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5 Backpacker Tips for Navigating Hostel Reviews

Updated on October 21, 2017

A Backpackers Guide To Australian Hostels

Savvy backpackers have all but thrown their outdated guide books in the bin and are now gleaning the latest travel info from user review driven websites such as TripAdvisor.

But with incredible competition in the travel industry how do you know what you’re reading is a genuine backpacker review?

More than a few establishments have voiced concerns over their competition planting negative comments online to tarnish their image. Equally, it’s not all that difficult for friends of a hostel manager to post rave reviews for a less than stellar establishment.

Either way, being able to read between the lines will help you to sleep tight or party all night, depending on what experience you’re after.

1. Never Stop At One

Scan through as many reviews as you can looking for consistency. If all the reviews have a similar thread, they’re more likely to be the norm that you should expect for that hostel.

If a review is particularly fabulous while the majority are negative, go with the numbers.

2. Time Is On Your Side

Regardless of whether a hostel has a few bad or great reviews, check the dates on the reviews you are reading. Perhaps the problem was with a member of staff and it has since been resolved. Perhaps a groups of staff made the place fun and they have since moved on. Make sure your info is up to date.

3. That’s What She Said

Go one step beyond reading what the backpackers have written and pay attention to how the manager responds to their comments. If there are no management comments, they may not be very hands on. However, the warning bells should start to ring if they appear consistently rude and defensive.

4. Your Eyes May Be Deceiving You

Don’t rely too much on the staged photos provided by management. There are camera lenses and angles that can make a paddling pool look huge and an overcrowded beach seem secluded.

Take a look at the holiday snaps for a more realistic depiction of the hostel and its surroundings.

Do bear in mind that backpackers often post their day trip photos on hostel reviews, so that giant crocodile with its mouth gaping open might not actually be on the hostel grounds!

5. Experience Counts

Take a close look at the profile of the reviewer and how many contributions they have made before. Is this their 1st hostel review?

Place more credence in the reviews of regular contributors. But you should also be aware that prolific contributors often have their own little ranking system which can affect their review ratings.


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