Here you are planning your perfect adventure and getting super pumped, when you realize that to make this trip work, you’ll have to sleep in hostels. Yup, those “hotels” where they cram as many broke travellers as they can into one space for a cheap price and have the audacity to call an experience!
I was so anxious the first time I checked into a hostel. I hoped I had chosen well and that my roommates were normal people. It turned out to be a pretty amazing and eye opening first adventure. Since then, I’ve had good and not so good experiences, but never really bad ones. I think my hostel stays are quite positive because I mentally prepare beforehand.
To ensure that you not only survive your next hostel stay, but actually have a great time, I’ve put together a list of things that I always like to remind myself of before I leave.
So first and foremost, do your research. Being in a hostel constantly surrounded by people can be a challenge in itself, so don’t go and stick yourself in the wrong environment on top of that. Know exactly what type of atmosphere you are looking for and please don’t force yourself to stay in hostels only because of budget. Hostels are used for the social aspect of connecting with like minded travellers, but there are all types of hostels out there. Make sure you don’t land yourself in a party place if what you’re looking for is to recharge.
Be Open Minded
We all have different reasons as to why we travel and we are in no way allowed to judge the motives of others. You will meet all types of people on the road. You should take it as an opportunity to learn. I’ve met groups of young party girls as well as 60 year old women in hostels. It’s interesting to get to know everyone and to approach them without judgment.
Don’t feel forced to interact with someone if you aren’t feeling their vibe. Just remember that travelers come from all types of backgrounds and talking with someone that you wouldn’t normally approach might open your mind up to different perspectives. You might be completely different people, but you traveled to the same destination, so you have at least one thing in common!
It Won’t Be Perfect
It’s so comforting to me when I walk into a beautiful hotel room with a comfy looking bed and crisp white linen. I know that not everyone is affected by the aesthetic of a place, but I am. So for all of you who relate to me on this, know that hostels won’t offer the same level of comfort and style.
I’ve been to hostels that were definitely well kept and some newer ones have brand new bedding and pretty awesome decor which really puts me at ease when I walk in. I like when the overall look creates a cozy atmosphere. I usually try to look for places that offer just this, but sometimes you can get bad surprises!
Have realistic expectations and remember that you will be outdoors exploring and that your accommodation is there to provide a bed. Don’t let it make or break your trip!
Hostel Necessities to Pack
Amenities greatly differ from one hostel to another. It’s good to be prepared for every eventuality.
Here’s a list of a few things you can bring to make your stay a little more pleasant :
Flip flops for the showers
Your own travel towel
Your own sheet or sleeping bag lining + pillow case
A little flashlight (or use your phones flashlight)
Multiple outlet adapter to plug all your electronics for charging
Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones
Eye mask if you’re sensitive to the light
Sarong or oversized t-shirt for getting out of the shower
Most of us are already made of sugar n’ spice and everything nice, so this one should be fairly easy. Although, sometimes it’s about going the extra mile for your dorm mates. Treat the space in a way that respects everyone’s things and environment.
Most introverts don’t like confrontation, so to ensure a harmonious living situation, make sure your dorm mates know that you respect the communal space. If you’re grumpy in the mornings, make that extra effort to smile and say good morning to the people around you. Or you can do what I usually do when I can’t “people”. I wake up super early or lay in bed later than everyone else to avoid all interaction. Some mornings you might just need to be left alone and it’s ok to respect those needs, but do it in a way that respects everyone.
Book A Private Room or A Small Room
If you’re looking to book a private room, you won’t necessarily get the best bank for your buck in a hostel. You might as well look at AirBnBs and guest houses. It can still be worth it if you still want the social aspect of hostel life though, so with that in mind, you can definitely eliminate some stress by having your own space to retreat to when you need it.
If private rooms aren’t in your budget, make sure to look for rooms that can sleep 4 to 6 people maximum. It reduces unnecessary small talk and possibilities for unpleasant events. If you are female, you’ll probably thank yourself to book an all female dorm. Women are a little more considerate and quieter in general.
Plan Your Schedule
As much as I like to take advantage of hostels for socializing and making new friends, sometimes I need to be left alone to recharge. Depending on the size of the hostel, and whether it’s a busy period, you might actually need to put a bit of thought into when you’ll be able to catch some alone time.
You will notice what time your roommates wake up and get ready. They might even let you in on their plans and if you decide to hang back, it will be the perfect time to have the room all to yourself. Basically, just doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Eat earlier than everyone else if you want to be undisturbed in the kitchen and retreat to your room early if everyone is out having drinks. There’s always a way to find quiet during the day.
Remember why you booked a hostel in the first place! This is the perfect opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. There can be awkward moments for sure, but everyone is there to enjoy themselves and open to meeting other travelers.
With the right research and state of mind, you will have have a blast staying in hostels! Just remember to have realistic expectations and plan ahead to bring the things that will help make your stay eazy breezy.
I’m a total travel junkie! I’m constantly wandering whether physically or in my thoughts because being on the road is where I find myself. Being introverted and totally in my head all the time really accentuates dreamer personality. Often times I’ll wander off in my own little world and get called out for being in my “bubble”, but that’s truly where I live best! I found out about introversion and extroversion pretty late in life and finally understanding the way my brain works has changed not only the way that I travel, but my entire life. That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing my experiences through my writing and photography!