Our top-10 list of what makes a good hostel

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This list is our own personal top-ten features of a good hostel, based on what we have seen and experienced in our travels. During our year-long trip around the world we stayed in a lot of hostels, and by the end the year away we came up with this list of what we consider every good hostel should have. If we just bought and ran our own hostel like as dreamed, these are the first things we would make sure happens.

Rob having a Beer in Phuket Thailand
Hanging out the front of our hotel in Phuket, Thailand.
  1. Hot water — after a long day of sightseeing, a nice hot shower is often highest on your mind. Surprisingly, a good flowing hot water system is not a given.
  2. Friendly staff — you want staff that are always there to answer your questions, who then don’t hassle you to go on their tours. Do I sound jaded?
  3. Quiet evenings  — at the end of a day touring, you appreciate a quiet time in the night that is enforced, and rooms that are sound-proofed.
  4. Individual bed lights  — arriving late at night you don’t like to turn on the main light to find your bed, and the bed light is handy for reading your guidebook in bed preparing for the next day’s activities.
  5. Free breakfast  — when you are on the road travelling long term, it is a simple pleasure of breakfast waiting for you when you wake up. It can be a cheap thing for them to supply, and it makes a great start to the day.
  6. Soap supplied in bathrooms  — too many times there is no soap. Another simple and cheap thing to provide that can make a stay much more enjoyable.
  7. Hooks to hang your own clothesline  — being able to hand wash and hang out your clothes is an essential requirement of a backpacker. Using time and having to pay for washing is hard to accept.
  8. Showers with a place for placing your things  — in shared bathrooms, there is often nowhere to put your belongings without getting them wet. It doesn’t have to be that hard.
  9. A kitchen  — Being able to cook your own meals saves time and money. You can also cook your comfort food from home and have a break from the local food.
  10. Free WIFI — this is expected nowadays, but not always available when we were backpacking around. Getting connected is convenient for booking the next hostel, and researching the places you are visiting.

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