The best method of finding the perfect hostel is to do research and know what you want. Without that, you will most likely turn up at one you don’t like. It’s important to know how big of a hostel you like, the atmosphere you desire, the type of traveler that goes there, the facilities it has, and its location.
Hostels are generally for younger travelers. They are meant for people looking to connect, party, and, sometimes, hook up- not always in that order. Hostels have a party reputation for good reason since most of the young people who go out partying tend to also spend a lot of that time drinking with people around the world.
That may not be for everyone but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay in hostels. While most hostels are for young people, there are many hostels that cater to families and old travelers. The best example is Hostel International. This big hostel chain caters to large groups, families, and older travelers. They tend to be quieter and have strict rules on partying. Find out what kind of hostel you are going to.
Another thing to look for besides age is atmosphere. Each hostel has its own personality. Some are tame, others are wild, some are geared towards Germans and other geared towards Swedes. (It is true- I’ve seen it!). Some hostels are good for long term stays and others for people who stay one night. The best way to find this information out is by going on the web and reading hostel reviews on booking sites. The reviews will give you a good idea about the type of hostel a location is and who goes there and for what reason. If you want a quiet clean hostel, picking a hostel at random could lead you to a hedonistic all night party place.
Good hostels tend to be famous. Every traveler know of The Flying Pig in Amsterdam or Base in Melbourne. Their reputations are carried overseas and discussed by other travelers. So the best way to find a great hostel is to ask other travelers. Hostels are always changing and they will have the most up to date information on the good spots in a city. But remember no matter what the place is like it is all about the people. Find a hostel with good people and you will find the right hostel for you.