Booking a hostel has become more and more complex over time.
There are more hostels to choose from now than there were years before. And there are several booking portals you can use, but…
which booking portal is the best and the cheapest?
We at Hostelgeeks do not offer any booking service. We are only your shortcut to the most amazing Hostels in the world: the 5 Star Hostels.
We discovered different ways to book hostels and budget accommodation in a smarter and cheaper way.
Wanna see how?
We will present you here different hacks for booking a hostel like a pro. Some of these recommendations might be very basic, whereas others require more work and are very specific. Let’s get started:
1. Exclusive Hostelgeeks’ discount
We at Hostelgeeks receive special discounts for our readers. Those are exclusively for our readers – yes – such as YOU!
Here is an example:
Venice: 5% discount
Get a 5% discount at WE Crociferi Hostel, a former monastery and now 5 Star Hostel in Venice. Read our full review of We Crociferi. Find here as well the special promo code.
London: 10% discount:
Saving 10% in London is a lot of money. We got you a discount with Palmers Lodge. Find more info here:
Last but not least…
ever heard of Interlaken?
Here you can get a 5% discount directly through the booking system of Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof – no promo code needed!
2. Score a 15€ discount with Booking.com
The website Booking.com is the worlds biggest accommodation platform. And it is powerful.
We share with you here a 15€ discount for your bookings with Booking.com.
More advantages of Booking.com:
- No prepayments necessary
- possible to book without credit card
- safe and professional
- you can manage your bookings in the backend
3. Sign up for Newsletters
This is a dirty little „trick“ to get discounts and special promotions right to your inbox!
Why is it a good idea to sign up for newsletters?
An email is way easier for you to find again rather than a random post on Facebook or Twitter. Yes, we know you may already have too many emails, and this is why you should be picky!
Here is another great advantage of these newsletters: as soon as you notice these received emails are completely useless, you can simply unsubscribe with one simple click! You are not stuck with these promotions for life.
Good to know: We also have a very useful and powerful newsletter here at Hostelgeeks.
Here we share more insight knowledge on how to score cheaper deals. Whether it’s transport, accommodation, tours, activities…we share all the secrets to budget travel in style – in our newsletter.
Sign up, it’s free:
4. Get a $35 discount on AirBnb
AirBnb, another giant in the hotel market. With our referral link you can score a credit of $35 for your stays all around the world.
That is absolutely amazing. Make the math.
Here is our referral link of AirBnb that gives you the $35 discount.
5. 10% discounts to the best hostels in Europe
Besides the public discounts for our readers, we created a huge eBook of The Greatest Hostels of Europe.
The easiest and smartest way to save 10% on the best hostels across Europe is the new eBook 2017. It highlights 128 awesome hostels. It includes castles, swimming pool hostels, funky ones, island hostels and more.
The 10% discounts let you save more than $340 in 2017!
Not sure? Download the preview for free.
(Full money back guarantee)
6. Is there an App?
Have a look at the AppStore for iPhone or Android Google Play. Big websites and booking portals like Hostelworld have their own app, offering once in a while mobile booking discounts. There is not any specific app we know about with lower prices. If you have come across one, please drop us a comment!
Good to know: When Vueling, a major Spanish Airline, launched their new application, they had a special promotion.
They sent us an email about a big discount when booking by a mobile device using the app. ALRIGHT, we wanted to book anyway. So, we saved a bunch of money plus we got to test their booking app, which is pretty convenient and handy by the way!
7. Get all the availability and services
What on earth does this even mean?! Well, here is some inside knowledge: this is another advantage from the hostel’s website!
Booking platforms only sell the rooms and dorms the hostels allocate to them.
Yes, read this sentence again! This means some websites may only offer a certain percentage of the actual availability. Some may even only have a specific type room, specific number of rooms allocated to them and so on.
Don’t get fooled!!!!
Although the hostel does not seem to be available, you should get in contact with them. They might be available on their own website OR they can help find accommodation close to their hostel. FYI, it is also pretty common for hostels to save some beds for walk-ins!
Quick Anecdote: This happened to us in Hvar, Croatia.
The hostel was fully booked, but as we dropped them a message, they gave us a private room in an apartment right next to the hostel. We paid the same as a private room, but we had a full apartment PLUS we got to enjoy the social life of the hostel! SCORE! :)
The Seagulls Garret Hostel in Riga (photo below) recommends to drop them an email for any activities in Riga you’d like to join – beforehand! This way they can make sure you will get a spot. Remember that one!
8. Avoid Overbooking Problems
Do you know what the term „overbooking“ means? It refers to the fact the accommodation sold more beds and/or rooms they actually have. This means some travelers will arrive at the hostel, facing the fact there is an issue with their booking: no room or bed!
A simple way to avoid this is to book with the hostels website directly. This way your reservation is confirmed 100%, and they won’t let you down.
Those are the under-bed locker at Mountain Hostel Tarter in Andorra.
9. Don’t loose a prepayment – Booking via Email or Phone
No accommodation wants to read this one, but to have this list complete, we need to share this hack with you as well.
When booking through a booking platform or with the hostels website you will most of the time pay via credit card. It is totally normal to pay a deposit which is non-refundable. Meaning if you cancel, you won’t get this prepayment back!
The Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof gives you something extra when booking directly on their own website. You will receive a free bus ticket from the train station to the hostel. Also, you can cancel your reservation for free up until 24 hours before arrival.
A way to avoid this? Book via email or phone. Although many hostels do not accept these types of bookings except with use of a credit card, some budget accommodations still do.
Another possibility: Book with Booking.com and get a 15€ discount.
You can book here many hotels and hostels without any prepayment. Some of them even allow bookings without credit card.
Please note: Needing to cancel a reservation has happened to everyone – for us too! The flight is delayed, plans change and so on. However, no accommodation likes canceled reservations. The room/bed has been reserved over a period of time only for you, so nobody else has been able to book this spot. A last minute cancellation therefore, can leave a hole in the pocket of the hostel.
This traveler enjoys the free WiFi at Maverick City Lodge in Budapest, the 5 Star Hostel in Budapest.
10. Are you a Travel Blogger? No, wait, a good(!) travel blogger?
As mentioned in booking hack number 3, you can ask for extras in exchange for social promotion. If you are a travel blogger, this is a different level completely. In case your blog fits with the style of the hostel you are approaching, there is a chance you can get a special deal.And here is how: Have a look on their website, and see what you could possibly improve with your writing/photography skills.
Maybe a hostel does not have a blog post about their free tour?
Well, this is something you can offer in exchange for accommodation!
And here is how:
Have a look on their website, and see what you could possibly improve with your writing/photography skills. Maybe a hostel does not have a blog post about their free tour? Well, this is something you can offer in exchange for accommodation!
BUT: Be realistic and don’t be cocky! Lots of Hostels love to cooperate with bloggers, but keep in mind that you have to offer more than simply some exposure through your blog.
Good to know: Drop your desired hostel a tweet and follow them on Instagram. Get to know some details, find out what they might be interested in, and then go for it. If you are interested in more co-operations with hostels, you can get in contact with us as well – we love to work with fellow bloggers!
11. Book your hostel in Advance (or as soon as you can!)
Other than booking flights, most of the time the prices for hostels do not change. As soon as you have booked your flight, train or donkey, get your hostel booking done.
Make sure you know what type of Hostel you want to stay at, and then go ahead!
But why book in advance?
Simple: you will have a bigger selection of hostels to choose from. The most popular hostels are usually sold out soon – why take the risk?
12. Book your next Hostel at your next Hostel
WHAT?! Many Hostels are part of a Hostel network, and they can offer you a small discount when you book your next hostel booking at their reception. They will send you to their partner hostel in your next desired destination. If you liked the hostel you were staying, give it a try and ask for a recommendation.
Usually you can get here a free drink, or 5% to 10% Discount.
Pretty cool, right?! However, this is not really recommended during high season when the great hostels are usually fully booked – mentioned in booking hack #1.
13. 10% Discount or even free stay
Lollis Homestay in Dresden is a 5 Star Hostel, run by genuine backpackers. They offer 10% discounts if you can show that your office or home does not run on nuclear power – simple as that.
Also, can you entertain the hostel crowd for 1 hour? Then your bed is on the house! Just send Lollis Homestay an email and you can figure out the details.
14. Use Hostelgeeks! „Call me hack, please!“
Whenever you have a doubt about hostels, you can drop us a tweet, comment, message, letter pigeon! We ARE Hostel Geeks, this name is no coincidence.
Check out our full Hostel Guide.
There you will find everything about Hostels you need to know! Another Hostel expert you can always ask for hostel recommendations is Katie aka. The Hostel Girl.
Here on Hostelgeeks we show you THE most outstanding Hostel in your desired place – 1 Hostel per destination!
Again: This way you can keep it simple and find directly a superb design conscious hostel in town. You can find the best hostels in the world here.
What if there is a no hostel in your upcoming destination?
Get in contact, we will recommend you the coolest hostel that we’ve found so far – go on, challenge us!
Extra tip: Discount in exchange for social promotion
This is a booking hack for the masters of social networks. Do you have many followers or fans on your social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Get in contact directly with the hostel, and point it out to them. Send them a tweet, and give them a hint about your existence and your interest in staying at their accommodation! Instagram is also a great way to connect.
Check out these 20+ amazing Hostels through the Instagram filter.
First of all they will be thrilled to give you additional information or great photos of their accommodation. Second, you might score some special discounts or freebies such as free drinks. A general rule in case you are thinking about approaching hostels for this one:
You have to have roughly
- more than 5.000 twitter followers
- more than 10.000 Instagram followers
- more than 1.500 fans on Facebook
Again, these numbers are not a fix number or a guarantee. It is a number based on our experience! If you have any questions here, drop us a comment below! And hey, buying those followers for some coins won’t work!
Quick Anecdote: We receive many emails from travelers looking for such a discount with the 5 Star Hostels. Please ONLY try this one if you have a substantial amount of followers, and something cool to offer. Otherwise, I’m afraid this reach-out is pointless.
Summary: Hacks for Booking Hostels
We wanted to give you an overview of the different possibilities on how to hack the hostel booking process. As you can see there are some different approaches here, and some of them may take some time and experience. Once you have applied them, you will see how effective they can be.
Do you want to learn more?
Do you know any other hack for booking hostels? Wonderful! Please leave us a comment.
– – –
Pinterest is your friend. Pin the “Hacks for Booking Hostels like a Pro”