How to find the best deal on Hostels
If you are really into saving the pennies than this is a process you can go through to find the best deal on budget accommodation. Repeat it every time you need to book a hostel and you’ll find the best one at the cheapest price. It’s especially useful if you’re making a big group booking as although the differences in prices are often small they do add up.
Hostelword has the widest range of hostels for most destinations and an effective review and rating system so it’s easy to work out the ones that appeal to you. However they don’t always offer the best deal. Have a browse through hostels in the place you want to visit by using their search function for the dates of your intended stay. Keep tabs open for two or three hostels that grab your eye but don’t book anything yet.
If you end up booking on hostelworld then you pay 12% of the total cost of your stay in advance online (either by paypal or debit/credit card) and the rest when you arrive at the hostel. For £1 you can get deposit protection which means if you cancel you can use what you paid for another booking. The site recommends you do this but it’s only really worth it if you’re unsure about your travel plans.
STEP 2 – Check Hostelbookers & compare prices
Hostelbookers is very similar to hostelworld but doesn’t have as many hostels to choose from. However quite often they have better prices than hostelworld so find the hostels you found on hostelworld and see if they are cheaper here. If any of them are cheaper on hostelbookers then close the hostelworld tab and leave the hostelbookers one open.
Again payment involves a 12% ‘deposit’ and the rest you pay at the hostel. £1.50 extra and you protect your payment which means you get your money back if you cancel provided it’s a certain amount of time (usually 48 hours) before your arrival date. This is only really worth it if you’re booking in advance and aren’t clear on your plans.
This is the final site worth checking and lately we’ve started using them more and more. They are one of the few mainstream accommodation booking sites to include a wide range of hostels including dorms in their search results. Again fill in the searchbox with your destination and dates.
You will probably get a lot of results so use their filtering section to narrow down the search and be sure to order them from lowest price to highest as this site includes lots of more expensive options. Compare the prices with your other tabs (closing the more expensive ones) and quickly see if there any other hostels or apartments you like the look of that weren’t on the other sites.
Often you can cancel your booking for free (this will be made clear when you book if it’s possible) with these chaps. The downside is that although the price is very clear sometimes it’s not obvious exactly how much you are paying in advance and how much you pay on arrival. Sometimes the hostels opt to take 50% or even full payment out of your debit card and sometimes they don’t bother and you pay in full on arrival. Check your statement before arriving to see how much you’ve been charged and how much you owe.
STEP 4 – Pick a Hostel and Book it!
You should now have a selection of hostels to choose from and can be confident you have found the best available price. Spend a few minutes reading a bit more about the hostel and it’s recent reviews. Pay close attention to it’s location and how convenient it will be for you. If your stay is a short one consider staying near the bus or train station. Once you’ve chosen the one you want then book it. Hostels can fill up very quickly as most of them are small places so if you wait to book, you risk the room or dorm you want selling out.
Extra Info about Booking Hostels
These are the three sites that we use to book hostels and booking online via them is almost always cheaper than booking directly with the hostel either in advance or on the day. Often you will find the same properties are featured on two or possibly even all three sites but the prices aren’t always the same. Indeed sometimes even though technically you are booking exactly the same bed or room there is quite a difference in cost so unless you’re in a major rush it’s definitely worth checking them all before you book a hostel. If you’ve not stayed in hostels before or are a bit confused by some of the lingo then check out our article on staying in youth hostels.
This post was last updated in August 2015.