A Guide to Staying in Hostels
Many budding backpackers and travellers wonder whether they should stay in hostels during their travels. Although there is no denying that hostels are usually cheaper than hotels, plus you will meet fellow travellers, there are also the horror stories about unhygienic, expensive and unsafe hostels, not to mention the reports of weird people and thefts.
Contrary to popular belief, most hostels are extremely welcoming, comfortable and clean places to stay; unfortunately it is the minority which have tainted the name of the majority.
Nevertheless, staying in a hostel, just like moving into university halls, does come with a period of adjustment. To help anyone thinking about staying in a hostel, we have created the following helpful guide;
Prepare your expectations…
• To make sure you aren’t over or under whelmed by your accommodation, make sure you have your expectations in check. Hostels will usually have a reception, shower and bathroom, a communal kitchen and sitting area, plus bedrooms with multiple beds. The rooms will vary in size depending on the specific place, and many will offer same or mixed gender bedrooms.
Do your research…
• Make sure you book your accommodation in advance as often as possible; otherwise you may find yourself without a bed for the night, or somewhere a bit grim.
• Ideally you should choose accommodation near the centre of the place you’re visiting; otherwise you will end up spending more money and time on transport.
Invest in the essentials…
• Ear plugs and natural sleeping aids are a priceless investment when staying in shared accommodation. If your neighbour is a snorer, these should make sure you still get some sleep.
• An inflatable pillow is always a great investment, good for travelling and if the pillows provided are uncomfortable.
• Your mum won’t be there to wake you up, so get a travel clock with alarm, to make sure you don’t sleep your trip away.
• Invest in quality travel insurance, making sure the policy meets your requirements.
Do live out of your bag…
• There is always one messy person, but don’t let that be you! Remember that you are sharing a relatively compact space with other people, so don’t be messy and selfish with the space. This should also stop you from mislaying or forgetting any of your possessions.
Listen and learn…
• You will meet some amazing and interesting people on your travels, so make sure you get involved and get chatting to everyone – soak up their tips and advice.
• If you can rent a locker/space to secure your possessions, do it! Otherwise investing in some small luggage locks is advisable.
• Make sure you’ve packed any important possessions or documents safely, either wrap them up or put them in a water proof bag, to avoid damage.
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• Always carry of a photocopy of any prescriptions you are on, your passport and your travel documents, in case of emergency.