How to Choose the Perfect Hostel

Whenever people contact me about travel planning – one question I always get is:

Where should I stay? How do I know if it’s good?

First off, finding the perfect hostel for you is entirely up to YOUR preferences. Some people like quiet, calm boutique hostels. Some people like party hostels where people go to sleep at 6 AM. Some people like the in-between hostels.

In this blog post we’re going to dive in to finding and choosing the perfect hostel for you.

I always book my hostels with HostelWorld because it will provide all of the information you will find below.

1. Breakfast

So, for me, one of the main things I search for in hostels is free breakfast. Nine times out of ten it’s probably going to be bread, fruit, and cornflakes….but it’s free and you’ll save a lot of money not eating out for breakfast every single day. Some hostels do better and give you eggs or other options. (BANANA PANCAKES, YES!) Also, check into the times of the breakfast because if it’s from 7 AM – 9 AM is it worth it? Can you survive that?

If it’s free it’s fo me.

One of the breakfast options at MB Backpackers in Arequipa, Peru

2. Social scene / common areas

Especially if you are a solo traveler, social scenes in hostels are super important. Common areas in hostels are awesome because there’s always other fellow travelers hanging around and that makes a great opportunity to make friends. I always look through photos and reviews on HostelWorld to take a peak into the social scene. People tend to write about if it was social or if they felt a tad lonely due to the lack of common spaces….

Common area in Feel Iquique Hostel in Iquique, Chile

3. Activities, please!

One of my favorite things about hostels are the daily activities that some hostels offer. There’s nothing better than BBQ nights, karaoke, pub crawls, game nights, and hostel beer pong tournaments. Some hostels even do activities like paint balling, white water rafting, and more. Check into the reviews and “extras” that the hostels offer. Activities are a great way to meet people from all over the world and have FUN.

Wednesday activity at MB Backpackers in Arequipa: RAFTING!

4. Rooms

What kind of traveler are you? Are you a “I DON’T CARE” backpacker who doesn’t mind staying in a room with 16 other people, or are you a traveler who enjoys their space and quiet and prefers a 4 person dorm or even a private? Before you decide on your hostel, check out the room options and see if it fits your wants and needs.



5. Location

A hostel may look perfect – but check the fine print and see its location. You probably don’t want to be 45 minutes away from all of the main things you want to see (unless you’re looking for a quiet getaway). If it’s super far, you’re going to end up spending so much money just on transportation to and from your hostel. Definitely do a map check before booking!

Feel Iquique Hostel RIGHT across the street from the beach

6. Check-in and check-out times

Oh my god, is there anything worse than hostels that have check-outs before 10 AM? NO. There isn’t. Hostel managers….if your check-out time is 10 AM or earlier, you are the devil. SO inconvenient. Also – hostels that have fairly early check-in times are awesome because if you’re arriving earlier in the day you don’t have to wait until 4 PM to put away your things and find your bed for the night. Especially if you’re tired and you need that mid-day siesta, ya feel me?

7. Lockers

I honestly don’t even know how some hostels function without large lockers. This is 100000% necessary in every hostel. Staying in a hostel with lockers big enough to hold your valuable possessions is super important – you shouldn’t have to worry about your items getting stolen as you enjoy the city. Extra points for the hostels that have lockers big enough to hold your entire bag. (I love those under-the-bed lockers that you can turn into a closet for the few days you’re there…..SCORE!)

8. Party scene, or nah?

Do you want a chill hostel? Do you want a party hostel where you can stay in the comfort of your own hostel and party until 5 AM? Do you just want a hostel with a bar that closes at a decent time? Every city has a party hostel. If you’re in South America I highly recommend looking into Wild Rover and Loki hostels (guaranteed good times EVERY day of the week). Some hostels are chill but can help you out with where to catch the party scene…..and you can still get a good nights rest. Or you can go for the in-between hostel. The ones that have bars and happy hours – but they quiet down around 11 PM.


Hopefully this article helped you out when it comes to finding the “perfect” hostel.

Have you stayed in a hostel that fits ALL of these? Let me know in the comments below, I want to check it out.

Thanks for reading, venture through my blog and see if any other articles may be of interest to you. Don’t forget to subscribe to get e-mails when I post new articles.

Follow along with my world travels through photos on Instagram here @askimtravels


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