Hello all of you wonderful humans and welcome! Today we will be delving into the process of using the Hostelworld app so you can decide for yourself if it will be your trusted companion in the booking of accommodations for your numerous adventures to come 🙂
We will be covering the use of the app, pros, and cons, cancellations, writing and reading reviews, customer support, and other websites you could use if Hostelworld isn’t your cup of tea.
Here’s a video overview of the Hostelworld App to get you started.
What is Hostelworld?
Hostelworld is the biggest platform for finding and booking cheap accommodation intentionally, from hostels to apartments, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and even campsites.
In case you’re a numbers person, this website has access to over 36,000 properties in 178 countries around the world. Even better, over 13,000,000 people have left reviews here sharing their experiences of staying in these accommodations, so you can be sure to get the down-low on how staying somewhere really is – something quite invaluable in my experience.
The website is absolutely reliable, with secure payment methods and booking, so you can rest assured that your bank information will not get abused (no small concern while traveling in my experience).
Lastly, they offer 24/7 customer support to make sure you are fully taken care of.
So, that’s the quick overview of the platform, now let’s go ahead to the juicy details!
How to use the Hostelworld App?
Using the app is quite simple and straightforward.
To start, you input your destination, travel dates, and the number of people. Make sure that before booking, you double and triple-check that all the information is correct! I am definitely guilty of booking the wrong dates in the past.
Once you have input the information, the app will bring up a list of accommodations which you can check out on a map (showing the location and price), and further filter down based on the following categories…
Show the cheapest accommodations first
Overall property rating
Super important and definitely something worth paying attention to – I would spend a good chunk of your time checking out reviews, as oftentimes accommodations will change their amenities or standards and this will be reflected in the reviews.
You can choose to have accommodations shown based on how far they are from the city center, closest ones first
A-Z or Z-A
Bed and breakfast
Room type in case you choose not to have the whole place to yourself
Single room (private room)
Twin room (private room, two separate beds)
Double room (private room, double bed)
Triple room (private room, three beds, either three singles or one double and one single)
Family room (private room, fits more than three)
Mixed dorm (shared room with both males and females; some hostels even let you pick how many people you want to share the room with, though fewer people usually means more expensive)
Female dorm (awesome for ladies traveling solo who are new to the solo travel game and would like to feel a little safer in terms of potential creepy guys sleeping in the same room as you. Though to be honest, I have yet to encounter any problems in this area)
Arguably my favorite set of filters, as I love to save money on my trips by cooking rather than eating out, and a kitchen is a must
Important! Though most places will automatically have this, I have ended up staying in a place for multiple nights without Wi-Fi and it was quite frustrating, especially if you’re traveling without an international phone plan and rely on accommodations to download offline maps, contact friends and family, and upload pics of all the fun times you’re having.
Such a lifesaver! It is so nice to arrive in a new city late at night, exhausted, and know that when you wake up you have your first meal covered without having to wander out into the world, disoriented and unprepared for the struggle of buying groceries in a foreign language.
I would much rather do this after having my belly filled with food and coffee, thank you! Something I do suggest is checking out what people have written in terms of the breakfast – I’ve seen quite the spectrum ranging from coffee and bread to a menu with multiple options including pancakes, fresh fruit, or scrambled eggs with toast.
Some hostels give the bare minimum in order to boast a free breakfast, while others go above and beyond to bake fresh bread, provide glorious options and make it a restaurant-worthy spread; if you’re a foodie like me, this is key!
Air con(ditioner) Trust me, if you’re going somewhere really hot in the middle of the summer, spending some extra cash to make sure your accommodation has aircon is recommended. I found that if it’s super hot, I am guaranteed to get a bad night of sleep and be super miserable and grumpy all day – something you want to avoid at all costs when you have limited time to explore a new place. Something I want to mention is that if you’re in a dorm room, beware of remote hoggers. There is often someone who wants to have control over the room temperature so badly, they will stop at nothing to secure the remote and even hide it to avoid giving up the power- make friends with this person, no matter how horrific they may be! Your sleep depends on it, my friend.
Swimming pool I remember staying in Riohacha, Colombia during the month of January and it was so ridiculously hot all day, that exploring outside simply wasn’t an option – you could either hang out by the beach or hide in the air-conditioned rooms of your hostel, given your hostel has an aircon.
Luckily, my hostel had an awesome swimming pool in the middle of the building which proved to be the perfect hangout spot during the day- it was open-air so you could take advantage of the sunshine while jumping in the pool to rinse off without worrying that your things would get stolen. This said if you’re not bothered by heat and plan to be out all day anyway, maybe this is a luxury you can skip. Though I must say, drinking a glass of wine with your feet in the water sure is a treat!
Really convenient if you’re planning on arriving at odd hours of the night, or prioritize having someone you can ask for advice or guidance in the early mornings.
Sn awesome way to meet other travelers without having to wander out into the nightlife of a new city alone. Connecting with people in your hostel before venturing out can make you feel much safer.
Luggage storage So important!!
If you arrive before the hour of check-in, or checkout is early in the morning and you still plan to spend the day wandering through the streets, luggage storage can be a lifesaver as it gives you the freedom to explore and adventure without stressing about where to safely store your stuff.
(Free) parking While some premises offer free parking, others simply have access to paid parking or a paid garage. Either way, if you’re traveling by car and entering a new city, the stress of finding parking for your car without it getting damaged or stolen is sizable. Why not make life easier and search for accommodation that takes this worry away?
Depending on how sketchy the area is, this is either an unnecessary luxury or an absolute must. While most cities in Europe are quite safe, while traveling in Latin America I definitely felt much safer with the knowledge that there was either a security guard or system in place. A collection of wealthy foreigners asleep, all in one place? Sounds a bit too tempting if you’re looking for easy targets.
Though almost all cities do offer public transportation from the airport to the center of town, it can be quite tedious and time-consuming as well as confusing. I usually take public transportation or an Uber, but if a hostel offers airport transfers and is still within your budget, why not take advantage of the luxury? It will make the start and finish of your trip that much more relaxing.
Depending on the crime rates of the city, this could either be indispensable or unnecessary. I often chained my bike to nearby posts or fences, but some countries may frown on or even fine you for doing this, so if you plan on using a bike to move around do your research!
Ladies and gentlemen, you’re abroad! What could you possibly need cable TV for with a world of new experiences and cultures to experience in real life!!
A welcome alternative to AC, though depends on how cool you need the room to be in order to get a good night’s sleep.
Not to be overlooked!! A common room is a haven for making new connections and possible travel companions. Though it is a staple in hostels, other types of accommodations don’t always offer a common area for travelers to mingle.
While for some this may offer a welcomed respite from small talk and a chance to rest, for me this always seemed a missed opportunity to make friends, meet and swap stories, and get the inside scoop on places to check out in your current or next destinations.
I believe this is Hostelworld’s way of saying kitchen, and as I have mentioned, and will continue to mention, as a huge foodie this is KEY. Imagine getting midnight munchies, or craving a specific snack and not having the opportunity to make it – the horror! I love cooking and while going out to eat is nice, it is a huge contributor to the dwindling of your budget, so beware!
While I seriously respect anyone who continues their workout routine while traveling, I can’t imagine ever being one of those people. Between the hours spent walking the streets or a new city, the alcohol ingested at trendy bars, not to mention the late-night greasy food inhaled, there is simply too much to do to spend time at a fitness center. However, if this is a priority for you, Hostelworld has got you covered!
Flexible NRR(non-refundable rate)
Unless i’m absolutely certain that I will come to a place on time and there will be no change in plans, I like to book accommodation with a super flexible refund policy. The chances of meeting a super cool person or group of people while traveling are quite high, and I’ve often found myself changing the trajectory of my travels in order to spend more time with these very special humans, so make sure you check out the refund policies, especially in times such as these where everything is prone to change daily.
Follows Covid-19 guidance
If you will have to quarantine for a time before venturing out onto the streets, this is a huge factor in choosing accommodation.
Refer back to every other comment I’ve made about cooking rather than eating out.
Some hostels have volunteers who serve as staff members, taking care of reception and housekeeping. Others will have paid staff to take care of this. Either way, make sure you check out reviews on cleanliness before booking accommodation. Coming back to a filthy room after an exhausting, yet fulfilling, day of exploring is definitely not one of my favorite things.
Key card access
Laundry facilities vs washing machines
I’m not one to avoid doing my own laundry, but sometimes it’s nice to have it done for you. Either way, if you’re planning to be on the road for a while, make sure you book a place where you can do washing every week or so, it’s a lifesaver!
Idd, everywhere I’ve ever stayed this was a given. Though why not add this to your filters to be sure.
Yes, yes, and yes! Hostels especially, if you’re staying in a dorm and tend to be worried that your things will get stolen, make sure you book a place with security lockers! Bring along a lock of your own as well, as you may have to pay for borrowing one or even worse, forget the combination!.
A super nice option for a night in, so you don’t have to cook or go out in order to find food.
While this is cool, I prefer to go out and explore the local nightlife. You can meet other travelers and go with them, but why not immerse yourself in the culture and meet locals?
Only if you’re traveling with millions of euros!
Refer back to airport transfers
Towels for hire vs towels included
Go ahead and bring your own, it couldn’t hurt! Microfiber towels are a staple of my packing list as they take up barely any space and are multifunctional. Makeshift curtain for your hostel bed? Check. Sarong for changing? Check. See what I mean
Once you’re ready to book and have found accommodation that matches your needs, you will see ratings for location, cleanliness, staff, facilities, atmosphere, security, and value for your money. Go ahead and look over some reviews, both bad and good, to get a better idea of what to expect.
Reviews are where the good stuff is – the truth about the glossy image each accommodation presents. Reviews offer you insight into what you should expect and give you a picture of the good and bad aspects of the place.
I know some of you may be worried about fake reviews, but fear not!
The platform only lets you leave a review after you have stayed at and paid for your accommodation, so writing fake reviews is too much of a pain in the butt to be worth it, especially when you consider that one or two fake reviews are up against hundreds of real ones. While reviews are usually authentic, do keep in mind that pictures can be misleading and don’t pick solely based on how a place looks – accommodations will spend lots of money to make sure that they get the best possible pictures, even if it drastically misrepresents the reality.
The demographic of users for this platform tend to be younger backpackers with a low budget and standards, so keep that in mind when looking at the reviews. For me, this is a pro, but it definitely limits the diversity of people writing these reviews – because they are younger and on a budget, they will be much quicker to write a positive review.
Often, these reviews are only partially connected to the hostel itself and more reflective of the writer’s personal experience in that area.
After staying somewhere, go ahead and do others the favor of leaving an honest review, letting people know about your stay. Make sure you go into details about what you liked and disliked about the place but keep it clean, people! Even if you hated it, avoid using any offensive language as this guarantees your review will not get published.
Pros and Cons
If you have an account you can sign in to your profile on the app and sync all your information. Because it’s so big and has been around for a while, this platform does a great job of offering you a wide range of accommodation types and letting you tailor your search to fit your preferences.
You can use it to check for last-minute bookings while on the go, which is really valuable if you’re more of a go-with-the-flow type.
This app has a section for…
an online travel community,
a section for your travel wish list,
and even its own version of a translator (boasting 43 languages,) which allows you to communicate with people as you travel the world.
One awesome feature is the noticeboard, which is similar to the Couchsurfing option of hangouts. It allows you to use your location to connect with other travelers around you and attend cool events. It’s my favorite way of searching for and comparing options when traveling, and I love the convenience of having so many choices in one place.
The platform does not accept Paypal and obviously takes its own fee for using the platform (as well as a deposit), rather than booking directly through the website of your accommodation.
Tip: Hostelz.com actually offers price comparisons for accommodations, so feel free to use this tool as well!
Additionally, since this is a platform where accommodation owners have to sign up, you will not see all hostels here.
Some hostels also only put up their dorm rooms on Hostelworld, so if you really like a place but want a private room do some research to see if that’s an option. You can also only see the hostels available for the specific time you selected, so if you shift the dates around the results can be quite different.
Cancellation and Customer Support
On the website, you will have two options for booking type (on the platform):
Non-flexible booking (non-refundable in case you cancel your booking)
Standard flexible booking (you pay about one euro per guest to make sure that your deposit can be used to book another accommodation within six months if you cancel, but service fees are non-refundable).
Accommodations themselves can offer four different policies: free cancellation, flexible, non-flexible, and non-refundable.
The flexible booking option is my favorite, as it allows you to cancel and use a voucher to book again for the same amount you paid – but remember that after six months it expires! You can use a credit or debit card to pay and will see the breakdown of how much the deposit, booking fee, and cost of your stay will cost.
Hostelworld also has the best price guarantee, meaning that if you find a cheaper price for your accommodation on another website they will actually refund you the difference- pretty cool, huh? The terms and conditions for this are as follows:
You must claim within 24 hours of the booking being made on Hostelworld.com
The deal must be available online at the time of claim for us to verify
The other deal must be an exact match on room type, dates, and add-ons
It must be a standalone booking and not part of any package or loyalty discount
In terms of customer support, the platform offers 24/7 service which can be amazing in case something goes wrong during your stay, or you accidentally write your email wrong and don’t get the confirmation – we’ve all been there!
Other Websites for Booking Hostels
Hostelworld may be the biggest booking website for hostels, but there are also a handful of other platforms that you could check when doing your research.
Here’s a list of the other platforms that you could check:
Booking.com – a major platform with all types of accommodation (not only hostels)
Hostelbookers.com – does no longer exist
Hostelsclub.com – much smaller and fewer properties listed
In conclusion ladies and gentlemen, the Hostelworld app is a glorious way to make sure you never end up without a place to sleep, and even get to pick accommodation based on your specific needs and desires, whether it be the type of accommodation or the amenities that come with it.
Make sure to pay special attention to the dates you pick, the reviews and ratings, and the location of your booking and enjoy!
We wish you a very happy journey and the fluffiest of pillows in the future 🙂
Before you go, here is a list of other travel apps we love to use: