If you like meeting new people, then staying in a hostel can be a fun way to travel, especially if you are travelling solo. Shared dormitories have their advantages and disadvantages, but overall for most people they are ideal; they’re budget friendly, sociable and full to the brim with travel tips, advice and offers on local attractions.
However, sharing a room with anywhere between four and forty people (and sharing a bathroom with much more) can take its toll if you’re travelling long term. That’s why we’ve put together out top 5 tips for surviving hostel life. At the end of the day, when you’re kept awake by loud shenanigans just remember – you can probably thank the hostel for all those new friends you’ve made, that job you heard about and the money left in your bank account.
1. Bring an eye mask and ear plugs
Hostel rooms are loud 7 nights a week; that is something you will have to get used to. Not everyone is one the same schedule, so people will want to sleep on the nights you come home at 5am and vice versa. Lights will get turned on and people will be shouting and giggling. Most travellers carry an eye mask and ear plugs for long journeys anyway, but you may find yourself needing them on a regular basis. Don’t get grumpy because you can’t get enough sleep!
2. Be considerate
Be considerate to other travellers’ needs, and hopefully they will be considerate in return. If some people in the room like to read or have to be up early the nest day, take your party elsewhere. If you yourself have to leave early to catch transport, don’t turn the lights on at 4am to get ready – that’s just unnecessary and annoying! Pack your things the night before and use the bathroom to get ready. Small gestures like this will go a long way in a hostel.
3. Spend more time elsewhere
Everyone needs a break from the madness sometimes, to be alone or just outside of the claustrophobic room. Hostels aren’t really designed to be lived in or to spend most of your days dwelling in. They are designed for travellers who want to explore the area they are staying in – so make sure you do.
4. Lock up your belongings
All backpackers and travellers are in the same position, so it would be nice to think that nobody would steal any of your limited possessions. But unfortunately, theft does happen and a dorm room is a thieving heaven. Most good hostels have lockers in the rooms or a separate safe area; make sure all your important documents, money, bank cards and electricals are always locked away, especially at night time.
5. Meet friends and get a private room
If you’ve been on the road a while, it is normal to need a few night’s break from this constant social community. While you have made numerous friends from all over the world, you need sleep more than you need friends. Most hostel rooms offer private rooms too: singles, twins and doubles, or dorms with 4 beds. This is an ideal option for a group of travellers who have formed a bond, to move into a private room together. If you feel like you simply can’t face a dorm room at all (they’re not for everyone) then use Travel Friendz to find a companion beforehand to share a room with. These rooms are pricier than shared dorms, but for the sake of a few night’s good kip it’s well worth it.
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Have a BSc in Computing and Psychology, a postgraduate degree in Internet Technologies. Outside work, love Oral Storytelling, long distance running and playing Volleyball.