I actually find that on booking.com, when you do a search, you can choose between:
So as long as you check that, it’ll search a variety of hostels as well.
However, personally I still find:
are the main three that find anything worth finding, in my experience.
Hostelz.com is the metasearch engine for hostels.
It combines information from Hostelworld, Hostelbookers, Hostels.com, Gomio, Hostelsclub, Priceline, and HI Hostels and lets you search for available beds and compare prices from all of the booking sites at once, and also shows you how the hostels are rated in each of the sites. It also lists hostels that aren’t in any of the booking websites, and includes directly contact info for the hostels (which the booking sites also don’t offer). It also has both user reviews and professional reviews (with photos). The site has been online since 2002.
Hostel World is a very good site. I have used it numerous times over many years and it seems to be the site of choice for many people I have met that also travel extensively.
No, not if you need anything near completeness
The other answers list some sites, but those are very incomplete. For example, the Swedish Youth Hostel association members alone has 2–3 members in Kiruna, one in Luleå, one in Umeå, all can be booked online through webforms or e-mail. None of the search engines listed in other answers list any of those, and no youth hostel I have ever stayed in is.
My only recommendation is to search specifically through the web, through tourist office websites, or through country-specific websites. Norway has the extensive Reiselivsdatabasen (includes many categories of accommodation, including one for youth hostels and similar low-budget backpacker style), in Sweden many — but not all — youth hostels are a member of the Swedish Youth Hostel association, and otherwise, it depends per country. Perhaps the search engines are particularly incomplete for Sweden and Norway and more complete for other countries or larger cities — I have not made a thorough study. You might find something through them, but do not conclude from a lack of results that there are no hostels.
Here is a short list of the most popular sites to book hostels, but I don’t know of meta-search websites, as there are not that many search engines:
Note that not all hostels are listed on all these sites, usually. Also note that the last three websites are all owned by Web Reservations International, that might explain why there is no meta-search engine.
In fact there is one – I don’t think it’s very well known though. It’s been around no more than about a year or two I think.
Here are the claims they make on their front page:
Hostelzoo is the world’s largest marketplace for hostels.
We offer a free search and comparison service to our customers allowing them to book the right hostel at the best price.
Every hostel in the world that is available to book online is listed on our site. We utilise the booking engines Hostelworld, HostelBookers, HostelsClub and Gomio to provide the most comprehensive listing available.
Hostels, Backpackers, Youth Hostels and Budget Accommodation, if they take online bookings, they can be found here.
Disclosure: I’m not involved in this project but a former employer of mine is.
16 Oct, 2023
5 Oct, 2023
12 Sep, 2023
8 Sep, 2023
18 Aug, 2023
18 Aug, 2023
18 Aug, 2023