Hostels provide backpackers with inexpensive readily available accommodation while travelling abroad. They can sometimes be great sources of information and a great place to meet other travellers too. However, hostels can also be loud, dirty and uncomfortable and there are certain unwritten rules about staying in them. So follow our top tips on how to survive staying in hostels.
Book ahead - Many of the more popular hostels book out fast, so make sure you avoid being left with nowhere to sleep by booking ahead, plenty of time in advance.
You don’t need to bring your own bedding - Nowadays most hostels offer bedding, so it’s not really necessary to bring extra sheets or sleeping bags with you. Sheets will either be provided or you may have to hire them from reception. It’s not really worth bringing your own as they take up too much space in your luggage and can be annoying to cart around if you’re travelling for a long time.
Bring earplugs and possibly an eye mask - Hostels can be noisy places and if you’re sleeping in a dorm, drunken revellers coming into your room late at night is not uncommon. If you don’t want to be disturbed and want to try and get a decent amount of sleep then ear plugs are the way to go. You may also want to wear an eye mask too, to avoid being woken up by the light turning on in the middle of the night.
Don’t leave valuables lying around - Unfortunately some hostels are notorious places for getting things stolen and things frequently go missing from dorm rooms. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving your valuables out in the open and lying around. Some hostels will provide you with lockers and keys, so it’s best to use these and keep your valuables locked up and safe.
Bring a padlock for your rucksack - If the hostel doesn’t provide lockers a good option is to buy a padlock for your rucksack, lock it up and attach it to the bed so no one can steal it.
Remember to pack a torch - Be respectful to other travellers by using a torch if you want to stay up and read or search for your toothbrush when you come back late at night. Don’t wake everyone up by turning on the light as you’re only likely to annoy people.
Check the opening hours - Some hostels will stay open all night, allowing you to come and go as you please at any time during the night, but others have curfews and may lock their doors at midnight or even earlier. If you want to go out, make sure you know what time your hostel closes to avoid being stuck outside with nowhere to sleep.
Ask to see the room before you check in - If you haven’t booked ahead or don’t know anything about the hostel you may want to check out the room before you decide to stay there. These days hostels can vary a lot from very scummy, dirty and basic to clean, chic and even luxurious. You may also want to find out who you’ll be sharing with.
Follow these top tips for a more pleasant hostelling experience.
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