Hostels are the broke traveler’s saving grace. I always say don’t invest in a hotel room if you’re barely going to be in it. I do love a little luxury every once in awhile but if I can pay $14 for a comfortable bed to pass out in after 12 hours of exploring, you bet I will.
I’m not gonna lie, it took a few times to feel like I was completely prepared for staying at a hostel. They can be kind of overwhelming your first few times and it’s easy to forget things that will make your time there as smooth as possible.
After countless 12 person rooms and many mistakes, I decided to compile a list of what I believe every person should do/have in order to maximize their next hostel adventure.
In order to keep your belongings safe, most hostels will provide you with a locker in your room. You never know how large your locker is going to be so pack a backpack and pack it lightly. The last thing you want is to have to leave your stuff out and susceptible to theft. I have found that my Osprey backpack has worked at every hostel I’ve been to. Even though it was sometimes a tight fit, I always managed to make it work.
Bring a towel
If you have room in your luggage to bring a towel, I highly recommend that you do. While it is possible to rent a towel from the hostel, most of the time they will be super small and thin. Plus if you bring your own it will be easier to identify. Bring something like a hot pink or blue towel so it stands out against the various white ones the hostel provides. One time someone accidentally took my towel that I rented thinking that it was theirs and I had to pay 10 euros to replace it.
Bring a lock
What’s the point of having a locker if you can’t even lock it? Make sure to bring something to secure your belongings. Like many of the other things on this list, you can buy a lock at the hostel but it will be more expensive. Also, try to buy a lock that doesn’t require a key. I really like combination locks because I don’t have to worry about losing my key throughout the day and having to pay someone to cut my lock off.
The unfortunate thing about hostels is that people don’t always wake up when you do. If you want it to stay dark until 9 AM, bring an eye mask. I have had people in my room turn the lights on/open the blinds at 6 AM. Even though it’s insanely rude, it’s not gonna stop them.
Pro tip:To avoid being the worst use your phone light please!
Just like the eye mask, ear plugs are an absolute essential. After a long day of exploring you’ll wanna crash, but the man snoring, the woman crying on the phone and the couple having some late night fun will prevent you from doing that. You can either repeatedly tell them to shut up or you can put your earplugs in and go to your happy place.
I have two options for toiletries. If you’re traveling alone, pack small hotel sized ones. Remember to bring shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body soap, a razor, a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. If you’re traveling in a group, buy full sized products once you’re at your destination from a supermarket (minus the personal stuff like deodorant, toothbrushes and razors). Everybody can be responsible for buying something different and it will probably be cheaper in the end than everybody bringing their own stuff. Remember, hostels don’t provide these things for free and the last thing you want to be is the smelly person in your room.
I want to gag whenever I see people standing in the shower without any protection on their feet. Many hostels pride themselves on their cleanliness but you never know who washed their body in that spot before you. Don’t take chances, it’s not worth it. Bring a cheap pair of shower shoes to make sure you don’t pick up any nasty diseases.
Sometimes when the day is over you just wanna lay in bed and watch some Netflix or listen to music to unwind. Make sure to bring headphones because not everybody around you also wants to listen to Game of Thrones at 1 AM.
One of my favorite hostel groups is the St. Christopher’s Inn. They provide a curtain on each one of their beds to give their customers at bit more privacy. Unfortunately, not every hostel does this. If you want to create a bit more seclusion from your fellow hostelers, drape a scarf on the side of your bunk. For some reason it is a bit more comforting knowing others can’t watch you when you sleep.
A Good Attitude
Hostels are so much fun! There are people from all over the world with the same desire to explore whatever area you’re in and have a good time. I have met people at hostels that I still talk to today! Be talkative, keep an open mind and don’t be scared to include new friends in your plans. If you do this, I guarantee that it will be an experience to remember.
As always, thanks for reading! Feel free to leave some tips I many have left out below.