It is probably wise to note that not all hostels offer basic facilities, there are in fact plenty of luxury options out there, but hostelling as many know it involves a certain amount of ‘roughing it’. Also, many hostels have private rooms available for couples, families and older travellers. It is not just the young that stay in hostels, the young at heart too! You will meet all sorts of people from 18 to 80 enjoying the freedom of travelling and the friendly atmosphere that is synonymous with hostelling.
Top or Bottom Bunk?
Some will tell you the bottom bunk is best because it is easier to get to, especially after a few beers, and there is less chance of waking up your bunk-mate. Others say that you will get a better night’s sleep in a top bunk, precisely because everyone chooses the bottom one – the mattresses tend to be in better shape!
Pack a sleep sheet
To avoid paying extra for hostel sheets, make sure you pack your own. A sleep sheet can be as simple as a double sheet sewn up to make a sack to sleep in. The added bonus is that you know it is yours… and know how clean it is!
Don’t forget your toiletries!
Hostels are not hotels, and rarely have luxuries such as towels and soap. Make sure you have yours packed before you go. If you are trying to keep luggage light, a sarong doubles as a handy drying cloth, great in hot countries because it will dry fast!
Earplugs are essential
When sleeping in a room full of people the chances are that at least one person will have a tendency to snore. Get yourself some ear plugs to help getter a better night’s sleep.
Pack an eyemask
Curtains may be thin and if you are partying the night away, you’ll want to block out as much light as possible for some good sleep. Alternatively, take a t-shirt or sarong and make a blindfold to keep out the light!
Shed some light on your situation
Pack a torch so you can find your way around your dorm without waking the rest of the guests up!
Keep your stuff safe
Generally speaking, backpackers and seasoned hostel travellers are a trustworthy bunch, but it is still best to err on the side of caution and keep essential documents safe. If the hostel has a safe, use it. If it doesn’t at least keep your passport with you at all times.
Crack open a bottle of wine or hand around some biscuits – sharing something delicious is an automatic conversation starter, and will help you get to know other people staying at the hostel. Remember, the atmosphere at a hostel is friendly, and everyone is ready to make new friends and have new experiences – There is no need to be shy!