For me, I love hostels that have a HUGE locker so I could immediately lock up my photography gear and take a shower/explore!
After that, there are a couple things to consider:
1. Wifi…ABSOLUTE MUST!
2. Towel: Did you bring one? I didn’t and got stuck drying myself with a hand towel. Not cool. I’m 6’3.
3. Packaged sheets – Love these, you know there’re clean and feel much better grabbing them IN THE WRAPPER.
4. Late Check In – Big for me since I try to squeeze all the time out of a day when traveling as possible. Or I get lost because my phone died and I don’t know where the hostel is…like in Belgium.
5. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Often, I bounce around from hostel to hostel to get the vibe of that area. Never really stay in a hostel for more than a day. I do lot of exploring, like 8-10 hours a day walking. When a hostel is close to my proposed sunrise/sunset spots, it definitely increases the chances I might book a night there. HostelWorld.com has a great map for this and helps ALOT!
Hostels I’ve stayed in by country:
Belgium – 2G04 hostel. 4/5, no bath towels! $10 Euro deposit for sheets. Unless your leaving before 7am. Your welcome 😉
Netherlands – 1. Meininger Hostel, 5/5. This hostel looks more like a hotel and can get pricey on weekends if you BOOK 1 NIGHT. Like $80/90 a night. I paid $25 euro. Great deal! First hostel ever! Great place, centrally located right near train/bus station. Get the 8 euro bus day pass to get into town from front desk!
2. Hostel Amsterdam Center Stadsdoelen, Stayokay, 5/5. HUGE LOCKERS! I had 2 backacks and tripod in there! Windows that actually open. Clean. There was 20 beds in the room but it didn’t get loud. Door opened 17,000 times, but hey, it was $18 euros!