Looking for an inexpensive yet decent place to stay on your travels? Hostels are one option. I stayed at two different hostels on my trip to the Netherlands this time around. I went to two boarding secondary schools, so I had an idea what it was like living in a hostel or a dormitory before, but this was my first time, going on a trip and personally booking to stay at a hostel. In this post I will first talk about my stay in both hostels and later on share on lessons learnt and tips for when choosing to stay at hostels.
Hostel 1: ClinkNOORD
The first hostel I stayed at was ClinkNOORD. While booking, I had the option to choose to stay in an 8, 10 and 16 bed mixed room. Or a 4 and 6 bed female dorm room. The 4 bed female dorm room was only more expensive by 4 euros compared to the 6 bed female, so yes I went for the 4 bed female dorm room.
The location was great, hostel is situated just next to the Amsterdam Central station and a bonus was the free ferry ride to the hostel. That was cool! The rooms were clean, bed linen were neat, the bed was comfortable. My bed space was equipped with enough charging ports and a reading light. Oh my room also had a nice window view. The hostel had a bar, kitchen, library, it wasn’t too noisy and hostel staff were really friendly. The Internet connection was okay, not very stable though.
My two days at the hostel were good, none of my stuff were stolen, this was even without using the lockers that were provided (of course I never left anything steal-able in the room when going out) Amsterdam is expensive and since this was a late booking I paid 51 euros for both nights.
Hostel 2: Hostelle
The 2nd hostel I stayed at was Hostelle, an all ladies hostel. It was located about 20 minutes metro ride from the Amsterdam Central Station. This time around I stayed in a 6 bed room. The price was similar 49 Euros. Yes Amsterdam is expensive.
It was quite easy to find also, only about 2-3 minutes walk from the Bijlmer Arena stadium. The rooms were more spacious, bed and linen clean and tidy. I didn’t have the option of a private bathroom this time around, I mean a bathroom in my room. I had to leave the room to use the toilets or bathroom. The lighting wasn’t personal, it was light for everyone or darkness for everyone. They had a common fridge for everyone, I thought that was awesome. The Internet here was really the best. Here, they also provided lockers for safe keeping of your stuff.
My two days here were quiet and quite what I needed. Location wise it was close to shops also, so I could walk to where I needed. The staff were okay.
Lessons learnt and Tips for when Choosing a Hostel
- Booking.com is the go to place when looking for hostels. I tried looking at other websites, but really booking.com had the cheapest prices, unless you decide to contact the hostel directly
- Always book hostels offering free cancellations and take notice of their deadlines, while for some its two days before arrival, for others it might be four days. Take notice.
- While looking for hostels always link the location of the potential hostel and the locations of the places you really need to go to. If you have an appointment somewhere, book a place close to where you need to be.
- Don’t book once and relax. keep checking for cheaper options. For my 2nd hostel, I cancelled the initial reservation, cause I found the same room at the same hostel for 8 euros cheaper. Haha, it may sound ridiculous but yeah, don’t stop looking for cheaper options.
- Still on location, ClinkNOORD was right at the city center, a couple of minutes walking from most of the attractions, in my 2 days there, it was easy going out all the time as I didn’t have to spend a dime on transportation. My 2nd hostel was 25 minutes away from the center by metro. So, remember to book your accommodation in consideration of transport costs also.
- Freebies, freebies, freebies. Check out what free stuff or incentives come with your booking. ClinkNOORD helped me join a free walking tour of Amsterdam and Hostelle provided an app where I got a few discounted tickets for a few of the attractions in Amsterdam.
- Read reviews on booking.com, tripadvisor. Not just one, read a lot. They could really help to steer you in the right direction. They could let you know what google maps missed out, if the pictures don’t correlate with the actual place or what attraction is around your place of stay to see.
- Ask questions. The receptionists are there to help you. If you feel you didn’t get something that was promised, speak up about it
- Be friendly, be open. Talk to the people in your room. Ask where they are from? why they are here? what attractions have they seen?
- Remember to keep hostel rules, its really not a big deal. It makes life easier for both you, your roommates and the hostel employees.
All in all, it was a great experience. A bit pricey, Amsterdam is an expensive city. Next time I would consider the rooms with more persons as its way cheaper, especially if I’m with a friend.
Whether solo travel, couples or family travel hostels are a great idea. I did meet some families at ClinkNOORD and they were having a blast.
What has your experience of hostels being like?