5 Favorite Hostels From Our Round-the-World Trip

During our round-the-world backpacking trip, we stayed mostly in hostels. However, we also made sure to treat ourselves every once in a while with a hotel – about once a month. You can only stand to not have a private room for so long! Our other common lodging option was of course CouchSurfing which we also did about once a month. Before we began backpacking I had never stayed in a hostel so my first one was the day we arrived in Mexico City. Hostel living grew on me fast and I couldn't imagine traveling any other way at the moment (aside from CouchSurfing). As we've stayed at many a hostel, we thought we'd share our favorite five from our 10 months of backpacking across 5 continents.

Note: Unfortunately, some of these hostels have closed since we visited. But you can still visit several and you can even book them through our site. It doesn't cost you any extra but we receive a small commission when you book through our link. Thanks for supporting this site!

First things first, what do we look for in a hostel? Here's a list of things an ideal hostel will provide.

  • Free wifi
  • Kitchen
  • Community area
  • Cleanliness
  • Great location
  • Plenty of outlets for electronics
  • Affordable
  • Free towels and linens
  • Drinking water
  • Knowledgeable, helpful, courteous staff

*It's also a bonus if they sell beer and even more so if they sell wine – thank you Mendoza!

So which hostels met or were really close to these standards? Well here's our top picks from our travels through Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America in no particular order.

1. Hostel Independencia in Mendoza, Argentina (Closed)

Best Feature: Free Wine

This was one of our favorites because, believe it or not, they actually served free wine from 7pm-8pm every night. So of course we made it a priority to be at the hostel in time every day after sight-seeing. In addition, the location was perfect as it was right off the main square allowing us to be walking distance to great shops, restaurants, and local events. It was well kept, the beds were blissfully comfortable, and the kitchen was large enough to accommodate a few people cooking at the same time. The back patio may have been the best part offering cool shade from the grape vines that grew overhead. The only downside was that it was a little pricier than other hostels in the area. But we felt it was worth every extra penny – or centavo as in Argentina's case.

First wine tasting in Maipu

2. Khaosan Tokyo Asakusa Annex in Tokyo, Japan (Relocating)

Best Feature: Atmosphere

The down part of this hostel was easily it's location. It was farther from the main areas of Tokyo that we wanted to visit and we almost passed it up because of that. But with Tokyo's amazing public transportation, it really wasn't an issue and this hostel was still one of our favorites. It had one of the best community atmospheres we'd experienced abroad. The kitchen was small, but functional and was attached to the large common area where there were also public computers for everyone's use. The  rooms were spacious, well-ventilated, and the wifi could be connected to while resting in bed (this is where I spent many hours catching up on The Walking Dead on Netflix). It was one of the few hostels where you really felt like you were just at home while hanging around chatting with friendly travelers.

Tokyo's convoluted rapid transit map

Tokyo's convoluted rapid transit map

3. Camping Venezia in Venice, Italy

Best Feature: Privacy

Book Camping Venezia Village Now on HostelBookers

This one isn't exactly a hostel, but it isn't exactly camping either. They have these little mobile homes for rent on campgrounds where you could also pitch a tent if that's your thing. These little homes are the perfect size for two people and include a bedroom, bathroom, small kitchen and a patio. To get to the main sightseeing parts of Venice, you do have to take a bus, but it's an easy direct shot. The reason we went with this option was because it was so much more affordable than staying in the heart of Venice. Plus it was nice to be away from the crowds to enjoy some privacy in our little humble abode.

Auston's (mobile) home-made dinner

Auston's (mobile) home-made dinner

4. The Living Roof Hostel Madrid in Madrid, Spain (Closed)

Best feature: Activities

Talk about a social place. You don't have to plan a damn thing at this hostel. Just show up and you'll be busy every night of the week. The hostel always had an activity to do every night of the week with plenty of people participating. Spanish cooking lessons, sangria nights, bar hopping, walking tours, etc. It was easy to get involved, learn about Madrid, and meet new people. The location was also convenient allowing us to walk everywhere and when necessary we could take the city train which was just a few blocks away. We'll definitely stay here again.

Palacio de Comunicaciones in Madrid

Palacio de Comunicaciones in Madrid

5. Hercus Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Best Feature: Location

Book Hercus Santa Teresa Now on HostelBookers

When we showed up at this hostel with our travel buddy Ed from RexyEdventures, we didn't know what we were in for. Being a new hostel, there were no reviews for it. Of course all we could think of was the worst aspects of every hostel we had ever stayed at combined. That had to be what we were about to encounter! No so… This hostel proved to be a gem in the middle of the Carnival chaos that took over Rio de Janeiro in February. We had wifi in our rooms. Hot showers. The place was kept clean. The staff was incredibly friendly. Only complaints here were that the kitchen was small and difficult to work in and the men's bathroom was downstairs but the men's room is upstairs. Really, all that meant for me was that I would be sneaking into the girls bathroom if I had to pee in the middle of the night – which I did with no hesitation. Their breakfasts were also delicious and the location was ideal! We were right in the heart of the Carnival festivities. I'm sure they'll be getting great reviews. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if we reviewed them. Oops!

Our hostel

Patio of Hercus Santa Teresa Hostel

Do you stay in hostels when traveling or are hotels your preference? What do you look for in accommodations abroad? Share with us in the comments section below!

10 Comments on “5 Favorite Hostels From Our Round-the-World Trip”

  1. Emily says:

    Thank you for sharing! My husband and I (and baby on the way) are planning a trip to live in 12 countries over the course of a year and some of our destinations are ones you mentioned here. We will also be Couchsurfing and staying in hostels so I REALLY appreciate this info! We’ll definitely be following you!

    1. Sounds like a great trip! Good luck. And CouchSurfing is a fantastic way to travel! One of our favorites. :)

  2. Robin says:

    We typically found our favorite hostels when we had a car, or when we ventured outside the main city and got away from the “touristy” side of the city. We try to find the independent hostels whenever possible.

    In Ireland, we stayed in two hostels where we were the ONLY people there due to the remote locations, just awesome.

    Mountain Rest Hostel – Beaufort, Ireland
    Clare’s Rock Hostel

    Finally, we stayed in a hostel in South Africa where the owner BBQ ostrich for us for dinner (a true African braii). Then he offers free Ostrich egg in the morning to make your own omelet. One egg = 24 normal chicken eggs!!

    Backpackers Paradise & Joyrides – Oushoom, South Africa

    Enjoy Spain guys, and if you have time to go to Portugal, make sure to go to Porto!!!! Beautiful city and of course, amazing Port!

  3. Adrian says:

    I’m currently in Harbin, China. I booked late at the time of the Ice Festival/just before Chinese New Year so have ended up in a hostel an hour’s drive away from town.
    Anyone coming to Harbin seriously avoid Moyan Outdoors (stupid name!) It’s currently -28c outside so you’d think the bar would sell sensibly priced hot drinks. There is coffee on the menu (for $12!) but when I tried to order the bartender pressed a button on her phone and gave me the automated message “The Server is not currently attending!” before going back to her card game with her friends. I asked when she’d be serving and got the message again!

    1. Auston Matta says:

      I’ve heard about this ice festival in china. It looks amazing but sounds like there are some things to look out for :-) Sounds like the service in China is much the same as Spain…mediocre, at best.

  4. Rob says:

    Sad to hear the Khaosan Tokyo Asakusa Annex was closed down. I’m currently researching my trip to Japan, and I’m stoked to see they have opened up a different one. I’ll have to let you know how it goes!

    1. Auston Matta says:

      Ya we really liked the place. But hopefully their new location is a good one!

  5. Vanessa says:

    These all sound so awesome. Thanks for pointing out that great hostels always have activities on offer. My spouse and I still use hostels (opting for a private room) and one of the reasons we do is that it helps us save money both on accommodations AND on activities. At YHA The Rocks in Sydney, our gorgeous room overlooked the opera house. At $150-$175, we could have opted for a 3 star hotel about 20 minutes away, but the private room and sublime view were fantastic and every night there was either an activity or a community meal (and trust me, you will never, ever find a better deal than $6 spaghetti night in Sydney). It was great to just join in a walking tour when we were recovering from jet lag when we didn’t want to worry about planning anything.

    1. Auston Matta says:

      I agree Vanessa. Hostels are still good for us, but of course private rooms when we can. We still haven’t done Australia but I’ve heard it’s super expensive. So I can see how $6 spaghetti is really a good deal!

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