are essential when staying in a shared dormitory. Look for hostels that provide individual curtains for each bed, allowing you to create your own private space when needed. Individual lights by the bed give you the flexibility to read or work without disturbing others in the room, while personal power outlets ensure you can easily charge your devices at any time.

By considering these supplementary features, you can enhance your hostel experience and make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable. Remember to prioritize the features that align with your personal preferences and requirements, ensuring a memorable solo travel adventure.


Choosing the perfect hostel may seem like a daunting task, but by following these guidelines, you’ll be well-equipped to assess the quality and suitability of hostels that catch your interest. Remember to compare your options and prioritize the features that align with your preferences and requirements.

Fundamental aspects such as lockers, comfortable beds, a central and safe location, communal spaces, kitchen facilities, and cleanliness should guide your decision-making process. Happy solo traveling!