Surviving Cheap Hostels!

Cheap hostels provide a great social environment to meet friends whilst travelling on a budget. You can have a great time or an experience you would rather forget! We will help you choose which hostel will suit your needs so that you can sleep easy! 

What Is A Hostel?

A hostel is a type of budget accommodation that caters for students, backpackers and flashpackers. All hostels are incredibly different - from their location to the services that they provide. Common facilities often found in hostels include: 

  • 24 hour reception
  • Breakfast - free or cheap
  • Bar
  • Internet access
  • Common room - lounges, TV, pool tables
  • Luggage storage
  • Lockers
  • Laundry service
  • Linen hire
  • Book exchange
  • Tour desk

Some cheap hostels will even have fun activities at night and a tourist information service. Hostels really can provide you with everything you need while on the road! 

Make sure you call ahead to notify of your arrival time. Some hostels may cancel your booking during peak periods if you are late. It is also a great idea to ask about the facilities when booking. This ensures that you are prepared for any additional charges for things like linen, internet and breakfast. Also be aware that the price you are quoted may not include all tax charges. 

Who Can Stay At A Hostel?

Just because you can stay in a hostel, doesn't mean that you have to. You also don't have to like it. They can sometimes just be a means to an end.

Hostels are a low cost accommodation for everyone including students, families, couples, seniors citizens and large groups. Most hostels require that guests are over 18 years old, unless they are accompanied by an adult or guardian. Whilst some require that you are under 35 years old. 

What Are The Rooms Like?

Hostel rooms come in all different shapes and sizes. Typically, you have the option of booking either a either shared or private rooms. 

  • Shared rooms generally set up like a dormitory. Dorm rooms can be so much fun or a very stressful experience. A dorm room is simply a room for more than one person. They are a great budget option for single travelers. They can be mixed or single sex. Dorm rooms may have as little as 2 beds or... as many...well as many as you can imagine! 
  • Private rooms are a great option for couples or single travelers. You may also be able to book a 4 person private room for a small group. It may be a little bit cheaper if you choose the shared bathroom option.

When choosing a room type consider your location, the time you will arrive/leave, what you plan to do etc. For example if you are staying in a party place such as Barcelona, you should be prepared for a noisy hostel - maybe consider a private room or joining the party. 


Feel free to ask to see the room at a cheap hostel before you finalize you payment. Be sure to notice how much room there is between beds so you don't wake up too close to a stranger! 


The hostel industry relies heavily on reviews. Make sure you review the cheap hostels you stay in so other travelers know when to book a great place or when to avoid a bad one. Your review will benefit someone else, but its all swings and roundabouts.

Reading a review can be a time consuming process. We find it easier to look at the overall rating and skim the reviews for important thing like cleanliness, noise, and the facilities.

Money Tips

When using a booking service such as Hostel World or Hostel Bookers make sure you pay attention to the fees and charges. You may be able to avoid a regular booking fee by joining a loyalty program. It is also sensible to note down how much you are expected to pay on arrival. Some booking services will charge the whole fee while others will charge 10% of the total booking. 

Booking a hostel with a kitchen will save you money. It allows you to cook your own meals, something that we particularly enjoy when we have been travelling for a long time. 


Most hostels will charge for linen and some you think to yourself "when was the last time these sheets were washed". That is why a travel towel and sleep sheet are essential. 

Security Tips

Make sure you keep your valuables safe. If you are going to stay in dorm rooms it is very important that the hostel provides in-room security lockers or a safe service at reception. We love having a big locker in my dorm room so that you can just put your backpack straight in and you don't have to worry about a thing! 

Make sure you do bring a few extra padlocks with you. They are very handy to lock your valuable away and even lock your bags together. Some hostels may require that you use your own padlock on their security lockers. Check out our advice on a wide range of security accessories.


head torch is great in dorm rooms. It will help you read, rummage through your bag or simply find the toilet without waking your fellow travelers.

We hope that our advice on cheap hostels makes your vacation a trip of a life time. You might also find our tips on backpacking or flashpacking helpful. 

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