So you’ve found your perfect hostel and now you would like to stay there. Yet the question remains, what are the best hostel booking sites out there? We will walk you a bit through the jungle of hostel booking sites and networks in this ultimate guide.
Booking Platforms are obviously a great resource for finding hostels.
You may have heard of the big players Hostelworld.com, Booking.com and Tripadvisor already. Butfli, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s go step by step.
Every booking platform has its own advantages for using them. Some of them are really specialized and niche, some have their own app, maybe a great customer service, or even a convincing cancellation policy. It is really not easy to understand. We will walk you through this.
This article compliments our 15 SMART Tips for Booking Hostels.
Always remember: policies and services are always changing! We will keep this hostel guide up to date! Yet, always keep an eye on the service offered.
Good to know: Booking platforms are resellers and service providers. They sell the rooms and beds of their hostel partners.
In this guide we discuss the following sites & platforms:
- Overview of hostel booking sites
- Hostelling International
- More Hostel Sites (HINT: Hostelgeeks)
- Which is the BEST site?
Hostel Booking Sites and Platforms
Let us get started with this short introduction.
There are many different booking platforms and websites out there specialized for hostels and are a great resource for finding the good ones in Europe.
We show you the most important and relevant resources for hostel searches and bookings here.
Hostelz.com is the ONLY website in the world with all hostels.
Why is that?
Hostels have to choose to work with a certain website.
There are hostels preferring one platform over the other and therefore (perhaps for more complex reasons!) they choose not to work with some websites.
Read more about this in our guide to Essential Tips for Booking Hostels.
Keep this in mind when checking out the different pages.
Some of the 5 Star Hostels are not available on certain booking engines. They may not agree with the way these platforms work, so they decline working with them. Again, this is complex.
All you need to take from this: Not a single booking website in this world can list ALL hostels on this planet!
Keep scrolling to find out why Hostelz.com is different and why you should bookmark this list as a true backpacker.
1. Hostelworld (Hostels.com and Hostelbookers.com)
Hostelworld is the largest hostel booking platform.
If you have ever been researching for a hostel in your lifetime, you will have come across Hostelworld for sure.
You will notice that Hostelworld does not only list hostel-typed accommodation but also
- Upmarket & cheap hotels
- B&Bs and more.
Over the years they expanded their market. So have a look at this when you are specifically looking for a hostel.
There is a filter you can use to only show Hostels.
When booking your accommodation with Hostelworld you will need to pay a deposit. This deposit can be anything from 12% to X – depending on the destination.
You can choose between a
- non-flexible booking or a
- standard flexible booking.
With the non-flexible booking your deposit is non-refundable. Again, this is NON-REFUNDABLE!
The standard flexible booking costs an extra fee and your deposit is protected. In case of a cancellation you can use this deposit to make a different booking.
Good to know: A disadvantage of Hostelworld is their information policy.
When you are looking for specific dates the website only shows their own available hostels during that time.
This makes sense in terms of a booking, but unfortunately not in terms of information. Keep this in mind.
It means when a hostel is not available on Hostelworld for your chosen dates, you will not see this hostel at all – this is a real pity.
Why is that?
Even Hostelworld does not have 100% of the availability of all hostels in the world.
Every single hostel chooses how many beds and rooms they allocate to the different platforms.
Having said that, Hostelworld is a great place to check out hostel reviews – they are easy to read and plentiful.
Read: Our full guide to Hostelworld – how does it work?
Hostelz.com is the ONLY smart hostel price comparison website that lists every single hostel in the world!
One more time: this is a price comparison website, not a hostel booking platform.
It’s one of the top hostel aggregators, collecting related content (hostels) and providing links to their chosen booking platforms.
What’s the difference? Hostelz.com compares hostel prices from major booking platforms including:
However! Once you’ve found your perfect hostel, you will be redirected to the platform of your choosing (with the cheapest price) to complete your booking.
Cool fact: Hostel owners! You can list your hostel on Hostelz.com for free. Actually, even you, the traveller, can add a hostel that’s missing/new by filling out a quick and easy form.
That’s why all hostels in the world can be found here!
It’s a super easy website to use. With just one click you will have access to all the hostels in your chosen destination, and a price comparison list right there in front of you.
Unlike Hostelworld, Hostelz.com lists all the hostels in a destination even if it isn’t available for your dates.
Save money, time and travel longer by using Hostelz.com.
Booking.com is the largest booking portal for accommodation on the internet.
This gigantic web portal from Amsterdam offers almost every single accommodation type on this planet.
Booking.com is an excellent resource when you want to get an overview of accommodations in a destination.
The information you can get from this website is really the best one we can recommend.
The design is kept simpler, with the text at a minimum, focused on relevant information rather than marketing. It’s definitely in keeping with your booking process comfort zone.
When you book hostels with Booking.com you may not even need to pay deposit.
They also offer free cancellations on most of the shared and private rooms you can book with them. This can be quite useful for you as a spontaneous budget traveler as plans can change.
Note: This also stands to be one of the best hotel booking sites out there.
4. Hostelling International
Hostelling International is the world’s largest hostel network.
HI (Short for “Hostelling International”) is a non-profit organization, and you can stay in more than 4000 affiliated hostels worldwide. This makes it very likely you will see them on your travels around the world.
Whilst the company is based in the UK, their hostels reach as far as the United States of North America, as well as South America.
You can find all (and only) HI Hostels on their website HIhostels.com.
Usually, a HI Hostel is more of a youth hostel and ideal for families; far away from party or backpacker hostels.
Airbnb is actually a social accommodation platform for private households renting out their spare room. Over time it has also become a booking platform for apartments, renting between two private parties.
The reason why we list Airbnb here is simple: Here you can also find some hostels!
Although it is still not very common for a hostel to be listed here.
For using Airbnb you need to register and have a profile.
In case you want to book a hostel, or any other accommodation with Airbnb you need to get verified and confirm your Identity.
This involves scanning your passport and sending it to the Airbnb team to help ensure a safe and secure platform.
You can get a 35€ discount at Airbnb with us.
For more detailed information about how Airbnb works, check out our genuine full review of Airbnb.
Let’s talk about the smaller hostel booking platforms.
Hostelsclub.com is an Italian booking platform where you can also find hostels and budget accommodations from all over the world.
This website can be a good resource when traveling through Southern Europe.
There is service charge for bookings with Hostelsclub and they also offer a Membership Card – this can be a good choice if you’re looking to get some extra discount. When booking with Hostelsclub.com, you need to pay a non-refundable deposit of 10%.
Update: The website is not working anymore.
is was a Spanish company listing the mostly hostel-style accommodation. This booking platform has no booking fee and requires no membership fee.
It had its focus on the social part of travel, offering a free application to connect to your future traveler buddies in the hostel.
What other hostel sites are there?
Above we covered the booking sites for hostels to – you guessed it – make your bookings. Now, is there any other things you should know?
Below we list a few more facts we think could be interesting for you to know.
Let’s talk about us, Hostelgeeks.
Hostelgeeks.com is an independent publishing & branding website reviewing and presenting you with 5 Star Hostels.
We do the leg work for you and collect for you the most awesome Hostels in the world.
This is what we do. Period.
Our international media team shows you the outstanding 5 Star Hostels based on transparent criteria, a unique concept by Hostelgeeks.
Hostelgeeks is NOT a booking platform, so unfortunately you cannot book with us at Hostelgeeks any of the 5 Star Hostels.
For making a booking, we always share the most convenient way to book the accommodation.
Good to know: Whenever you drop us a message, we will reply to you in person!
Even better to know: We get plenty of awesome hostel discounts for our Hostelgeeks Community.
Just check out our shop or keep an eye on specific hostel articles. Be smart!
This is Sunset Destination Hostel, a 5 star hostel in Lisbon, Portugal featuring a rooftop swimming pool & bar.
The Website of the Hostel
The time has (almost) come to an end when hostels had terrible websites, where it was easier to understand the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein than making a booking on a hostel‘s website.
Many hostels in Europe understand now the importance of an optimized website.
“The time has come to an end where it was easier to understand the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein than making a booking on a hostel‘s website.”
– Matt, the guy behind Hostelgeeks
That being said, some hostels still have old websites or insecure booking engines on their website.
We had a look and all 5 Star Hostels have solid and trust-able websites – you can book there safe and secure. Most of the 5 Star Hostels even offer cheaper rates on their own website. It is worth it to keep an eye on them.
The Passenger Hostel in Porto, for example, has an easy-to-use website and great rates.
Yet, again, it makes sense to use websites like Hostelz.com to compare rates. Plus, when using sites like Hostelworld you have a booking guarantee.
Let’s go old school! There is still the opportunity to call up a hostel, and make the booking via the phone.
The advantage here is of course talking directly to a person plus it is obviously faster than an email.
This can be especially helpful in case you have a few more specific questions. (e.g. when does the first ferry leave to the other island, until what time can I do the check-in etc).
Good to know: Many Hostels provide a telephone number on their website and due to European law, the hostels have to have an official telephone number.
This being said, there are hostels refusing bookings via phone. In this case they will ask you to do the booking on their website instead.
Email & Facebook
The new equivalent to calling a hostel today is email and facebook.
If there is one social network to contact all hostels in the world, it is the big blue one with the white F.
Here you will get a reply quite fast, and sometimes they even have a special discount or promotion going on on their Facebook page.
So, it is worth checking out!
On the hostel‘s website it is also common to find a direct email address for further information or direct bookings.
Through this email you can easily reach the reception of the hostel, and if it is a professional hostel, you should receive a fast reply.
Good to know: There are hostels who do not take any bookings via email or phone.
Try to contact them on Facebook.
In a Nutshell: What are the Best Hostel Booking Sites?
In our opinion, the 3 most convenient options for a traveler are:
The absolute best hostel site is Hostelz.com.
They list ALL hostels, even the ones not listed on any other booking platform. It is simply a hostel price comparison website.
If you are looking for a quality hostel, it makes sense to stop by Hostelgeeks. For each hostel we share, we give you a list of hostel booking sites. We even share the hostel website with you in case the hostel runs better prices on it.
Comparing prices of different hostels in the city
Comparing prices for the different hostels in one city may seem easy. In fact, this is very complicated and here you can spend a lot of valuable time.
As said before, not every hostel has the same standard and hostels offer different services.
There are basically 3 options for the services.
- The ones included
- the extra services
- and the service which is not yet available.
We had a close look and we will show you what you need to keep an eye on when comparing different hostels in one city.
Read: Hostels vs Hotels – Life is too short for bad hostels
This is the basic stuff you want to have, especially if you’re backpacking around the world!
It is the freebies you want to enjoy, included in the price already.
It can be free WiFi, free luggage storage and so on. Many hostels offer a free dinner night as well – more money saved that can go towards sightseeing. Perhaps there is a free tour, or linen included?
There are two sides of this: the things you expect to be included, and the ones you expect to be excluded. Let us explain that. At a hostel you should (yes, you really can) expect to have free WiFi.
An extra service such as a tour which you can book with the hostel, would be something you can expect to be extra, but not something that’s included in the price.
Have a look on the towels, linen, luggage storage, and breakfast. Are those included or extra?
These are the facilities and services you will not find at all throughout the whole hostel building.
This part is often not shown when you are searching for your hostel.
Therefore, you have to have your expected basics you want to have made very clear.
Let’s say you need to have WiFi for whatever reason, then keep an eye on it. If the hostel description does not state anything about WiFi or Internet, then it may not be available at all.
Having that said, watch out for all 3 different types of facilities and services. Many booking platforms try to list all the required facilities and services.
However, it is also common to not show non-available items at all.
Meaning, when there is no guest kitchen available, you won’t find any hint, it will simply not be mentioned on the website. Therefore, this can make it even harder to find all facilities and services you would like available at the hostel.
FAQ about Best Hostel Booking Sites
1. Is there a website with always the cheapest prices?
The said answer is Hostelz.com.
Hostelz.com is a hostel price comparison website. It is NOT a booking platform.
All they do is comparing the rates on
- and more
You will get the cheapest prices available on the internet.
That being said, Booking.com and Hostelworld.com offer the option to match-price. This means, when you find a cheaper price somewhere in the internet, just let the booking platform know and they will match the price for you.
When you use Hostelz.com, you won’t need this service.
2. Is there a website with ALL hostels in the world?
There is no hostel booking platform that lists all hostels in the world. However! Hostelz.com is a smart price comparison website that does list every single hostel in the world!
3. What is a hostel?
A hostel is a budget accommodation with a minimum of 1 dormitory and a common area! Read all hostel definitions in our guide “what is a hostel“.
4. Is there an age restriction for hostels?
Yes and No!
By law there is no age restriction. Yet, some hostels run their own rules. Every hostel chooses to have an age restriction or not.
If there is an age restriction, it is usually somewhere between 18 and under 40. This counts mostly for party hostels. Check every hostel before booking it.
Read: the 7 different types of hostels to choose from
Free Download List of Best Hostel Booking Sites
You can download the list of Hostel Booking Sites as a PDF.
Simply open the .pdf and save it on your device.
Still interested in more details? Have a look at these handy guides we designed just for you:
- What is a hostel? All definitions of what makes a hostel
- The ultimate starter guide to understand hostels
We have many many detailed articles helping you stay safe, pick better hostels and book smarter. Find all our hostel articles here.
Now that your hostel booking is sorted, time to figure out…
We hope this detailed article gave you a bit of an insight of the different and best hostel booking websites out there.
You see, there is #1 fits-it-all solution when it comes to booking hostels. It is always worth it to keep an eye on different websites, compare and book smart. The hostel’s website can be a gold mine to save a few € or $.
Safe travels and happy booking!
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