Find Great Hostels For Your International Vacation With This Helpful Tool

Gen Z, go and find a Millennial or Gen X elder, and ask them to tell the wild, tall, and unbelievable tales of their backpacking youth before the iPhone ever existed. How did they ever get around international cities without Google Maps? (We ripped the maps out of the Lonely Planet guidebooks, tbh). How did they ever find activities and attractions to visit while in town? (We flipped through the pamphlets at the local tourism office). And horror of horrors, how did they get around town without Uber? (We, uh, walked). 

Millennials and Gen X'ers also had to find accommodation at the local hostels through truly primitive means: They had to call the hostel phone number listed in the guidebook, hoping it still worked, to book a bunk for the night. After the proliferation of the internet, they could find hostel bookings online, but before smartphones, that meant booking hostels weeks, if not months, in advance on a desktop computer. These days, backpackers are spoiled by the convenience of iPhones and Androids, meaning they can book their accommodation while already on the road, merely days — or even hours — before they arrive. And if you're wondering if there's an app for that — why yes, there is. It's considered the top-rated and most popular hostel booking tool, and you are going to want to download it ASAP before your next international jaunt. 

The Hostelworld app lists thousands of hostels

Free to download and offering over 35,0000 hostel bookings from 170 countries, HostelWorld is a must-have if you want to hostel your way across Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, New Zealand, or even the USA and Canada. The hostel booking site has been around for a lot longer than smartphones, however, as it debuted all the way back in 1999 and was originally intended for hostels only in Dublin, Ireland. However, it quickly morphed into a global enterprise. With over 5 million downloads on Google Play and top ratings from tech/travel sites Zdnet and IndieTraveller, the user interface is super friendly and easy-peasy. Just type in the city you want to visit, including your dates, and adjust the filters to organize listings by price (low or high) or ratings (high or low), and voila! You are presented with dozens of listings featuring colorful photos, lists of amenities, guest ratings, and different types of room options. For solo women travelers, there are options to book women-only dorm rooms, and most hostels also offer private rooms. 

Hostels are no longer the smelly, dirty frat houses once derided in eponymous horror movies. Now, there are even awards for the best modern, refurbished, cozy, and friendly hostels available on the app, called the "Hoscars," per The Guardian, where boutique hostels with innovative, Instagram-worthy interior designs are lauded. With the average hostel price going for €14.90 ($16.28 USD), per Hostelworld's annual report, you can stay in a gorgeous, modern room for less than the price of dinner!

HostelWorld app allows backpackers to connect before they even check in

What sets HostelWorld apart from other accommodation booking tools is one of their new features that allows you to connect with other backpackers who will be staying at the same location as you at the same time. So if you're jonesing for a temporary travel buddy or looking for a lifelong friend, the Solo System feature in-app is key. GlobeTrender reported that HostelWorld's survey of its own users found that 76% choose a hostel based on the ability to make new friends on-site, and 77% want activity buddies when they're on the road. HostelWorld CEO Gary Morrison told the outlet, "We've always known that our customers choose to stay in hostels as a means to meet other people. By powering social connections through our platform before our customers even get to their destination, we are giving them an incredibly compelling reason to book with Hostelworld." 

So the Solo System feature not only facilitates introductions to your future bunk mates but there's also a chat function where you can get to know them and view their public profiles. The app also offers a Hostel Speak function that will translate your messages to other backpackers in 43 languages.