Finding great accomodation is a really important part of any backpacking trip. It is possible to stay in fantastic backpacker hostels without spending too much and breaking your budget, you just need to know where to find them!
Whether you’re looking for fantastic youth hostels in South America or cheap but elegant backpacker accomodation in Europe, it’s crucial to make the right choice. There are so many options out there so it’s easy to have the wool pulled over your eyes if you just go on how a hostel looks from the outside or what it looks like on a website.
I’ve taken a number of approaches on my backpacking trips, from finding a specific backpacker hostel in a guide book and booking ahead, to turning up in a town and wandering around until I stumble across somewhere that looks nice. I’ve had varying degrees of success with all the methods i’ve tried and occasionally stumbled across some absolute diamonds! But i’ve also experienced some shockers and these days I tend to take less risks than I used to.
One way of getting a reliable judgement of accomodation is by getting other people’s opinion. But when you’re backpacking around Asia or on the road in Africa you don’t always have someone you can turn to who has already visited the destination you’re heading to. This is why websites like Hostelworld and Hostelbookers are so good as they allow you to read loads of reviews on a huge amount of hostels and get a great picture of which accomodation is genuinely good. They are also up to date unlike most guide books which can often be misleading as once hostels are featured they tend to rest on their laurels and not be as good as they once were.
Personally I prefer Hostelbookers to Hostelworld as it has always given me the most reliable information and nearly everywhere i’ve stayed that has been recommended has lived up to expectation. It’s also much cheaper which is what we all like when we’re travelling on a backpacking budget!