While you are on the road, there are a few different ways of booking a hostel. You can either book online, call the hostel or simply just turn up at the hostel and book directly with them. Does it make a difference which option you choose? It can make a huge difference. The best, fastest and stress-free way for you to book a hostel is to do it ONLINE via a hostel booking service and many times it’s much cheaper booking online than with the hostel itself.
Here is a short story of why it’s better to pre-book online BEFORE you arrive…
While in Bali last year we stayed at a hostel that we really liked, so we decided to go back there a second time for a few days before leaving to Malaysia. We figured there was no need to pre-book, but to simply showed up at the reception in the morning.
We were then told that the only rooms left that were available were the luxury suites, which turned out to cost a whole lot more.
So what choice did we have?
Well, we went outside, sat down at the porch next to the hotel security-guard, and used their free Wi-Fi connection from our laptop.
We saw that the cheaper rooms WERE available to book online for the next day, which was strange since the receptionist said they weren’t. We booked the next two nights online and went back inside.
The receptionist was pretty surprised, and maybe a bit embarassed as we caught him lying, both about the room availability and the obvious massive price difference.
All of a sudden there were cheaper rooms available for us today 🙂
Just as a side note, while staying there we saw no other people other than a family of four and a couple – the place was empty…
Lesson Learnt: It’s cheaper and easier to pre-book online!
Where To Book A Hostel:
Here is a list of websites which run a service connecting you to hotels all over the world:
1. Hostelbookers – This is the one we use the most, and the first website we go to when searching for hostels. They have no added booking fees, and heaps of choices all over the world so they always end up been the cheapest option.
2. Hostelworld – This company is the biggest one, it often has more options, looks flashier and is easier to use. When booking with them you also get a small guide of the town you’re staying in.
They do however add a booking fee, and many times they’re a bit more expensive than at Hostelbookers.
3. Hi Hostels – Hosteling International: Hosteling International is the brand name of more than 90 Youth Hostel Associations in 90 countries, operating 4,000 hostels.
If you’re a member of the association you get a cheaper price staying in their hostels. You also get reduced-price admission to attractions and museums, discounts on meals, transportation and more.
If you want to read more about the membership and how it works, click here.
4. YHA -Youth Hostel Association: This is an association that is part of HiHostels. There isn’t just one website that covers all countries, but one for each country, with the main one being Austrialia.
How The Online Booking Works:
The great thing about booking online is that you only need to put down a 10% deposit on the room, with the rest payable once you have arrived.
This is how the booking process works: Once you have gone to one of the hostel services above, selected your hostel for the night, and which dorm you want – you put down the deposit using your credit card (don’t worry about this, they all have security protection against credit-card fraud) and then your booking is confirmed.
They will send you an email with this confirmation and also include directions telling you the best way to get there – which buses, and trains to take etc.
So Which Hostel Is Best?
The online booking websites mentioned above have short descriptions of each hostel, and most of them also have customer reviews you can check out. This is probably the best way to get an idea of what the hostel is really like. There are many customer reviews and they are completely honest.
Next to each hostel is a ranking system which is voted on by the customers, with details about how good the location was, how clean etc.
Lastly if you’d like a more detailed description about a specific hostel they usually have their own website, which you can check out via one of the sites above.