Hostels, originally, had always been a preference for backpackers and those traveling on a budget.

However, today they are increasingly becoming a preferred hotel alternative, not only for their obvious cheap prices, but also because they offer travelers an opportunity to meet other travelers from all over the world.

What is a Hostel?

Usually utilized by backpackers traveling on a budget, hostels are more legit, economical accommodation alternatives to hotels.

Rooms in hostels are mostly in the form of dorms with multiple beds, which are shared by several travelers. This goes for facilities and other services too.

Nowadays, almost all hostels offer the option of booking a private room for those who do not wish to share. Hostels share the same common lounges and living rooms, making it a terrific place to interact with other travelers around the globe. Such hostels usually have a self-catering kitchen instead of the formal kitchenette of hotels.

What is Hostelworld?

Hostelworld is one of the largest websites for reserving hostels and budget-friendly accommodations.

It has an extensive global list of around 36,000 properties located in 170 countries. Apart from this, it also has a vast user base, with approximately 10 million reviews written by verified users.

Hostelworld is easy to use and hassle-free when it comes to searching for hostels and the booking process. The reviews on the site are legitimately genuine since the users leaving the reviews were guests.

There also does not seem to be a booking fee charged, which had baffled me, but then I found the reason why and I will talk about it below. The site also provides a Best Price Guarantee, but more on this later.

Is Hostelworld Safe to Use?

Yes, Hostelworld is legit and safe to use for booking and other purposes. It offers a secure payment gateway during reservation. Users do not face overbooking and any other usual booking concerns that travelers commonly face.

How to use Hostelworld

Using Hostelworld is quite straightforward and unproblematic. Input the necessary information: the destination you are visiting, your dates of travel, and the number of travelers. And it will create an all-inclusive list of available hostels during the duration of your travel schedule.

Once the list has been generated, you can filter the search results according to user ratings or by the hostels’ prices. I recommend you do this as using the filters will enable you to find a hostel that easily matches your requirements.

list of available hostels in Ubud, Bali, from Hostelworld website - screenshot

When you find a hostel that matches your requirements, view the hostel’s page. You will be provided an option to see the ratings given by users by different categories (like location, character, security, staff, atmosphere, and cleanliness) and overall the score.

Hostelworld is also available as an app on Android and iOS

While doing research, I came across several hostel reviews where the users complained about the amenities and facilities descriptions provided by the hostels did not match in person. Though this issue did not occur regularly, I did come across some. My suggestion is to research your chosen hostel thoroughly, not only on the Hostelworld website but also on the hostel’s website itself. In some circumstances, this happens due to information not being updated on the site. 

Why Use It?

Hostelworld makes it extremely easy for travelers to book hostels matching their requirements. All you have to do is feed in the following essential information:

  1. Your destination
  2. Your preferred location
  3. The number of travelers (whether you are traveling as a group or traveling solo)
  4. Your check-in date and check-out date

The site has a substantial catalog of hostels and properties from 170 countries. It generates a wide-ranging list of hostels that measure up to your essential prerequisites.

Along with this, they also have an extensive and verified user-base with millions of reviews that are authentic and informative. Going through these reviews will help you decide whether the hostel is suited to your needs.

Hostelworld also offers a Best Price Guarantee to all its users. Under this policy, they guarantee that if you find a lower price for the same accommodation and facilities, they will refund the difference between the prices.

There are, of course, some reasonable terms and conditions that need to be fulfilled before you benefit from this policy. I suggest that you go through these terms and conditions carefully at the time of the booking.

Hostelworld also provides a 24/7 readily available customer service for any concerns that may come up.

Refund/Cancellation Policy

Almost all hostels listed on Hostelworld, in general, provide the following 2 booking options:

  1. Non-flexible booking – this kind of booking does not offer the option of a refund in the event of cancellation or a no show.
  2. Standard Flexible booking

A lot of hostels provide 4 booking alternatives:

  1. Free Cancellation booking
  2. Flexible booking – this booking gives you the option of keeping your booking flexible for an extra fee of 1€.
  3. Non-flexible booking
  4. Non-refundable booking

As far as the cancellation is concerned, it needs to be done at least 24 hours in advance of your arrival to avoid cancellation fees or a no-show charge. The presence or absence of any such cancellation fee is mentioned on the hostel details page. The amount of the fee will depend on the hostel.

How does Hostelworld Make Money?

Hostelworld does not charge any booking fees, which led me to wonder how they make money.

Research shows that Hostelworld charges the hostels a commission of 10% to 25% for every booking made via their website. This inevitably means there is a possibility that hostel prices via Hostelworld increases by this percentage, which would, in turn, suggest that booking directly on the hostel website would be cheaper.

The absence of reservation fees is made up of this commission charged by Hostelworld. But I guess all the booking sites that do not charge their users booking charges earn money this way, so this should come as no surprise to those of you who were aware of this (I, however, was not!). 

Alternatives to Hostelworld

I found plenty of alternatives to Hostelworld, but instead of mentioning all of them, I have decided to mention the ones that I think are the best ones. I have selected the following based on the ease of use and how interesting and engaging they are:

  1. Booking.com – this seems to be the most popular alternative website to Hostelworld. On this site, you can not only book hostels but also book other types of accommodations like hotels, apartments, etc.
  2. Hostelz.com – a lot like Hostelworld, but with the bonus of a comparison tool for prices on other websites.