Ultimate Hostel Guide 2019 - 24 Tips to Have the Best Experience
1. Read Reviews
Reviews are very important when in search for a quality hostel. Filter them by the most recent because sometimes bad reviews from years ago will show up at the top (especially in hostelworld) and be inaccurate. Make sure to look out for reviews of bed bugs, cleanliness and staff friendliness.
2. Bed Bugs vs Mites
Know the difference and prevent them. Read my bed bug article here.
3. Free Walking Tours
This is a great way to make new friends right away and get a first impression of the location youre visiting. PS - Always tip your guide! :)
4. Book One Night First
I suggest booking a one night stay for your first night to feel out the vibe and decide if you want to stay or move on. This is also good because sometimes the hostel is cheaper when you book directly through them.
eg. I was in Perth, Australia and was paying $25 USD per night and until I asked the front desk if there were some discounts and paid for a week (7 days) for $125
5. Breakfast included
Check before booking to see if breakfast is included. I would say around 60% of hostels I stayed at in the past year had free breakfast. Its the cheapest way to save money on food and pack some food for later.
6. Locked Bags
Always ALWAYS keep your bag locked when you leave the room. Hostels are fun and great until someone steals your stuff and you know longer trust anyone. Keep your stuff locked and dont give them an opportunity to.
These are the locks I’m currently using: https://amzn.to/2SfHPqN
7. Locked Bags - Keep Away From Beds
Well now that you know to keep your bag locked up. KEEP IT AWAY FROM THE BED. This will prevent bed bugs from jumping into your stuff. If you can’t keep it away from the bed, please just keep it zipped and locked up.
8. Request a Bottom Bunk
easy to get in/out
closer to outlets
makes things easier when coming back in the middle of the night
9. Booking Hostels
These are the websites I use to book hostels:
Pro tip: to avoid the extra HostelWorld fee, send the hostel an email saying you would like to reserve a room through them. They usually have you pay on arrival.
10. Flashlight / Headlamp
You may come in very late night and don’t want to be the person who turns on the light. People will hate you. Or you may wake up super early to catch your flight or go do an excursion. The headlamp is a great idea for this because you can get in your stuff without distrubing the whole room. Also people will appreciate you for it.
Headlamp - https://amzn.to/2O71c6W
11. Be Shower Ready
Bring your own flip flops, towel, and toiletries. You may come across nasty shower enviornments and trust me you do not want your feet touching it. Ew. Most hostels charge to rent a towel, but I recommend bringing your own. I’ll put a link below for the microfiber towel I use, it dries really quick and is antibacterial. I have only been to a few hostels where there were shampoo and body wash but you need to bring your own. I used and really liked shampoo bars. I kept them in tin container and they save space and the world. I’ll leave a link below.
Microfiber Towel - https://amzn.to/2XYu6uR
Shampoo Bar - https://amzn.to/32xfvFf
Conditioner Bar - https://amzn.to/32zbYWN
12. Ear Plugs
Self-explanitory. If you can’t sleep with lots of noise, bring ear plugs.
Ear Plugs - https://amzn.to/32It19c
13. Look at Amenities
Depending on what’s important to you, check to see what the hostel offers. Do they have a bar, good wifi, laundry facilities, and kitchen area etc?
Lots of hostels have washing facilities, most don’t have dryers and you will have to air dry. You will need to buy your own detergent and also pay to use the facilities. I save money buy using this portable laundry wash bag. It saves me money and time.
Check it out here: https://amzn.to/2JUZ1xV
Check the reviews to see how good the wifi is. I’ve been to many hostels that say they have wifi but it then ends up being so slow that they might as well not offer it. Thankfully I have data everywhere because of my phone plan that works around the world. Read about it here.
16. Be Friendly & Have Fun!
The hostel enviornment is social and fun. Be nice to people as they are traveling and excited to meet new people like you.
Use the kitchen! Go grocery shopping and cook your own food. It will save you money so you can spend more on other things.
If your goal is to be social, check and see if there are hostels that have a bar area. Usually they have good deals too for the guests. Save some money, have some fun.
19. White Sheets vs Colored Sheets
THIS IS A HUGE ONE! Check the reviews and pictures and opt for a hostel with white sheets! TRUST ME.. bed bugs stain sheets and white sheets make it easier to spot if there is a bed bug problem. The hostels that use colored sheets usually do it so its easier to hide the stains and the cleanliness. EW. I wish someone had given me a heads up about this and I didnt have to learn the hard way.
20. Check in Check out
It’s important to know the check out times because they will charge you for a late check out. So set our alarm!
21. Tupperware / Food
It may be a good decison to invest in a tupperware container. Most hostels have fridges and ask you to label your food. If you want to save money and cook this is great a option. Keep your seconds for later.
22. Sleeping Bag vs Sleeping Bag Liner
Many people don’t bring either of these things and are fine. I can’t tell you how many hostels I’ve stayed at where it was freezing and they don’t provide you with enough sheets. I never regretted bringing my thin sleeping bag. I’ve slept in it on trains, ferries, and buses. I love having it. Another option that I’ve seen many people do is the sleeping bag liner. It’s not as warm but it is another layer of warmth and protection in the hostel beds.
Sleeping Bag Liner - https://amzn.to/2O7VXUK
Sleeping Bag (great for traveling) - https://amzn.to/2xWGfAL
23. Hostel Discount Cards
Take advantage of these. Usually by the front desk there are a bunch of brochures with discount codes for local activities. I saved a lot of money with FlixBus vouchers and food vouchers. There are so many cool things to do that backpackers get a discount on. Dont forget to check it out!
24. Pack the Night Before
A few reasons why this is a good idea:
You are prepared in the morning and dont have to be the loud person going through their bag.
You can sleep longer, especially if you were up because of the noise.
Not being stressed in the morning and trying get your stuff together in the dark.