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choosing a hostel?

Travel Forums Europe choosing a hostel?

1. Posted by flanbos (Budding Member 24 posts) 9y

how does everyone find their hostel to stay in, i have been looking on several hostel websites and now im confused wether this is my best source to find them or if my guidbook recoomendations would be better,

also how far out do most people book thier hostel? im at this stage only planning on doing it 1 or 2 days in advance is this a reasonable thing to do?

any other hostel help would be great:) i have 4 weeks till i go and the nerves are satarting to kick in about how im gonna go out in the big bad world lol

cheers
matt

2. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 9y

I wouldnt book online thru hostel world our any of the booking sites - they charge an extra fee. I use these sites to find the hostel I want, then search for the hostel website to book directly or use the phone number of the hostel.

Travel guides are good too, they usually list the number to cal directly.

are u travelling in summer? if so book well in advance - esp in big cities like Paris, London, ect cuz the book up fast - mainly on the weekends.

where are u going anyway?

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Dont worry Matt. Europe is not really a place to get nervous, about visiting.

Hostels
I find mine, on the web and I book them there too.
I just take the cheapest one. I only sleep in them.
When it is not Summer time, I book a couple of days in advance.
In Summer, a week, in advance or more, if I know for sure, I will be going there.
I think the best thing to do, is to choose ones, in the centre of the action, so it is easy to get back to them late at night etc.

Mel

4. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

On my first round the world trip I would just arrive and find the closest one to the main train station, or if a train station wasn't there the main bus depot. On my second Round the world trip, I got a gold membership on hostelworld (so I didn't have to pay those $2.00 booking fees) and then saw which ones were highly rated but were in the cheaper high rated ones and booked the first night or two there. Then when I got there and saw what it was like I'd either book more nights or after I'd stayed the nights I'd paid for, I'd move on to another place which also had high ratings.

The only problem with using the method Mel says with booking over the phone is often you will get charged a higher rate than if you book through hostelworld. For example I stayed at Nord Hostel in St Petersburg and for booking a long way in advance on hostelworld I paid 13 Euro a night. When I turned up at the reception the sign says 24 Euro a night. I asked others how much they paid and everyone said they had paid 24 Euro a night some said they turned up and others said they called up (this was in July so everyone had to book a few months in advance to get a bed because they book out very early). I'd got a special that was only available online through hostelworld. That is an extreme example, but most places charge you a higher price if you just turn up or call up to if you book on hostelworld. Some wont, but most will. I think it is a bit stupid seeing if you turn up or call you are just giving the receptionist work and saving the company from paying out a commission, so why should you be punished for saving the hostel money? Also what Mel said about the hostels own website sometimes works as well. Like for booking on Piccadilly Backpackers (London) website, you get a couple of pounds a night I think it is off the price on hostelworld and they also have a few deals that aren't shown on hostelworld. Sometimes this is the case but most the time they just charge the same as hostelworld.

The trick with hostelworld is get the gold membership which costs $10US for 1 year. Then when you make a booking always quote your membership number. By doing that for 12 months from the day you purchase the membership you will not be paying the $2.00US booking fees. If you don't put your membership number in each time, you'll pay that fee, so you have to put the number in.

Most the time booking 1 or 2 days in advance is fine, but in places like Russia or Iceland in July that is asking for you to sleep on the streets or have to fork out in a 5 star hotel. It's mainly only in the heart of summer that you've really got to worry, but if you have set dates in mind it doesn't hurt to just check the availability a couple of weeks before and if it is getting low in a lot of places, book to just be safe.

Have a great trip.

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 27, 2007, at 4:45 AM by aharrold45 ]

5. Posted by Smirnoff (Budding Member 43 posts) 9y

http://www.hostelbookers.com/

I found this site useful, as it did not charge booking fees. It does take a 10% deposit though, so I'd make sure the dates you have in mind are for sure.

If you make several (but not all) bookings with hostelworld, and wait a bit, they'll probably send you a free no-fee membership offer. Happened to me at least...

The best way to do it is to see if the hostel you want has their own website. A lot of the time you'll find a cheaper price and sometimes without a reservation deposit.

Cheers!

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

I like to use hostelworld. Sometimes only as a way to find a hostel, sometimes as an uncomplicated way to a bed. I like that they allow me to compare hostels easily. Also booking through hostelworld or similar sites is sometimes the only way to get a bed if everything is full.

If you know that there are enough hostels in a city and that you can just walk in in any hostel and that you'll be guaranteed to find a bed within the city without any trouble, just call ahead for a day or two. But if you have decided on a specific hostel (due to location, price, rating, etc.) and the city is likely going to be full (Formula 1 race in Istanbul at the very weekend you are flying out of Istanbul Sabiha) you should book online as early as possible.

Another method I like to use is google maps. I've sucessfully used it for hostels in Berlin when I wanted to be near a specific S-Bahn stop. I never tried, but I believe a similar search method would work for all major European cities.

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 28, 2007, at 3:44 AM by t_maia ]