This is one of my favorite websites for researching and booking hostels. It's simple, straight-forward, and easy to use. The site itself is aesthetically pleasing, but the best part is its functionality. It's easy to find pictures of your desired hostel, which facilities and services are included, and other important details relevant to your stay. Not to mention, they have a wide selection of quality hostels to choose from worldwide.
My room at Urbany Hostel BCN GO in Barcelona - one of the best hostels I've ever stayed at!
2. Trust the ratings
Sometimes higher ratings are worth the extra few dollars per night. For instance, HostelsClub factors in cleanliness, staff, location and value into their ratings. I generally never book anything with a rating of less than 75%, and I always make sure to read the most recent reviews. I also try to check the reviews right before I depart on a trip, just in case there are any recent issues I should be aware of.
3. Check the location
Is the hostel close to the sights you want to see, or is it a 40 minute metro ride from the center of town? I always try to stay close to where I know I'll be sight-seeing and spending the majority of my time. Also keep in mind how far away the best bars and restaurants are - no traveler on a budget wants to take a $25 cab ride home after the metro closes.
4. Female-only dorms are a wise choice
After years of staying in hostels, I've learned to always book female-only dorm rooms as opposed to mixed dorms. While I like making both male and female friends when I stay at hostels, it only takes one creepy roommate in your dorm to completely ruin your hostel experience. For the sake of comfort and security, booking female-only dorms can be a really smart choice.
5. Look for a social atmosphere
If you're traveling solo, it's important to look for hostels that promote a social environment. Look for qualities that offer an atmosphere conducive to meeting new people. "Party hostels" usually indicate that it's going to be easy to make friends there. When looking for a lively hostel to stay in, check to see if they have multiple common rooms, bars and lounges, game rooms, walking tours or pub crawls.
Photo courtesy of Urbany Hostel BCN GO
6. Take note of the details
Always check to see if your hostel offers lockers, linens, towels, wifi, hair dryers and luggage storage. Bonus points for free breakfast and 24 hour security. These details may seem minor, but they greatly affect the ease of your hostel experience. HostelsClub.com does a great job of clearly showing which hostels offer these amenities!
Of the many hostels I've stayed at over the years, I can't rave enough about my experience in Barcelona at Urbany Hostel BCN GO. Truthfully, this is one of the coolest hostels I've ever stayed at. Besides the clean rooms and lively atmosphere, this one-of-a-kind hostel also offers a rooftop terrace and jacuzzi, a chill-out lounge with TV and videogames, free club entrances, and fun activities such as pub crawls, pasta nights and walking tours.
Right next to Plaza Universitat, the hostel's central location makes it easily accessible to all of the major sights in Barcelona. My room was clean and functional, and the private bathroom made getting ready in the morning all the more convenient. What really impressed me was how their employees went above and beyond to make my stay comfortable. The exceptionally friendly staff made me feel as if I were among old friends. If I have the opportunity to visit Barcelona again soon (which I seriously hope I will!), I would stay at this hostel again in a heartbeat.
Do you have any other tips for finding a great hostel?
My stay at Urbany Hostel BCN GO was made possible by HostelsClub.com, but all opinions expressed are my own. You can find out more about HostelsClub.com and their wide variety of accommodations offered here.