Staying in hostels is pretty much inevitable when you travel abroad in Europe. They can be super hip and modern style hostels including fast Wifi, a kitchen, and clean bunks. Orrrr they can be a little on the sketchy side making you think you wish you had brought a tent. I believe that it’s all about your mindset. Whatever situation you end up in, I think as long as you enter it with an open mind and you are prepared, you will have a rad time in that new city you’re about to explore. So with that I’ve come up with a few tips to help you get prepared for your experience.
1. Read the reviews first
This one might be a no brainer but a lot of people I know skip over it. I trust the variety of opinions of my fellow world travelers and most of them tell it like it is. If I see a repeating problem from more than one traveler chances are that there is actually a problem. If it’s a big one liiike let’s say rude employees or dirty rooms chances are I won’t stay there and find a better option.
2. Location, location, location
“Duh Lorial this is insanely obvious” but seriously. I understand that one of the main points for staying in a hostel is so that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on your room. But let’s say that you find a fricken sweet deal on a hostel and you’re only paying 10 euros a night but….it’s on the outskirts of town. Unless you have a car, or bike, or you like walking incredible distances to everything it’s going to suck. The whole point of travelling anyway is not so that you can hang out in the hostel. You’re supposed to go out and meet new people and explore that new place so being closer to the center or near all the action is where you should be.
3. Bring the extras
Hostels (or at least the ones I have stayed at) don’t usually include towels, sheets, or toiletries. Sometimes they do offer options for you to rent some of these things but why not be prepared. All the hostels that I have stayed at have included sheets and blankets but in a lot of other hostels the sheets are not included. You can pack a sheet set which is two sheets sewn together like this one from Cocoon that is super easy to pack. Also bring flip-flops because there is a good chance that you’ll be sharing showers with many many other people.
4. Pick the bottom bunk if you’re traveling solo
Usually I am in a hostel with friends and I’m always excited to snag the top bunk but travelers take note. If you are solo grab the bottom bunk. Not only is it easier to get in and out but also, if you stumble home from a night out it’s a lot less bothersome to others as opposed to climbing up to the top and trying to get comfortable avoiding waking up guy/gal below. The only downside to the bottom bunk would be if your top bunk buddy needs to get in and out of their lockers below the bunk. Though, most hostels that I’ve stayed in have had their lockers beside the beds not below.
Extra tip: If you do love the top bunk ((like muah)) take out your toiletries and pj’s before you go out at night so that when you do stumble in after rounds of kalimotxo you’ll be prepared to hop into bed without disrupting your dorm mates
5. Interact with the people there
Last but not least get to know the travelers that are there with you. Usually the travelers that are staying in hostels are like-minded adventurers just like you and they want to get to know you. Meeting new friends in hostels is incredibly easy and so rewarding. Take part in some of the activities that the hostel offers if they have such services or go explore the city you’re visiting with them. You can make lifelong friends from so many countries and who doesn’t want that!
Hope these were helpful for you! Let me know your tips and tricks for staying comfortably in hostels.