Preview of Vicki's blog at TravelPod. Read the full blog here: www.travelpod.com This blog preview was made by TravelPod using the TripAdvisor™ TripWow slideshow creator. Entry from: Alice Springs, Australia Entry Title: "The Red Centre" Entry: "Next...
There are hundreds of backpacker hostels in Australia, and you can find them absolutely everywhere! Yes, even in the remotest outback regions. This page will tell you how to find them, and how to make sure you get the best prices!
If you are backpacking around Australia, then you'll likely want to stay mostly in hostels. So it's good to know that Australian youth hostels are nothing like the spartan places that you may imagine. (Probably you are too young anyway to remember the kind of places that these words bring to my mind...)
Backer hostels are not only for "youth" either. Australian hostels are modern places with excellent services and amenities, run by people who will help you to organise and book your trips, explore the region on your own, or even find you some work if that's what you are after.
Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBut most importantly, backpacker hostels in Australia are fun places filled with lots of like minded travellers!
Sharing A Dorm!As long as you don't mind sharing a dorm with a bunch of total strangers, and sharing the bathroom and kitchen with even more, you'll make plenty of friends here. Travelling alone? Not for long if you stay in backpacker hostels in Australia.
If you are already familiar with Australian hostel accommodation, or backpacker/youth hostels in general, skip right down to where I tell you how to best book a hostel in Australia, so you don't pay more than you need to.
If this is your first big trip overseas, keep reading.
Australia is a vast continent, offering many different experiences. Backpacker hostel accommodation varies as much as the landscapes do. In popular places where the competition for tourist dollars is tough, you will often find youth hostels that are more like modern resorts than budget accommodation!
They have tropical gardens to hang out, big pool areas, lively bars, the music is on all day, and they also offer many activities. Free internet access is the standard, but, um, a quiet night not necessarily so.
Many of those Australian backpacker hostels are non stop party places! But fear not, there are always alternatives.
Not everybody wants to party all day every day. I'll tell you below how to best go about finding that lovely, quiet family operated youth hostel that could become your home away from home. They are just as social as the party places.
In fact, that social atmosphere is the best aspect of backpacker hostel accommodation in Australia. You'll make friends, get lots of great tips and ideas, share your own experiences, and if you want to team up with someone, it won't take long to find the right travel partner.
Many backpackers look for hostel accommodation because they are looking for work. If a region offers lots of work for backpackers (like fruit picking), then it will also offer lots of backpacker hostels.
Australian working hostels, as they are called, are a slightly different breed from the above mentioned resort style backpacker hostels. They are usually a lot more basic, and possibly things are a bit more dirty or smelly. (Hard to avoid when everybody is doing dirty, sweaty work all day!)
Not all are, of course! But there is not the same focus on tropical resort style and fun and activity.
If you want to work and travel Australia, the working hostels are the place to go! They often work together with employment agencies or with farmers and employers directly, and they can help you find jobs. You will also meet many other working travellers who are the best source of that priceless information about jobs in other parts of Australia. Wanna know where the work is and what it's like? Stay at the working hostels and you'll find out.
Another good thing about working hostels is that they usually offer long stay rates. You pay a lot less if you pay for a whole week in advance. (Many other hostels on the other hand do NOT want you to stay longer, and in fact have maximum stays of 5 - 10 days!)
And last but not least, at the other end of the population density scale, you just never really know what kind of backpacker hostel you'll find in those remote outback corners... What you do know is that generally there will be a backpacker hostel there! Usually one with lots of character. Whatever that may mean...
The standard backpacker accommodation in Australia is in a dorm: a dormitory, sometimes male or female only, sometimes mixed. The number of beds (almost invariably bunk beds) varies. You may end up in 4, 6, 8 or even 12 bed dorms. The fewer beds in the room, the more dollars you'll spend
Most hostels also offer double or twin share rooms, sometimes even with private bathroom facilities. While pricier than the dorm beds, the rooms at Australian backpacker hostels are still much cheaper than Australian hotel or motel accommodation.
Bathroom facilities are shared, and so are the kitchens.
Many hostels also offer free breakfast. (It's usually made of the cheapest of cheap stuffs you can find in the supermarket, but as a shoestring budget traveller I didn't care. Neither did or does anybody else. It's free.)
The kitchens are usually very well equipped. Everything you need is there. Often there are also shelves and fridge areas with food free food for all, things that other travellers have left behind. Always label all your food with your name so it does not get mistaken for free for all stuff! (And be prepared to find that every now and then food goes missing anyway. Not everybody is as honest as you are.)
Keep that last sentence in mind also when it comes to the gear in your room and your valuables. Lock your bags, and if the hostel offers a safe, get them to lock up your valuables. Otherwise carry them on you. That's just common sense.
There are of course laundry facilities as well, usually coin operated.
Pretty much all hostels also have a communal area with the ubiquitous TV (ugh) as well as outdoor sitting areas where everyone gathers and makes friends.
Prices at backpacker hostels in Australia vary as wildly as the facilities. You will encounter beds from under $10 to well over $30.
Many Australian backpacker hostels belong to either the YHA (Youth Hostel Association, part of the Int. Youth Hostel Federation) or they are a franchise of the VIP Backpackers Resorts. Both organisations offer their members discounts on accommodation as well as on various activities. So make sure you join them, ideally before you leave home (it's usually cheaper) and get your member card. With about 150 Australian youth hostels in both organisations, that gives you 300 backpacker hostels in Australia to choose from where you get a discount. (And still hundreds of others where you can pay full price.)
Now, I still haven't told you how to book a backpacker hostel and where to find the best prices, have I?
The hard part of this is deciding where to go. Booking a backpacker hostel is easy. You can do it through this backpacker hostel search engine. (Bookmark it while you're at it.)
Why should you use that particular hostel search engine?
To start with because it will get you the best rates, duh. That's the main thing when you're on a budget, isn't it? On average the prices you find there are 8.7% cheaper than at other booking sites.
Secondly, the search engine is independent (i.e. it does not try to push you to any particular chain of hostels) and it charges NO booking fees!
Thirdly, other backpackers have rated the hostels for atmosphere, location, facilities, fun, staff, cleanliness, safety and value. So you get a very good idea what to expect.
And last but not least, this engine is also very user friendly. Click around in it a bit and you'll see what I mean. The page I linked to provides an overview of all Australian towns. You can already see an indication of the prices for a bed with either shared or private facilities.
Click on the town name, and you get a list of all the backpacker hostels and other budget accommodations in that town. Again there is an indication of the price, and you also see already what's included (e.g. breakfast, as I had mentioned above somewhere) and how well the hostel has been rated.
Click through to the hostel and you get all the details regarding the available facilities and also a very detailed rating.
Is this hostel booking engine perfect?
No, of course it isn't. Like at all other booking sites, the descriptions of the backpacker hostels are provided by the hostel itself. (So they all sound much the same anyway, and they all try to tell you that they are simply the best...)
Also, the search engine does not cover all hostels in Australia. No online site can or does, as especially the hostels in the remoter regions often just can't be booked online. But then again, you don't usually need to book those ahead!
On the other hand, some hostels are not there simply because only quality hostels are included. So that's not a bad thing.
As far as online hostel booking engines go, this one is as good as it gets.
Bookmark it now.
Because if you travel Australia on a budget, you'll be using it a lot.