Once you’ve stayed in a hostel and experienced the great international atmosphere and community of travelers, you’ll just want to keep coming back. The hostels of the Independent Hostels are not just a place to sleep, eat or drink. These are places with tailored services for every single guest, with cozy common rooms, uniquely designed rooms and friendly, well-informed employees. Here you will meet fellow travelers from all over the world. And all at unbeatable prices.
What is a hostel?
A hostel is a cheap accommodation for travelers – especially backpackers – that you can find anywhere in the world. Hostels are also called ‘youth hostels’. In a hostel you will find everything you need to get a door-to-door feeling. Most hostels have a kitchen, bathrooms, TV room or lounge, shared bedrooms and private rooms. Hostels are therefore different from hotels because they are cheaper and more homely and because they facilitate interaction between travelers, for example in common areas. Some hostels also have a ‘travel desk’ – where you can get travel information and, for example, book activities, transportation or other accommodation – or computers with internet.
What is a ‘dorm room’or ‘dormitory’?
A dorm is usually a large room or hall with several beds, often also bunk beds which can be booked individually by different guests, in short you book and pay only one bed and not the entire room as usual.
Private rooms also have different variants. There are ‘single rooms’ (rooms for one person), ‘twin rooms’ (for two people, usually with a bunk bed but sometimes also with two separate beds), ‘double rooms’ (room with a double bed) and sometimes also a ‘family rooms’ or ‘multi rooms’ (rooms with room for a third person, often this is a bunk bed with a double bed and above that a bed). Private rooms are usually more luxuriously equipped. This way they can have their own bathroom, television or fridge.
What other facilities do hostels have?
In the larger hostels you can sometimes find a hostel bar or even a restaurant, but smaller hostels usually have offers for their guests in bars and restaurants in the area. You can sometimes get a free breakfast.
What this breakfast consists of depends on the country you visit.
Other facilities that you can expect are laundry rooms with washing machines and dryers, the possibility of exchanging books, bicycle rental, swimming pools, roof terraces and things like a pool table or a sports field.
There are hostels that can pick you up and drop you off at an airport, bus or train station.
Many hostels have a ‘luggage room’, or an enclosed space where you can leave your suitcase or backpack when you arrive and your room cannot yet enter or when you are checked out, but are not yet leaving. There are also hostels that can store your bag for you for a few days, for example if you go on a tour and then stay in the same hostel again.
The check-in and check-out times vary per hostel, but you usually have to be out of your room between ten and twelve in the morning and you can move into your room as a new guest after the cleaning round.
Is staying in a hostel safe?
The advantage of hostels with smaller rooms is that you get to know your roommates quickly, that you can rent a complete room with friends, that the chance of snoring in the room is smaller and especially that there is more social control. If you know your roommates better, the chance of, for example, theft is a lot smaller.
Most hostels offer the possibility to safely store your valuables. Then, for example, there is a safe in the room – it can be small, but sometimes so large that it can fit a complete backpack – or a drop-off point at the reception. You usually have to bring your own lock to lock the lockers.
It depends on the hostel what kind of key you get. This can be a ‘normal’ key, a key card (sort of bank card) that you have to pass through a slot or a key ring with in addition to a normal key, an extra electric key that can open an outside door 24 hours a day, for example. There are also hostels where you can only go to the floor of your room with your room key in the elevator and not to the rest of the building. Some hostels have a code on the outside door after a certain time, which changes daily. In some cases you may bring the key yourself and at some hostels you must hand in the key at the reception when you leave. You can pick it up again when you return. If you are allowed to keep the key yourself all the time, you have to pay a deposit at some hostels in case you lose the key.
Do I have to bring sheets to a hostel? Can I use a sleeping bag in a hostel?
Most hostels will not allow guests to use their own sleeping bag from a hygienic point of view. You will receive the sheets during check-in at the reception or they will be on the bed. The beds are already made in most private rooms. Depending on the weather you will get an (extra) blanket. When checking out, guests from a dorm room are often asked to bring their sheets or only their pillowcase to the reception.
What you can use in most hostels are cloth bags. Read more about this in our article about the sheet.
It is usually expected that guests bring their own towels, but in some hostels you can borrow or rent towels.
Who can stay in a hostel? Am I too old for a hostel?
In fact, every traveler can stay in a hostel, whether you are a backpacker, student, family, couple, solo traveler or senior. Keep in mind that a hostel is often located in a tourist area and that there are a large number of young (partying) backpackers. It can be noisy especially on weekends, although most hostels ask their guests to be quiet around ten in the evening. If you have no major problems with this and would like to get to know other people, then a hostel is great accommodation for you.
What is the difference between a hotel and a hostel?
A few years ago with modern hotels, hotels and pensions, with other beets in principle rooms in apartments. The main difference is the price, which were hosted in hostels in the beds line in shared rooms, which means cousin that private rooms are not available.
How much does a hostel cost?
In addition to the country and destination, the type of room and the time of year affect the price of a night in a hostel. Dorms are cheaper than private rooms. Prices are high during the Christmas and New Year period, especially in large cities such as Sydney and New York. You may also be asked to book a minimum number of days. For current prices always look on the website of the hostel or call for information.
Hosts may offer an ‘internet special’ for a dorm room or private rooms through their online booking system. This means that you can book a specific room with internet discount. Often you have to be quick, because only a limited number of rooms are sold for this price. Booking on time is therefore important.
If you do not have a booking, you are often still just welcome in a hostel. You just walk into the hostel. As a ‘walk in’ you pay a standard price, often slightly higher than the internet price. Ask in your hostel if there is a discount if you want to stay for a week or more.
Where can I book a hostel?
As mentioned, many hostels have their own website with an online booking system, so check it first to find prices and get an impression of the hostel.
Other websites that you can consult to book a hostel and read visitor reviews include Hostelworld.com, Hostelbookers.com and Hostels.com.
Numerous hostels in different countries are offered on these websites. These sites receive a percentage of your room price as a commission. Sometimes the prices of rooms and beds are therefore cheaper on the website of the hostel itself. The hostel earns more anyway when you book directly with the hostel instead of through one of these websites. Furthermore, you will always have to make a deposit via the booking sites, which is a part of the total amount (deposit). Usually this is between 10 to 25% of the total amount, or the price for the first night in the hostel. On arrival you pay the remaining amount. When making online bookings, a credit card is often required. This gives hostels the certainty that they can make the down payment and that they have covered the costs of the first night, should the guest not show up or only later.
There are also websites or travel agents where you pay the full amount in advance, so that you only have to show a printout of your reservation receipt upon arrival. For example, take a look at Booking.com, Agoda.com, Wotif.com, Expedia.com (USA), Expedia.com.au (Australia) or Peterpans.com (Australia).
What is a Hostelling international (HI), International youth hostel association (IYHF) or Youth hostel association (YHA)?
Hostelling international is the brand name of the non-profit organization International youth hostel federation and the associated associations, such as YHA or Stayokay in the Netherlands. You do not need a membership to stay in one of the affiliated hostels, but with a membership you do get a discount on the rooms. Often you have earned back the membership if you stay in one of the affiliated hostels for more than six days.
The hostels that carry the HI or YHA logo are of good quality almost everywhere. They are clean and there are many facilities. A disadvantage of these hostels is that there is a somewhat impersonal atmosphere because all hostels meet the same standards and that you meet people less easily than in a smaller hostel. The hostels are very suitable for families, large groups and travelers who are very fond of peace, cleanliness and regularity. It happens in many of these hostels that there is a certain ‘lock out’ period; that you cannot enter the room because it is being cleaned. Another disadvantage is that the prices of the hostels are often high, but you do get quality in return.
What is an independent hostel?
An independent hostel is a hostel that is not affiliated with a large organization, but that is run by individuals or by a small group of people. In general, these hostels are less strict and more personal in nature.
There is usually no curfew (specific time you need to be in. The independent hostels are often located in the tourist areas of the city and there is usually more to experience than in an HI / YHA hostel. It can occur in individually run hostels that the cleaning is not good and the hostels are usually less suitable for children.
Special offers: check our discount codes
As a special offer there are our discount codes. You can get this when you stay in one of the participating hostels or directly here on the website. With these codes you will get a discount on your accommodation price in the next hostel. It’s all very simple and helps you save even more money on your overnight stay – and experience more on your trip.