Staying in a hostel for the first time may be nerve-wracking, but you’ll be absolutely fine if you follow these 9 ground rules.
1. Say Hello!
Many travellers staying in hostels travel solo, and not gonna lie, it gets lonely! It’s likely that you’re not the only one with first night jitters. A simple hello may set the stage for lifelong friendships.
2. Be Respectful
You’re sharing a living space with people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Be mindful of the cultural norms of others and don’t be afraid to ask or clarify if you need to. Most travellers are happy to walk you through their culture!
3. Use the Lounge
Lucky you! Your hostel has a lounge! It’s there for a reason, and having your meals there instead of eating under your covers (eww) may help you get to know new people outside of your bunkmates!
4. Be Considerate
This shouldn’t have to be said, but unfortunately, many travellers still manage to make a huge nuisance out of themselves. If you’re back in the wee hours of the morning, try your very best not to keep flicking the lights on and off. If you’re leaving at the crack of dawn, try to get your bags packed the night before to minimise rustling. If it’s 3 a.m. in the morning, for the love of the travel gods, please stop chatting!
5. Bring a Padlock
This is a life or death requirement. You’re going to have to leave your documents and/or cash in your hostel. Many hostels offer lockers without padlocks, or are happy to loan one to you—at a fee. To save money and ensure that your valuables stay yours, remember to lock up and scramble the combination on your lock, and god forbid you pick “1, 2, 3” as your passcode.
6. Earplugs are Essential
Sometimes, you do your very best to be the perfect hostel guest, but you still end up having a shitty experience. Truth is, what the rest of your bunkmates or hostelmates do is beyond your control. Among the most common complaints are noises in the dark. Yes, noises of all kinds. Shushing only goes so far to get inconsiderate travellers to shut up, so do yourself a favour and bring some earplugs. Just don’t sleep through your 5 a.m. alarm!
7. Ask about Free Activities
Most hostels provide free city tours with willing local guides. It’s up to you to tip the guide depending on how much you loved or hated the trip. Tip: check with your new friends if it’s your first time in a new city. Some hostels even host free dinners or give out free drinks on certain days, so keep your eyes peeled or check with the friendly staff at the counter!
8. Flip Flops
Communal showers are hotbeds for all sorts of microorganisms. Think bacteria and fungi. Remember that bunkmate with smelly feet? His foot fungus will live in the showers forever. Bring a pair of flip flops and make sure to wear it whenever you visit the toilet/showers.
9. It’s Great to be the Bottom
If you happen to arrive before the rest of your bunkmates and hostel reception gives you a choice, put dibs on the lowest bunk. Nothing feels worse than having to clamber to the top of 3-tiered bunk beds with the lights off trying to make as little noise as possible. You’ll more likely stumble and give your precious knees a deep dark bruise on the super hard planks and wake the entire dorm up. Bless you too if you’ve gotten all things packed and forget your portable charger on the bed. If you’re down under, you can roll in and out of bed at will. Just be careful of low roofs. No matter how excited you are, sit up slowly.
The idea of staying in a hostel for the first time may be unsettling, but give yourself time and space. It’s okay to make rookie mistakes; just a simple apology will make things right! We hope our tips go a long way in making you feel more comfortable with staying in hostels. If you’re a pro, drop us a comment down below with your take on how to make hostel stays enjoyable!