How to Hostel: Tips from a Traveler

If you’re somewhat of an experienced traveler, you’re probably fairly aware that hostels are a mix of love and hate, depending on several key things; which is both in and out of your control. Sometimes it’s a balance of the hostel itself and your cheap but understandable need to sleep somewhere safe! Othertimes you hit jackpot, and don’t have to worry about any of those little things. No matter what your situation is, there is almost one guarantee – a roommate or floormate who is just a wee bit too loud or a wee bit rude and overall, generally unaware of themselves and their surroundings.

Whatever, it is, if there’s a will to fix it, there is probably a way!

Here are some tips I’ve found to help myself and other fellow travelers. Hopefully, you will find some peace in your rest spot from these as well!

ALSO: This is NOT meant to discourage anyone from using hostels EVER!! They are amazing learning experiences even when they are a bit tougher than wanted. Almost all of my hostel experiences have been wonderful, in fact, fantastic, due to some of these helpful tips and support from great travel friends.

1. Research the hostel fully.

Review their personal pages and even personal bloggers with reviews. Even take a second to email or call them if they are missing information or if you are just generally concerned about something you’ve come across. DO NOT EVER ASSUME. They are all extremely different even in the same city! The more information, the better prepared you can be to have a better experience. (I once visited a hostel that had RANDOM AND UNHEARD OF covers/caps over their outlets.. needless to say, many were left without power that night!)

2. Compare hostels!

Even if they are a dollar or two in difference, it would make a world of one. Sometimes it’s not the best option to go with the cheapest hostel during your research, and other times, its perfectly fine! You could end up paying 5 (Insert dollar form) for a room with no clean beds, or you could spend 7 for some that offer free breakfasts, saving you money in the long run.

3. Upon arrival, LISTEN to the staff members and take some time to read the rules before leaving your room! THEN FOLLOW THEM!!!

This is probably the most important because it is a situation that affects others, and not just you alone. You will never be completely alone in a hostel. People are always doing things no matter if you can see them or not – whether it’s sleeping, relaxing or doing personal things to wind down from their day or to prepare for their next one. Even if no one is in your room at the specific moment, someone could walk in and want some peace at any time! This can also apply to your fellow floormates, as assumed, some walls are paper thin depending on the country.

Being respectful of the staff, the hostel itself and other paying customers, both roommates or floormates, are definitely keys to having a positive experience for all involved!

Last but not least…
4. Use common sense.

Recently, I have discovered that this portion, is not as “common” or simple as assumed… In reality, everything we learn is based on our interactions and environments. Inherently, those experiences change depending on the person. One’s common sense may be to have a phone discussion in your room rather than the hallway to have a more respectful conversation. Yet, another’s common sense may have taught them to use a room where people are not attempting to have a quiet space to decompress.

Part of this is being aware of yourself and your surroundings. You can’t please everyone of course, which is not the goal of awareness or common sense. There is no goal. Unless you consider the general wish to have a peaceful night or several nights in an unfamiliar place one!

Annnnnnd… Sometimes awareness is hard; it can take some work and trust from those around you! So please be kind, try to encourage and share and I promise, it will make for a better experience overall.

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