If you are a solo traveler or looking to save money during your travels, hostels can be a great alternative to a hotel (if you want to know what a hostel is, and its pros and cons, click here). However, if it is your first time, there are things you should know to make your experience great. Below are 5 tips that will help you survive your hostel experience.
Unless you book a private room at a hostel, you will probably be staying with strangers. Many hostels have lockers inside of their rooms. If your hostel does not provide locks for free, you may have to rent one from them or bring your own lock.
When you leave your room, make sure to lock up all of your belongings and take the key with you. Never leave your items unattended, outside of your locker.
Don’t bring items that you would be devastated to lose. If you do bring expensive belongings, such as a camera, make sure to have it locked up or with you at all times.
Bring things that you would be okay to lose.
You will most likely be sharing a bathroom with others. No matter how clean you think the hostel is, it is a good idea to bring shower shoes. Cheap flip flops will do the trick. You never know what’s on the floor.
It is probably a good idea to also bring a toothbrush container and a soap dish, so you won’t have to lay your items on the shower or sink surfaces. These surfaces are a breeding ground for germs.
Try to be respectful of your roommates when you are entering and leaving the room, especially at night.
If you know that you will get back to your room late at night, put your pajamas and toiletries in an accessible place in your locker or luggage so you can easily access them.
If you need to be out early in the morning, pick out your clothes the night (or day) before and put them in a place where you can easily access them. This will help reduce the amount of noise you will make trying to find your items, thus, avoiding waking up your roommate.
If you’re coming in late at night, don’t turn on the overhead lights, waking everyone up. Instead, use the flashlight on your phone. If you have a bathroom in your room, turn on the bathroom light and crack the door.
If you’re the one who has inconsiderate roommates, bring a sleeping mask to block out all light. It may be wise to pack some earplugs, just in case.
The people you meet can be a major benefit of staying at a hostel. Meeting people in hostels is a great way to learn insider tips about restaurants, transportation, and events in your city.
Take advantage of lounges, bars/cafes at your hostel. Go to social events, including Happy Hour, even if you don’t drink. These places are good ways to meet people.
Your fellow travelers are usually open to meeting you. Don’t be intimated.
If you forgot a towel, hairdryer, washcloth, lock…or toothbrush, check to see if your hostel offers these items for free or at a discounted rate. Many times they do. So, don’t be afraid to ask.
If you need to do laundry, the hostel may provide inexpensive machines and detergent for you to wash your clothes.
If breakfast is important to you, many hostels offer breakfast for free. Find hostels that offer this amenity before you book.