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5 Important Tips You Need for Staying in a Hostel


Your guide for staying in a hostel

If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, it’s completely normal to be a bit nervous about what to expect. Read on for my 5 tips for staying in a hostel.

Maybe you’ve heard a few less-than-pleasant travel tales about staying in hostels and are worried about your upcoming trip. Or maybe you’ve booked your first solo trip and booked a hostel so you can make some likeminded, travel-obsessed friends.

Either way, in this blog post I will give you 5 tips for staying in a hostel which will make your first hostel experience go without a hitch. It will be all the more memorable, for the right reasons. Consider your worries calmed so that you can focus on the important stuff.


  1. Ear plugs
  2. Flip flops
  3. A scarf (yes, really, I’ll tell you why)
  4. A padlock
  5. Hostel etiquette

Travelling to Porto, Portugal? Click for the Instagram-worthy restaurants you MUST visit.

What are hostels?

If you’re completely new to the concept of hostels, they are budget-friendly accomodations where you typically share a dorm and bathroom facilities with other travellers. Usuaully, if you book in advance you can choose whether you’d be happy to stay in a mixed (all genders) dorm, or single gender occupancy. There also tend to be options for how many people you share a dorm with. It’s usually marginally cheaper to share with more people.

Hostels are great places to meet other people who share some of the same passions as you. You already know for certain that they like travelling, so there’s the first icebreaker out of the way. In my experience, staying in hostels gives you the perfect opportunity to start exciting new friendships with people who love to travel just as much as you. Not to mention that hostels are much cheaper than hotels, so you can spend your money on more travel excursions.

Most hostels offer cool social spaces where you can relax and chill out on the days you aren’t out exploring. You should use the social spaces to get to know the to other travellers, it’s what they’re there for! I can guarantee that even if you didn’t initiate any conversations, and if you sat there for long enough, you’d end up with one more friend than you started with.

Making friends whilst travelling

After making friends with fellow travellers at a hostel in Porto, we made travel plans to meet up in Madrid together next month! You’ve probably read this a lot, but it’s so true that you can make lifelong friends with those you meet whilst travelling.

Making friends as an adult is difficult, try these 3 methods to expand your social circle.

Ok, let’s get to it. 5 tips for staying in a hostel. Firstly, we have…

Ear plugs

First up we have ear plugs. The smallest item on the list, but perhaps one of the most important!

Try these from Amazon. You get x4 pairs of soft, sillicone earplugs and a handy case to put them in.

Wherever there are people, there is noise, notwithstanding hostels. Regardless of whether I am staying in a 12-person dorm or in a 5 star hotel, I always add earplugs to my packing list. Blocking out any noise so I can get my 9 hours of sleep is so important.

For the most part, my hostel stays have been relatively peaceful and quiet, but it’s good to take earplugs, just in case. Whether it’s chatty dormmates, construction noise, or music from a nearby club, earplugs have saved me from sleep deprivation on many occasion!

Flip flops

Photo credit: Gilles Seguin

If you’re staying in a hostel then flip flops are a must. Sharing bathroom facilities means that you may be washing in a shower block away from your room. Wearing flip flops equals no soggy socks when you’re getting changed after your shower.

They don’t need to be fancy or expensive by any means. Something you can throw in your backpack for a day at the beach or wear whilst you use the shared hostel bathrooms. Like these.

A scarf

Photo credit: Sama Hosseini

Now you’re probably thinking ‘I’m going to [insert hot country here], why on earth would I bring a scarf?’. Because scarves are multifunctional. I’m not talking the woolly scarf your Grandma knitted you last winter, more like a cotton scarf.

What can I use a scarf for whilst travelling?

Forgot your beach towel and need to dry off after taking a dip? Use a scarf.

Burnt your shoulders on a day trip and want to cover up? Use a scarf.

Cold on the plane and want to get cosy? Use a scarf.

Above all, my favourite use for a scarf whilst travelling is to use it as a curtain around your hostel bed (if you’re on the bottom bunk!). This acts a way to stop sunlight waking you up in the morning, and signals to your dormmates that you’re still sleeping and not to disturb you.

Simply tuck the scarf underneath the mattress above you to create a bit more privacy for you whilst you get your beauty sleep.

A padlock

Photo credit: Chris Barbalis

When you stay in a hostel, it’s commonplace that you’ll be provided with a locker to store your possesions whilst you’re out exploring.

Although I’ve never been given any reason to feel uneasy about staying with other travellers, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Just pop your possesions in the locker, lock them up with the padlock, and go about your day stress-free.

Padlocks also come in handy for locking your suitcase or backpack whilst you’re flying.

Hostel etiquette

Photo credit: Gita Krishnamurti

Understanding hostel etiquette is possibly the tip which can impact your experience the most. The better you understand hostel etiquette, the better your chances of making amazing friendships and having an unfogettable trip.

The principles of hostel etiquette are based around respect. They’re easy to understand and follow. Basically, treat others how you wish to be treated!

Examples of hostel etiquette

If you have an early morning flight to catch, it’s a good idea to pack the night before. This way, you aren’t waking others up when you’re rustling through your suitcase at 2am.

You get a phone call at 4am from your friend back home. It’s probably a good idea to take the call outside of your dorm.

If you use the shared kitchen facilities to make a meal, wash up after yourself.

Are there any more top tips for staying in a hostel?

Enjoy yourself and have fun!

It’s not an exaggeration to believe that you can make lifelong friends in hostels. So take these 5 handy tips, and take them with you for a trip that you’ll never forget.

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