“ Hostel Bookers prides itself on being the only independent hostel booking site that has no booking fees. „
At the beginning of last June, my husband and I stayed for two nights at this guest house, owned and operated by Florian Kodra and his extended family, including parents, siblings, and others. The guest house is situated about 1.5 km outside of Shkodra (or Shkoder) in northwest Albania. Thus the setting is rural with a large garden featuring delicious vegetables used for the meals served to guests, especially dinner. We paid 30 Euros a night for our simple but comfortable double room plus breakfast and dinner. The food was prepared and served by family members; Florian ate and conversed with us. Basic, sturdy bicycles were available for guests without a car (like us) who needed a way (other than taxi) to visit Shkodra. A teen-aged nephew of Florian accompanied us on a bicycle-walking trip into this small but interesting city. He kindly showed us around various sights in the city center. On our first afternoon Florian took us to see a historical bridge in the vicinity. We also biked on country roads near the guest house. Florian and his relatives extended themselves to make us feel at home, and we found this setting to be an ideal retreat for weary travelers.
I used a B&B from the website and then never got to use the room that I paid for because the owner never showed up to give me the key. I was charged an extra 44 euros and hostelbookers refused to help me get my money back or prevent the same thing from happening to another person. I will never use this company again.
Only if I am going away for a very short time, or I have my heart set on staying somewhere in particular, do I book accommodation in advance. Most of my longer holidays involve touring and I like the flexibility of staying somewhere a bit longer if I really like the place, or making a crazy detour (like the time Himself and I decided to go to Armenia with less than one hour to get to Tbilisi's main train station and buy food and tickets - these simple tasks can take hours in post-Soviet Georgia) if the fancy takes me; therefore, I prefer not to make too many plans.
Occasionally, though, I need to book in advance, perhaps because I'm arriving late at night and don't want to trail round with a rucksack looking for a bed when all I want to do it grab a beer and something to eat after a day's travelling. On a weekend break, too, I just don't want to turn up looking for a room when my time is limited.
Usually I would prefer to deal directly with hostels when making bookings but, especially in the part of the world I travel to, they don't all have websites (though this is becoming less common) or the websites can simply fail to work even thought the hostel is in operation. There are other issues associated with finding information in this way: I usually have to open a new window to keep a currency converter website close at hand, and another to find reviews from people who've stayed there. I might have to search for maps if the hostel website doesn't have one, even bus and train timetables if it looks like I might have to use public transport to get to the place.
Fortunately there are a number of websites where you can get all of this information in one place. Hostelbookers is the one I tend to use most and there are several reasons for my preference.
The premise is very simple. You search the database of hostels and budget hotels using the search criteria of destination and date and the results can be filtered by price, customer rating or the type of room available. You can also choose what currency your results are listed in - Dollars (Australian, US or Canadian), British Pounds, Euro or Argentinian Pesos (yes, really!) Like the look of one, or want to know more? Simply click on one of the results to get further details.
There'll be an overview of the accommodation, as well as details about the facilities (for example - whether there is internet access, a laundry facility or service, meals, what's included in the price, etc). In my experience these details tend to be spot on. The hostel's cancellation policy is also on this page and I would urge anyone making a booking to read it carefully.
There's a link to customer ratings which are presented as a percentage along with comments. They are listed by date so you can see at a glance how recently those reviewers have stayed there. These can be very helpful but they are usually quite brief and if there aren't many reviews or the comments vary widely in terms of positive or negative feedback, I'd suggest looking at alternative sites for reviews. Finally you can see a map with the location of the hostel along with directions from the nearest stations.
The site is easy to navigate and I've always found it runs fast and no parts of the site have ever presented as unavailable. The presentation is bright and colourful without being garish and there isn't too much clutter on the page.
If the type of room you have asked for is not available on a particular date, you'll be given the opportunity to choose a different type at the same property - for example, you may have requested a double but there are only triples available, or you asked for a room with an en suite bathroom but only rooms with shared bathroom are available. When you proceed with your booking, each night will be shown so you can see exactly how much you are paying - this is useful because some accommodation can cost more on certain days or dates.
Hostelbookers claim they are the cheapest of the online booking agencies; they say that they are a whopping 8.7% cheaper than Hostelworld (in 95% of destinations surveyed) which may not sound like much but it soon adds up if you are booking a few nights or multiple destinations. However, I have checked out the price on several occasions in comparison with booking directly with the property and I haven't found Hostelworld to be more costly - the price has been exactly the same. In this situation I'll usually book with Hostelworld because you can get cash-back at a number of websites (at the moment www.topcashback.co.uk offer cash-back of 5.05%), but due to a couple of problems with hostel booking websites in the past I also contact the hostel directly to ensure they have my booking. Hostelworld must be very confident that they are the cheapest because they offer a double the difference offer if you can find the same property at a cheaper price: this is something I see as a challenge but so far I'm stumped!
Another positive is that Hostelbookers don't charge a booking fee - which can be confirmed when you go directly to the hostel to check their prices. A ten per cent deposit is requested at the time of making the reservation; this must be done by Mastercard or Visa. The balance is paid in person on arrival at the hostel.
So far I've not had any issues with bookings I've made through this website, all the problems have been with competitors of Hostelbookers. Nonetheless I would strongly urge contacting the hostel directly to confirm your booking just in case anything goes wrong, and do print out your booking confirmation to take with you when checking in.
Hostelbookers still have a few gaps in their catalogue of accommodation but are pretty comprehensive in terms of coverage. I have found a few places that have several hostels but where Hostelbookers still don't have a connection so it would be nice if they could manage to fill those gaps. One minor problem with the website is that they list hostels and hotels separately which isn't really necessary as many hostels these days can hardly be distinguished from hotels, while some places claiming to be hotels are little more than a glorified hostel. It's bit frustrating to have to check both strands but it's worthwhile as some hotels can be as cheap as hostels and some may suit your needs better.
Although it wouldn't be my first port of call for travel information, Hostelbookers does have some fairly interesting and useful travel guides; unfortunately though, the news section hasn't been added to since February 2010 which is a shame as it used to be a good way to find travel ideas. This has probably been superseded by the Hostelbookers blog which is bright, colourful and well illustrated. This section of the site has some really exciting competitions, all with travel related prizes of course.
So far I have found Hostelbookers to be a really useful site which saves me time and doesn't entail any extra expense for its services. It's great for price comparisons and the ability to filter the search results in different ways makes it really helpful to me. With over 18000 hostels and budget hotels listed the choice is fairly comprehensive. The customer reviews are helpful and usually pretty accurate which is great because I have found that some websites tend to attract comments only from the most angry visitors who seem unable to give a sensible appraisal.
Booked through HostelBookers for Laird and Dog, Lasswade. The booking was cancelled only 5 days before visit, despite having accepted the booking and taken a deposit 5 weeks before. No reason was given just an email stating 'Sorry for the inconvevience" Dreadful service. Emails to Hostel Bookers and Laird and Dog unanswered
Don't use this site. They sold me the room that never existed in hotel's offer. When I paid the deposit, they recalculated it in GBP, so after the transaction, my total amount paid was about 10Euro bigger than dealed. Finaly, they didn't publish my review about the hotel (which was fine), because I mentioned them in negative context, trying to warn other people about their obvious unprofessionality. Hostelbookers - never again!
I am person who has booked a Hostel in paris I have informed the hostelbooker in advance for cancellation but they didnt cancell it and knowingly kept it delay after 5th day they told me that we have charged in your credit card . Which is supring for me so its my request to you all never book through hostel bookers .com these people are charging lot of money for service and after that they dont give you any service so if you have nay question for this higly unprofessional people please send me the mail -firstname.lastname@example.org and i can give you all the reply i got from them so that you people will not face any problem always i recpommend you to please book directly from hostel not from these people hostel bookers and hostel world. just get the name of hostel from there website and then search from net and book by your self these people has tie up with hotel for cheating people.
I will never use hostelbookers.com ever again. It's run out of London by unfriendly people and they were dishonest with me. I had booked a hotel in Italy through them for 5 days and paid a fee $35 in advance. There was an error and when I asked them to simply rebook on the same hotel, they told me I would have to pay another fee again. Despite my numerous emails (they do not answer phone calls), hostelbookers never returned my money. I did not pay again for the same service, so they just ignored me. It left a bad taste about the entire British business. Stay away from hostelbookers, go to other services before you consider this shady business from London.
This is a really handy website, you can book your accommodation and pay 10% of the cost as a deposit, but there are no booking fees. This is relatively rare amongst hostel booking websites, hence it's popularity. However, there are a few drawbacks. Hostelbookers makes its money by taking the deposit as its fee, and as such not all hostels want to use them. I've found that I can't find a number of hostels on hostelbookers which have been recommended to me, and instead I've had to go to other sites, like hostels.com to book them.
I also had a bad experience with the company earlier this year, where I booked a hostel in bratislava for a few days, and hostelbookers didn't email through any confirmation that I had booked the beds. I'm an experienced traveller and had done the process properly, but found that I didn't get any response to my queries when I emailed the company, and they only responded when I left an indignant public message on their facebook fan page. They still didn't send through any confirmation, despite promising to do so. It wasn't a problem, I was just annoyed at their bad customer service.
I haven't had any problems since though, and have used the company recently. All in all I would recommend them, although it's worth checking out other sites as well, in case the selection on hostelbookers is limited.
I have been using hostelbookers for the past few weeks to book my hostels for travelling round the world.
Firstly, go through quidco, and then you can get cashback on the full amount that you will end up paying, even though at the time of booking you only pay a 10% deposit. You have to do each booking seperately but you have to do this anyway, all my bookings have tracked and have scheduled payments.
I was recommended this site through a forum on gapyear.com. It turned out to be one of the only sites that didnt charge a booking fee on booking hostels.
The site is very easy to use, you just search for the city or place you want to stay, and it comes up with all the youth hostels in that area. Most have ratings or comments, so you get a small idea of what it might be like to stay there. I would check the reviews on tripadvisor.com as well, as they are a bit more detailed.
Then input your dates that you want to stay there, choose how many people, and what type of room. We are staying in shared rooms as they work out loads cheaper.
The booking goes through to the hostel, and you receive an email confirmation through hostelbookers almost immediately.
I have booked 6 hostels through this site, and payed 10% deposit on each one. It was easy to use, the site was quick and there were loads of pictures and directions to each hostel. You pay per night per person, and it totalled up the cost before you went through with your credit card details.
I would definately recommend this site for easy use, and if you are looking for budget accomodation worldwide. If your looking for luxury then use expedia as these are all hostels and wont be a 5 * hotel with a pool or anything.