There are a lot of myths about hostels but hostels can actually be a great option whether you are one a budget or not. Here are few tips to make sure you have a pleasant hostel experience!
Many people think that hostels are dirty, loud and are for young people. As someone who has stayed in many hostels and also have volunteered in one, I can, with confidence, say that these are all myths. I have seen many many different types of people staying at hostels and have met some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met in hostels. I had beer with a German history professor, an international school teacher who has lived and worked in 10 different countries and even national hockey players from the Netherlands. There are many families that come to stay at hostels and it’s definitely not only for young people. Most hostels have been a lot cleaner than some of the hotels I’ve stayed at and yes, it can be loud from time to time but most are very respectful as they too know what it’s like staying at a hostel.
Are you convinced yet? Here are some tips to help your first time hostel experience even better:
1) Know your check-in time!
Make sure to know when check-in is so you can either get there and check-in on time or plan your day in case you arrive before the check-in time. If you do arrive before, there are places to relax in the hostel. If not, you can also keep your things in the hostel and explore the neighborhood!
2) Explore the neighborhood!
Knowing where things are walking distance will make your stay easier. Speak with the front desk people or just walk around the neighborhood to familiarize yourself with things that are around you.
3) Top bunk, bottom bunk?
Usually you can’t choose whether you want top or bottom bunk, especially when it’s crowded and fully booked. However, if you have a preference (I prefer bottom), let them know when you are booking.
4) Bring a lock!
I forget this all the time so I have purchase a lock every time I go to a hostel. Such a waste of money and now, I have too many locks :(. You will have a locker to lock your valuables – bring a lock!
5) Light sleeper?
Fortunately I am not, but many people I’ve traveled with are. If you are a light sleeper, you can set up a little tent around you using towels or extra sheets. Bring ear plugs (some hostels provide them) and/or sleep masks.
6) Be Respectful!
Act the way you want others to act. Don’t turn the lights on at odd hours (bring a headlight or flashlight if you really have to navigate in the middle of the night), do not pack/unpack at 4 in the morning. If you need to leave early, pack it before you go to bed. If you come in late, just go to sleep. Don’t rummage through, change, go in and out of the room. Leave your change of clothes on your bed before you leave so you can slip into them before going to bed.
7) Meet people!
Most importantly, have fun and meet people. The whole idea about staying at hostels is that you can meet people and explore the city together, especially if you are traveling by yourself. A lot of hostels offer events that anyone can join – so go to them and learn how not to be shy!
Of course, there are times hostels can be a nightmare – just like any other place you stay. There are definitely some hostel horror stories I’ve heard like Nomadicmatt’s hostel horror story about a shitty roommate (literally). But these are rare cases and more often than not, hostels are a wonderful experience. If not, it’s a cheap decent option.
Do you have any great or awful hostel stories? Share with us!