The myths about hostels are that they’re gross, loud, and only for young people. This is not entirely true! Hostels are a great way to travel cheap and meet other travellers. We understand that a hostel may not be your type of accommodation, and that’s totally fine! We’re just saying “don’t knock it, ‘till you try it”! We were once wary of booking hostels; sharing rooms with 10 other people, having one bathroom, and loud snorers, but after traveling and staying in many hostels, we can confidently say that it is a great way to save money.
Hostels aren’t only for young people who are in that party stage. There are youth hostels (that are geared towards that type of crowd), backpacking hostels (geared towards backpackers), hiking hostels (geared towards people who are specifically there for hiking), and even family and Christian hostels. If you don’t want a youth hostel vibe, look for other hostels that aren't geared towards partying and drinking. If this is your first time or 100th time in a hostel, here are five things you shouldn’t forget to bring with you!
NEVER, EVER, EVER FORGET FLIP-FLOPS. That’s bolded and italicised for EXTRA emphasis! This depends on what type of room you book in a hostel, a private room with private bathroom, or a shared room with a communal bathroom, but either way, don’t forget your flip-flops. If you are in a shared room, chances are, you’re sharing a bathroom with other people. With so many people sharing a bathroom, wearing flip-flops while you shower is the safest and cleanest option, so that your feet are clean and don’t contract any bacteria.
Flip-flops are so easy and don’t take up much space. You can wear them as a type of “slipper”, so you don’t need to put on your shoes to go anywhere within the hostel.
- Your own shampoo & conditioner
Some hostels do offer you shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, but most don’t. Bring your own travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and even toothpaste. If they DO offer you all of these items, they’re probably not the best quality for your hair. Whenever we book hostels to stay in, we bring all of our own shower supplies because most of the time, we aren’t given them and if we are, they’re low quality and don’t make us feel too clean.
- A towel
Some hostels do offer towels to their guests, but others don’t. Usually your hostel will say this in the description and details section of their page. We recommend bringing your own towels, anyways. You may end up not even using your towel, but it can always come in handy! Sometimes we use our extra towel for the beach, as a blanket, or wrapping things. You can bring a small and light beach towel to not take up too much space in your suitcase.
- A lock
There are a lot of hostels in Europe that provide lockers for travellers if they are in a shared room. This is a great amenity to have, so you can keep all of your things in one area. Although hostels may provide you with a locker, they usually don’t provide you with a lock. Make sure to always bring one with you, just in case, so you can lock up your belongings!
Pro tip: although there is a general feeling of trust between hostel-stayers, you can never be too careful. Make sure you always carry your passport and identification cards with you and lock the rest of your items away.
- An open mind
Having an open mind while staying at a hostel is essential. A hostel is a great way to meet other travellers, other people from around the world and a great way to make new friends! Going into your hostel with expectations or uncertainty will keep you on edge the entire time. The many times that we’ve stayed at hostels, we’ve always entered with optimism (even though some places definitely didn’t deserve it). We’ve made friends that made our trip more memorable and met others who had a wealth of knowledge. Keep an open mind!
What are your five items that you never forget to bring with you when staying at a hostel? Did we forget something? Share in the comments below!