Hostels are by far the best way to cut the cost of your trip and they are a great way to meet other travellers but they can seem daunting to first timers and even for seasoned hostel goers they can still feel intimidating. Hostels can either make or break your trip. So, through my own hostel experiences I have gathered a handful of tips to make sure the whole experience goes smoothly so that you can relax and enjoy..
1. Top or Bottom Bunk???
I would always recommend trying to bag the bottom bunk as you won’t need to go up and down the ladder all the time to get stuff, it is just more convenient.
You also, kind of, rule a bit more floor space!
2. Do Your Research First
Picking a good hostel all comes down to doing a bit of research and by that I mean looking at reviews on sites like Hostelworld and Booking.com. Hostels are NOT all the same, you may think it’s all partying but many hostels are very relaxed and quiet. So it’s important to have a look at what other people are saying so you know what to expect.
3. Bring an Eye Mask and Earplugs
These are essentials, although you won’t always need to use them. If you are sharing a dorm with people who are getting up early you will be definitely be thankful for these items that will allow you to sleep undisturbed (mostly).
4. Know your Hostel Etiquette
You will avoid aggravating your room mates if you know the basic hostel unwritten rules e.g. not turning the light on late at night (use your phone light instead), not being loud at night, wearing earphones to play music and videos, not bringing in smelly food to the room, not using your room mates stuff without permission, don’t take forever in the bathroom and don’t be too messy. These are basics but you would be surprised at how many ignorant people there are and as a result they don’t make many friends.
5. Always bring a Padlock
Some hostels will have lockers but not all of them will provide locks for them so it’s always best to carry your own. Hostel doesn’t have a locker? just lock your backpack with the padlock. You might think you trust everyone in the room but you’re always better safe than sorry.
6. Take flip flops
These will be your hostel slippers and probably the most important piece of hostel equipment you will bring with you that you can just shove on to go to the bathroom or the kitchen, it’s just more hygienic than going in your bare feet and no one has time to put shoes on!
7. Always Bring Your Own Towel
This is a MUST. Hostels don’t ever supply towels (in my experience) and the last thing you want is to be stuck without one. I recommend getting one of these microfibre towels as they take up less space in your bag and dry very quickly.
8. Pack Your Clothes in Packing Cubes
I can’t recommend packing cubes enough to backpackers they really are a saviour, especially when you have limited room in a hostel and the last thing you want to do when you come in from a night out and the lights are off is to be raking round your bag pulling everything out trying to find your pyjamas. In short, you need these and you can get them here.
9. Bring an Extension Plug with Multiple Plug Points
I wish I had done this first time! In dorm rooms there are not many plug points and in a room of 6 people this can be tricky, if you want to charge or use one or more appliance at once. If you use an extension plug you can charge all your electricals at once and not be hogging all the plug space.
10. Book Directly on the Hostel Site
This is something I only found out recently, but wish I knew before! DON’T book your hostel room on booking.com or HostelWorld as these sites add a fee on and so it is more expensive whereas if you compare hostels on these sites then once you have picked one go directly to their own website you will get the room cheaper. Try it out, you can end up saving a tonne of money in the long run.
11. Don’t be Shy!
The best thing about hostels is the opportunity to meet other people. Take part in all the cheesy activities, quizzes and bar crawls, you never know who you might meet and where it could take you!
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