During my trip through Southeast Asia I got to spend some nights in hostels. Hostels have been an accommodation possibility for me to travel on a lower budget on earlier trips as well. They are mostly cheaper than a hotel room, you get to meet other travellers and gone are the days where hostels equaled shabby dark places stuffed with old and dirty furniture – I don’t know whether there actually ever had been a time when hostels looked like that but it’s for sure the image many people still have when they think of hostels. Nowadays, you can find beautifully designed places that all have their own character. Of course, as with all accommodations, there are the less nice ones too but with these few tips you’ll hopefully get to eliminate the bad ones and deal with any unpleasant circumstances that might still come up during your trip. So here are my 5 tips for a better hostel experience:
“I would rather
and see the world
than own the world
and see little of it”
– Alexander Sattler
1.Thin Sleeping Bag
I always bring a thin sleeping bag with me. These aren’t made to keep you warm – don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you to bring a big stuffy sleeping bag with you – but can be practical if you ever get to a place where the sheets don’t seem to be as clean as you’d like or when there are only simple blankets with no real cover.
Bringing a thin sleeping bag – or travel sheet as it’s sometimes called – can come in handy in these situations. You can find them made of different materials like cotton that pack very small and won’t add any heavy weight to your luggage.
This little guy can safe you a few extra coins. Many hostel lockers are secured with a simple lock and often, the hostel charge you for renting – or buying – one. Bring your own and you won’t get surprised with any extra charges.
Same as with the lock, towels are often not included and sometimes not even rentable. To avoid a bad surprise, bring your own. There are many travel towels made of microfiber that pack super thin, super light and dry very quickly.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really liked these mass showers. Whether I’m just fussy or really have a point with this, I like to bring a pair of flipflops. They are not only a nice light weight shoe to wear around the hostel when you don’t feel like wearing your shoes from outside but also protect your feet from whatever there might be on the shower floor from the many people who used the shower before you. Again, flipflops aren’t a heavy extra weight and fit tightly into your bags.
5. Know what you want
As with every search for your travel accommodation, it’s always good to know what you want not to get any bad surprises or having to pay for all the things that weren’t included yet in the price you paid. So here are a few points to consider before searching your hostel:
- Do you want to visit a specific area at your travel destination? How close do you want to stay to the city centre or beach?
Only searching in a chosen radius can safe you quite a lot of transportation costs later. And who wants to have to take the bus for one hour every morning because you ended up somewhere completely different than initially thought? So always check the location of the hostel on the map.
- Do you want to have included breakfast at the hostel to safe some money for other activities? Or do you want to explore the local restaurants and cafés from morning to midnight?
Specifically searching for hostels with breakfast can safe you money or without breakfast so you don’t have to pay for the (included) extra service.
- Hostel yes but the idea of sleeping in an eight-bed-room still makes you feel uncomfortable?
When travelling with friends, you can often get a private room for all of you and share the costs so you know everyone you share the room with. Other options are female-only rooms if this is something that makes you more comfortable. And for everyone who simply prefers a bit more privacy, search for beds that have curtains so you can have your own little space even in a big room with many different people.
- The idea of your travel isn’t only to see beautiful places but you also want to meet new people and make new friendships?
Check whether the hostel consists not only of the sleeping area but includes a nice common area – maybe with a bar or a little café – to hang out as well.
On online platforms, you can often specifically search for your preferences of what you’d like to have included. And after you’ve found a few places that match your desires, always look at the rating and read the latest comments. Sometimes, the description and pictures can sound and look perfectly nice but might not always match the actual place. Checking the comments of fellow travellers can safe you from a bad surprise.
That’s it with my little hostel guide. Share any tips you have in the comments and I hope your hostel experience will be better with these 5 simple tips.
Enjoy your travels and get inspired!