“If You Can Sleep In A Hostel, You Can Sleep Anywhere”
In our previous post, we enumerated the various effects of long-term travel and explained how it can enrich your life. In fact, backpacking can even improve your health, according to Health Fitness Revolution. Backpacking builds a robust heart and strong bones, cleanse the lungs, and cool off the mind. Similarly, it allows you to experience more of the adventurous side of travelling as you’re more exposed to interaction with the locals and their culture.
For these reasons and more, an increasing number of travellers are trying out backpacking which led it to become a huge part of today’s tourism industry. Forbes specified that backpacking contributed about $217 billion of the $1.088 trillion spent on tourism back in 2012. It has become a vital economic force in the industry, making up 20% of international tourism.
But of course, backpacking comes with many challenges as well, the first of which is its tendency to be highly exhausting, making it a top priority for backpackers to find a good place to rest. And seeing as budgeting is also a major concern, backpackers usually go for hostels. This affordable type of accommodation offers relaxing spaces within a community of equally-enthusiastic travellers.
However, it’s important that when you stay at hostels, you understand that it entails certain risks. Hence, here are 10 tips gathered from personal experiences and travel professionals to ensure you can overcome such challenges. These tips will help you get the most from your hostel stay, because if you can sleep in a hostel, you can sleep anywhere.
1. Get to know the place before going
Hearsay is great when it comes to spontaneous adventures, but not when it comes to hostels. Make sure that the hostel is suitable for your needs and has a safe environment. Moreover, if you’re a couple, check if it’s coed because some hostels are exclusive to a single sex.
2. Buy/bring your own sheets
As with any other forms of accommodation, the sleeping amenities of some hostels are not their strongest suit. Trip Savvy suggests bringing your own sheets especially if you have sensitive skin. Although, there are different kinds of hostels such as backpacker hostels as well as youth hostels, and the latter usually prohibit using your own bedding so if your choice belongs to that category, it might be worth searching for another one.
3. Bring your own toiletries
As friendly as you might be with fellow backpackers, sharing toiletries is not advisable for hygiene reasons. It’s better to bring your own toiletries unless it’s clear that the hostel keepers provide new ones for every arriving guest.
4. Bring a pair of flip-flops for indoor use
In addition to toiletries, it’s also recommended to have your own indoor footwear as a courtesy to avoid bringing in dirt from outside after all those hours of walking. A good pair of cheap rubber flip-flops that are light and easy to pack should be sufficient.
5. Watch your valuables
It goes without saying that it’s recommended to bring all your valuables (especially your passport) with you at all times, even if the hotel has lockers and you’re not confident enough to use one. Hostels attract different sorts of people including those who have the tendency to swipe valuable items if the opportunity arises.
6. Some hostels accept cash only
The Huffington Post reminds travellers to always have cash in hand when staying at a hostel because most of the establishments are small businesses. Therefore, they might not have the necessary tools to conduct credit card transactions.
7. Bring earplugs
With all the potential thrills of the adventures waiting ahead, other guests in the hostel may be too excited to stay silent. If you’re easily affected by noise at bedtime, be sure to have packed some earplugs so you can have a good night’s sleep.
8. Avoid staying up late
Likewise, you should avoid disturbing your roommates as well, so staying up late is not advisable especially when others are trying to sleep. More importantly, you may not get to enjoy your vacation as much if you’re tired from lack of sleep. Leesa emphasised to limit your activities in the bedroom to make sure you and everyone else can fall asleep easily. This will help everybody get enough rest to be able to make the most out of their travels.
9. Serve yourself
As mentioned earlier, a lot of hostels are small businesses and are therefore also unable to hire workers to wait on weary travellers. Come meal time, expect to have to serve yourself as the staff might be too busy with more important concerns.
10. Don’t be shy
One of the best parts of travelling is meeting and mingling with all kinds of people. Hostels are renowned for their community vibe among guests as well as with their on-site crew. Hostels are not for shy people, so always be ready to foster new friendships, some of which might even last a lifetime.