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How to enjoy staying in a hostel for the first time

How to enjoy staying in a hostel for the first time

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Who here loves to travel? And who here loves to travel but not spend all their life savings in one go?

I hear you sister.

For the longest time, I refused to stay in hostels because I thought they were dirty, cockroach ridden, seedy places.

Needless to say, staying in a hostel for the first time was an incredibly enlightening experience for me.

There were no cockroaches.

No weird dorm mates.

No dirty sheets.

No weird smells.

As a first time traveller, I was petrified. I even researched the sh*t out of hostels so I could be prepared.

To save you the heart-ache, I’ve put together tips for staying in a hostel for the first time:

Bring your own sleeping bag liner and towel

Some hostels include this as part of the nightly cost, but some charge an extra fee.

If you’re staying in a hostel for the first time, be prepared. Or, if you know you’re going to be more comfortable with your own bedding and towel, bring your own! There are some budget-friendly options available to purchase online and on eBay.

Through my research, I managed to find one on Amazon from a company called The Friendly Swede. It packs small and is super light, which is perfect if you’re travelling with carryon only.

You can also buy small travel sized towels, look out for microfiber or gym towels. I have an older one from Kathmandu which has held up over the years!


Don’t forget your slippers/flip flops for the shower!

You need them. Period.

Sure, the floor looks clean… But don’t be deceived, you DO NOT want a foot infection from your travels.

Can you imagine the number of people who have graced the shared bathroom with their feet??

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Matchbox The Concept Hostel Singapore

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Pack some earplugs and an eye mask for sleeping

Now, this depends on how well you sleep… If you’re  a light sleeper or if the smallest hint of lighting can wake you up, ear plugs/eye masks are a must!

If you’re after a cheap pair, you should be able to find some at your local discount store. Or if you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight, they sometimes hand these out for free in travel packs.

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Downtown beds Mexico D.F. Mexico

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Pick a bed away from the door/ en-suite bathroom

I’m not going to lie.

I’m a bit of a grandma when it comes to my sleeping habits… I like to sleep early.

For others like me, being disturbed by someone opening and closing a door, or a toilet flushing is a big deal.

It’s enough to turn you into a grouchy mess (especially in the mornings!)

To avoid this, make sure to pick a bed away from the dorm entrance or away from the toilet. If you do this, you’re less likely to be disturbed by late night travelers.

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GOLI + BOSI Split, Croatia

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Go to all the hostel organised events and don’t be afraid to speak to your fellow travelers!

Most people who stay in a hostel are keen to meet new people, so don’t be afraid to talk to your fellow dorm mates. Chances are they are happy to speak with you and discuss their travel adventures.

Hostel organised events are also a great way to meet new people, especially if you’ve just landed in a new city.


Bring a lock

Depending on your hostel, your suitcase or backpack may not fit in their lockers. But if you bring a lock, you’ll be able to stash valuables like laptops, cameras or passports.

You don’t want to lose any valuables when traveling and you never know when someone might get itchy fingers!


If you’re traveling a lot, consider purchasing a membership to an affiliate program

Some hostels require you to be a member with them before you book your stay. Or, they charge a small nightly fee as a temporary membership.

When staying at Apple Hostels in Philadelphia, I purchased a Hostels International USA membership which was $28 for the year. This meant that I didn’t have to pay the $3/night fee AND I got a “stay three nights get one night free” voucher! Overall, this has saved me $$ in the long run.

And lastly…


Enjoy yourself!

Staying in a hostel is a very different experience to staying in a hotel or an AirBnB. You’re living in close quarters which a group of strangers, but this usually means people will try their hardest to be considerate of others.

There may be the odd person who is awake at 1 AM talking on their phone (quietly) under the sheets, convinced that no one else can hear them (!!)

The important thing to remember when this happens is that most people don’t mean to disturb others.

If you take this approach to your time in the hostel, you’ll find that you’ll enjoy it so much more!


So, what did you think?

What was YOUR experience like, staying in a hostel for the first time? Any tips/tricks I’ve missed?

Leave me a comment below, would love to hear any suggestions!



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