Hostels are an awesome option for a place to sleep while traveling. Of course, their best attribute is how budget friendly they are, but there are some other great reasons to forego the hotel or vacation rental and sleep in a room full of strangers. If your adventurous heart decides on a hostel stay, here are some tips that will make your experience even better.
1. Opt for the hostel with a kitchen: cooking your food vs going out is a very obvious way to keep to your budget. Daniel and I have stayed in hostels with and without kitchens, and we both agree that we had far better experiences in the kitchen friendly hostels. Why? Time in the kitchen=making new friends. Boiling up some pasta by yourself gets pretty boring. The chore is much more pleasant with company. This was actually one of the places where Daniel and I made great friends and learned about local places to visit.
2. Pack some headphones or earplugs. Yes, you may end up sleeping in a room full of strangers, but hey, that’s why it only cost you 15 bucks to stay in the place. If you’re a light sleeper these will really help. I even had a “sleep” playlist with some soothing tunes that serenaded me to sleep. Thanks to them I slept through snore-fests and the occasional drunk stumbling into bed at 4 am.
3. Be smart, pack a lock. And please use it. Hostels aren’t full of thieves, but why risk it? Most rooms come with lockers or underbed storage where you can keep your things, but make sure to lock them up. We’ve never experienced a tragic loss during travels, but do not count on your hostel to provide a lock for your bags.
4. Laundry options: if you’re traveking for any length of time you might need to wash your clothes. Some hostels actually have laundry on-site and at an affordable rate. Many stores sale individual packets of detergent in the travel-size area. You can use these with the washers, or if those are not on available, a sink, detergent, and small tension/bungee chords make for an easy option to wash the sweat and beer out of your clothes.
5. Bring a pair of flip flops. I followd this rule in college, I follow it at the gym, and I definitely follow it during hostel stays. Pack some flip flops for the shower. Although I’ve never experienced a bathroom that did not seem clean this is another one of those “better safe than sorry” scenarios.