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Tips For Staying In A Hostel From a Person Who Has Stayed in 80+!

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I have a love-hate relationship with hostels. I love the social vibe of hostels, I love the price, I love (most of) the people I meet in hostels, but I hate the lack of sleep I often get from staying in a dorm room (hello light sleeper and snorers!) and I certainly need my sleep otherwise I’m not a happy wanderer!

I’ve done a rough count of how many hostels and dorm rooms I’ve stayed in since I went on my first trip to the USA in 2010 and I got to about 80!! So I feel certainly know a good hostel when I stay at one and have picked up plenty of hostel tips along the way!

Therefore I’ve put together some tips for staying in a hostel so you choose the right one for you, enjoy it and get enough sleep!

Tips For Staying in a Hostel

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog tips for staying in a hostel

Keep reading for my tips for staying in a hostel!

1. Always read the Reviews!

I use to search and book for hostels to stay in and I always sort the results by price and by rating so the best hostels will appear at the top.

I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s worth paying just a few pounds more to stay in a nicer hostel, this means they’ll be cleaner, in a good location, have comfy beds, good facilities and helpful staff (hopefully!) and the best way to find this out is by trusting what other travellers say.

Although I do agree that it’s nice to stay at independent hostels, my biggest tip for staying in hostels is to look for chain hostels too because you know what quality you’re going to get in everyone, for example, I stayed at 2 Stayokay Hostels in Amsterdam and I’d stay at more of their properties again because they both offered a good and similar service, they were clean with nice staff and I know I’d get that at another one of their hostels too!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog tips for staying in a hostel

The welcome at Stayokay Amsterdam!

2. Pack the Right Things!

The biggest tip for staying in a hostel is packing an eye mask and ear plugs, I could not sleep without mine! People will be coming in and leaving at different times, potentially making noise, packing away their things etc and these will help you ignore the commotion and get a good nights sleep.

I always take a pair of flip flops too even if I’m going to a city and won’t be wearing them out, it’s so much nicer to have these when you’re walking in and out of the bathroom at night or when you go for a shower (I do sometimes wear flip flops in the shower haha). Also having your own towel makes life easier as most hostels do not provide you with a towel and some then charge you for use of one, this is the same with a padlock so always bring your own!

Related Post: 18 Travel Essentials To Pack That Will Save You Space, Time & Money!

3. Focus on the Positives of Hostels

One of my top Hostel tips is to focus on the positives! I mentioned a few positives of hostels above like being social, the price etc but there are a few other things that make them better than hotels.

For example, most have kitchens to cook and store food so you don’t always need to eat out, often there are free computers, there’s usually always free wi-fi, helpful staff with plenty of knowledge who take the time to give you a map and guide you around the city/area rather than just pointing you in the direction of your room, discount prices at their bar and restaurant if they have one, potential free tea and coffee facilities.. just those little things that will help make the lack of sleep slightly worth it!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog tips for staying in a hostel

Look at this amazing hostel social area in Amsterdam!

4. Be Considerate so people will be Considerate back

I always try to make sure my bags are packed the night before if I have to get up early and I make sure I make as least noise as possible if I get in late and people are in bed, I use my phone as a torch when its late and the light is off and I don’t think it’s too much to expect this from fellow roommates too however from experience I know that often not all people are like this!

I’m usually the one that goes to bed early and then gets up reasonably early as I like to see places in the morning before it gets too busy and not spend all morning in bed, so the way I see it is that if you come in at night and are not considerate and wake me up by being purposefully loud then I may just make some noise in the morning to try to disturb you.. what goes around comes around!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog tips for staying in hostels

5. Check out the private room rate!

Understandably private rooms are more expensive than a bed in a dorm room however if you are travelling with a friend or partner then have a look at the rate anyway as it may only be a little bit more than both of your dorm rates put together and you may think it’s worth it for a good nights sleep.

I use these days to book all of my hostels as I love their flexible booking options.

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog tips for staying in a hostel

6. Stay in a Female Dorm, if you are Female

On that note, I always try to stay in a female dorm rather than a mixed dorm (sometimes boys can be smelly!) and I love that there are so many female dorms on offer all around the world now.

I use these days to book all of my hostels as I live their flexible booking options.

7. Book a Small Dorm Room

I personally only stay in 4 or 6-bed dorm rooms now if I can, it means less chance of snorers and people not waking you up!

However, if you are a really social person or looking to meet friends in a hostel, this is not the best idea because of course, you’re less likely to meet people! This is more a hostel tip for introverts staying at hostels!

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog tips for staying in a hostel

Female Dorm in Amsterdam

8. Socialise!

I’ve met some really good friends in hostels, in fact, I met 2 of my best friends in hostels, one in a hostel in Darwin in 2012 and another in a hostel in Thailand in 2014!

I still keep in touch with many more people who I’ve met, and ultimately this is what hostels are all about, making friends, socialising and having fun! Whether they end up being friends just for the day and you never see or speak to them again or they end up being life long friends!

It can be intimidating when you’re on your own, you see a group of people having fun and chatting and you want to join in but feel like you can’t. I would say just go for it, try to join in on the conversation they’re having, ask for the wi-fi code or if they know where something is!

I’ve had many experiences where I’ve seen a group of people and thought oh they must be life long friends from home as they’re getting on so well and then I start speaking to them and it turns out they only met in the hostel the day before! Also, even if you see people who are travelling together, often they are looking for extra company and don’t mind you enjoying in on their conversation or going out for dinner with them.

The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog tips for staying in a hostel

And there you go, just a few points that should help make hostel life easier because as I always say – I’d rather spend £100 on 5 nights accommodation in a hostel than 1 night in a hotel!

I use these days to book all of my hostels as I live their flexible booking options.

Kara // Heels In My Backpack

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

YES. Definitely pack the night before, I hate when dorm dwellers wake up at 4am, turn the light on and start packing! Super annoying... Fab post! x


Wednesday 16th of November 2016

Thank you! I know its so annoying and inconsiderate!!