When I tell people that I’ve stayed in hostels before, they first get very concerned, and then ask if I’ve ever seen the movie. Yes, I’ve seen the movie. No, it doesn’t scare me. And clearly, I’m fine.
Hostels are an incredible way to travel, particularly if you’re young. I stayed in a few hostels while traveling through Australia. In Cairns, I had a place right on the esplanade called Jimmy’s on the Esplanade, imagine that. At the time I was traveling for 3 weeks, and not backpacking, so I opted to get my own room just because my bag was the size of me and it never would have fit into a locker. That being said, I spent a lot of time in the communal area.
For those that don’t know, staying in a hostel is a bit like staying in a dorm. You have the option of getting a single, double, or dorm style room usually. Baths are typically shared spaces, as is a kitchen and living/relaxing area.
As I mentioned, I bunked alone. My room cost less then $50 AUD (Australian Dollar) per night. Wi-Fi was included, and there were no hidden fees included. Obviously a great deal! I spent my days wandering, evenings eating in the common areas where I would chit-chat with other hostel travelers, and nights planning my next day…alone (just how I like it).
Dorm stays can cost anywhere from $10-25 a night depending on the country and how many people will be bunking in the room. They normally come with a locker to keep your things in which is an incredible option for people traveling light (something I’ve never been great at mastering).
Now for the negatives. Remember, you get what you pay for. So spending less than $50 for a bed somewhere means that there is a high probability of insects. There’s less privacy, the bathroom/kitchens aren’t always the cleanest, but I’ve seen worse in a boys college apartment. My rooms always had bunk beds and a small desk. When I was alone, I would keep my bag on the bottom bunk and only had a few run ins with spiders. I mean it was Australia, so that’s to be expected.
Staying a hostel is a great experience, but keep in mind, this isn’t a 4 star hotel, so don’t expect one.
Here’s my must-pack list for hostel living:
- Flip flops-great for showers. You’ll need them.
- Beach Towels-not all hostels supply towels. I found that old beach towels were perfect. Note I said OLD. This are good from the shower to the beach, and you can leave them behind if you life.
- Sheets-Each hostel is different, check if there are sheets. If not, I liked to bring a fitted a sweatshirt, and a beach blanket, think multi-purpose.
- Travel sized products-Unless you’re going to a third world country, where you won’t have access to pick up the things you like, I fully believe in buying once you get there. However, the small travel sized means you can dump as you travel.
- Bathroom sheets-As an alternative, you can try shampoo/conditioner/soap sheets. travelonbags.com is my heaven for all things in this department (and then some, a post to come). They sell tiny little Listerine strip like sheets that are perfect for travel. You can also check out Lush.com or a local Lush beauty store, they sell a solid shampoo, and a jelly soap. All of these products are biodegradable and you won’t have liquid issues.
- Plastic Bags-you never know what you might need them for.
- Pad lock-especially if you’re staying in a dorm style.
- Water filter water bottle-I love my Bobble water bottle. The top has a little water filter built in so I can refill anywhere. waterbobble.com
- Eye mask-Even if sun doesn’t bother you, the person reading at 4am next to you might.
- Ear plugs or noise canceling headphones-just like most sound may not bother you, the late night hook up could.
- Lastly, a little clock-You never know if a battery can run out or you won’t have access to a clock. I have a little flip up one that I picked up at a drug store. Lights up and has an alarm, perfect.
Check back next week for my list of what makes the perfect hostel.
This short video was made in my room during my stay at Jimmy’s. Don’t mind the glasses or the mess, I really never thought it’d be seen again 🙂