Are you taking off to Europe for a trip of a lifetime? Chances are for at least part of your journey you are going to be resting your head in a hostel at some point. And whilst they are a budget friendly accommodation alternative and a great way to meet like-minded travellers, they can also be dirty and noisy or unpleasant for other reasons.
That’s not to say you should avoid them by any means. But a little thought and preparation into your stay at a hostel can make the difference between an enjoyable time or that of nightmares. We’ve put together some tips to ensure your next hostel stay is one to be remembered- for the right reasons.
Do Your Research
Firstly, when deciding which hostel to stay at, do your research. Different hostels cater to different tastes. Some like to encourage pub crawls and constant parties. Others are more suited to an older crowd. Your best starting point Is to talk to people you know as word of mouth recommendations are invaluable. Failing that always check a hostel review on trip advisor or other sites. But keep in mind that people tend to write reviews more often if they’ve had issues, then to advise they are happy with their stay. Also, if you have any questions feel free to email or call them directly. Most places will be happy to communicate with you before you book to ensure it’s the right place for you.
Packing accordingly for a hostel stay can make the difference between not getting anything stolen, getting a decent night’s rest and getting along with your bunkmates – or not. At the very least your hostel essential kit should include high-quality ear plugs to block out snoring or party noises, a sleep mask, padlock for your locker, and an inside sheet set for comfort within your sleeping bag. I’d also suggest a toiletry bag (it’s not a hotel-nothing will be supplied), shower flip-flops to wear and a towel.
Respect Your Bunk Mates
Look it’s pretty simple when it comes to sharing a hostel dorm. As long as you do your best to respect your dorm mates you shouldn’t have too many problems. Of course, there’s always an exception to that, but for the most part as long as you try to keep the noise down, respect other people’s space and belongings you should be ok. Don’t ever be that douchy person that uses other peoples stuff or that complete jerk that has sex in a dorm room. There are no circumstances where either of those things is ok.
You don’t have to make conversation with every single person you see, but hostels really are a great place to meet similar people who too are on a journey of a lifetime. Travelling, especially solo, can be a lonely ride so it’s great if you can make some friends or even find travelling companions along the way. Even for the most introverted person hostels do provide an easier environment to strike up a conversation with someone.
Remember It’s Still A Hostel
When staying in a hostel there are certain things you just need to accept it when choosing to stay in one. Privacies, not something you are going to have a lot of, it’s not going to be quiet. It’s probably not going to be the cleanest place you’ve ever stayed. And you don’t get to get too upset that you’re not staying in a five-star hotel because that’s not what you’ve paid for.
A good idea for some time out is to mix it up with Airbnb’s or even a cheap hotel room here and there. Sometimes we just need a bit of down-time on our trip and these are also affordable alternatives to hostels stay.
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