1. How do I find the best hostel that is affordable, clean, safe, and convenient?
Finding a hostel is really based on a person’s personal preference. I’m a germaphobe, so cleanliness was the main deciding factor in where I would be staying. If that meant spending $10-15 more on a cleaner hostel, I was doing it. The most successful way I found all of the hostels I stayed at was by using Google, HostelWorld, and Booking. I used HostelWorld mainly on reviews of the hostels. HostelWorld features the most reviews from travelers from all over the world, many hostels on HostelWorld have more than 1000 reviews on them. Then I used Google to find hostel based on their price comparison since it automatically compares prices using websites like Booking, PriceLine, Kayak, and more.
However, I have found that booking directly through the hostel, it is so much cheaper since you do not have to go through a third-party website/company. Many hostels have websites you can book through, a contact form for booking, or an email to request a stay.
2. Do hostels have lockers? How do I keep my stuff safe?
Most hostels do provide lockers, however, if you have a huge luggage then it most likely will have to go down to the luggage storage area. These can vary with it being opened to everyone staying in the hostel or to bigger lockers. But it is a hassle if you constantly forget something in your luggage. So I recommend bring a smaller luggage that way it can be kept with you at all times and it is much easier to carry. Especially since some hostels don’t always have an elevator.
3. Are hostel rooms mixed, male, or female?
Hostel rooms can vary based on availability and the hostel. Although I know the likeliness of something bad happening with staying in a mixed dorm were slim, that does not mean that these things do not happen. I preferred to stay with females due to cleanliness and being able to sleep and change more comfortably. However some hostels do not have enough room to offer a male room, female room, and a mixed room. Sometime they can only offer a mixed room. But you can easily find another hostel that will provide for the accommodation that best meets your requirements. Hostels also have some rooms that can be just for you or with your significant other, allowing for more privacy at a cheaper rate.
4. Do people have sex in hostels?
Apparently, it’s not uncommon but I have never had that happen to me so I can’t speak from personal experience, but I have heard from other people who it has happened to them. Remember to have safe sex people and be mindful of your roommates!
Some hostels provide towels either for free or for a fee, but I strongly and highly recommend investing in a microfiber towel. Like the Sham-Wow type of towel. Why? Well you want something that will dry you off quickly so the next person can take a shower but you also want a towel that will air dry fast enough so you can pack it back into your bag so you can go off to your next destination. I recommend this brand from Amazon by Youphoria Outdoors.
So sleeping bags in hostels are a big no-no since they can easily transmit bed bugs into the hostels. However, if you are a germaphobe like me and can’t stand the thought of sleeping in a bed somebody else slept in, invest in a sleeping bag liner. This allows a barrier between you and the bed, thus letting you have a better night’s rest. This one I got on Amazon by The Friendly Swede is amazing, it allows me to slide my pillow underneath so it doesn’t move around and it is compact enough to throw it into your luggage or backpack.
7. Shower shoes
Shower shoes are a must in hostels. Would you go barefoot in bowling shoes? No, so it’s the same idea with using showers in hostels. So a pair of slip-on’s or flip-flops will do!
8. Bring your own shampoo and conditioner
So, this one I had no idea that you had to do until I realized a couple of days into my London trip that I was using my roommates. Bring your own or just buy some at the convenience store in the city you’re staying.
9. Can we do laundry?
Many hostels do offer self-service laundry, but some do not. So if they do not, Google Maps the closest laundromat and do your laundry. Most hostels will make you pay about 4-6 Euros or Pounds to do laundry, but it is definitely worth it compared to lugging around a huge luggage around Europe.
10. Bring a multi charging outlet
Before I got mine taken out of my backpack, I had this one from Amazon by Anker. For the few days that I did use it, it was extremely useful. It allowed me to charge my power bank, headphones, FitBit, phone, and iPad simultaneously with one outlet. Most hostels provide maybe one or two outlet per bed, I’ve heard some may only offer a couple for the whole room to share. Better safe, than sorry.
I bought a couple of cable locks that will easily fit into any locker. Some hostels do provide more advanced lockers that are programmed to your room key, but some still use the old fashion key and lock styled lockers. Many hostels will allow you to borrow their locks for a fee, so save the money and buy your own. The thick styled ones will work, but may not work with all. That’s why I recommend a small cable lock. This will make sure it fits through any locker and it will also fit and lock through your luggage. I recommend these by TravelMore which are TSA approved, meaning that they will not have to cut and break your lock/luggage to open it up and search.
These are some of the the things that I had questions about when researching about hostels, if you have anymore, comment down below! 🙂
Any photos used does not belong to me.