While I have safely slept in hostels in several countries (e.g. Iceland, Japan, Switzerland), based on the advises I learned from others, in some countries (e.g. Indonesia, UAE, USA) for the safety, hygiene and/or value-for-money reasons.
- Essential criterias: safety + location  + budget-friendly
- Always consider alternatives (#pandaAlt) “Search 2-3 websites, and then check the hotel’s website. Don’t forget to try calling, as hotels often match rates.”
- check for cancelation policy (I prefer booking with free cancellation / modification, unless I am certain that I will stay on particular dates there) 
- free wifi (unless if I am staying minimal hours in the hotel rooms and have a daily access to internet elsewhere)
- smoke-free . No or minimal carpets, because carpets usually retain strong cigarette smells.
On 20161110, I learned an important lesson that unsold hotel rooms are often at discount when it’s closer to the date. Comparing the booking that I did in September 2016 and new bookings today, the difference amounted to ~ USD 720! That’s a lot of savings. I separated the date ranges into several bookings instead of a single booking.
On 20170111, I was reminded again to always use latch lock when sleeping/showering because hotel staff has ‘master card’ to unlock our hotel room.
 To save time, choose an accommodation site that is not too far from sightseeing sites or work locations (for business trips).
 grep “20161022 lesson” ref2016/*accommodation_winter2016*txt | On 20170317, our smart mother sent me an advice via whatsapp to check on the possibility of placing my baggage in the store room of the hotel that I was staying when I leave for ~ 2 weeks. Thankfully, the hotel staff agreed hence I reduce moving things (2017 has been a year in which I moved things a lot, in spite of my backache and post-surgery recovery).
 On 20161119, the opposite 2-bedroom unit had a strong cigarette smell in spite of being on a non-smoking floor and with the sign of no-smoking on the door! Thankfully, the former guest of our unit did not smoke. See 20161119_141429*floor_plan.jpg. It’s always good to familiarize ourselves with evacuation plan in case of fire, earthquake, etc; know where the emergency staircases are and ensure that the ground floor door of emergency staircases are functional.