Hostels are exhilarating. And I promise I’m not being dramatic. The minute you waltz into a new hostel you find yourself in the midst of a community of global wanderers all with their own unique story of how they landed at that location. It’s like a university dorm without the homework and with a larger demographic of people, all sharing one common interest: travel. Whether it’s your first time at a hostel or you’ve stayed at hundreds, this list will give you 6 tips for maximizing any hostel stay, anywhere in the world!
1. Stay in a dorm
Sure, a private room can be a nice way to relax for a day or two. But as a rule, book a dorm bed. Dorms provide the best opportunity to instantly meet new friends and get social with the people you’ll be living with while staying there. Friends who snore together, stay together.
2. Hang out in the common area and not only for the WIFI
The common area is the best spot to get to know other people staying at your hostel and good for so much more than the strongest WIFI signal. Head out of your room, grab a seat and a drink, and start chatting with some of the other hostellers you may see around. You’ll find yourself with new friends for life in no time. For this to work properly it’s highly recommended you glance up from your phone, at least occasionally!
3. Be friendly to the staff
The staff run the show and can easily make or break your trip. By being friendly to the staff you may find yourself on the receiving end of insider travel tips or invited to an awesome local event you never would have found otherwise. It’s amazing what simply being nice can do!
4. Keep your valuables safe
99% of travellers are good, honest people who would never think about scooping up the brand new iPad that you decided to leave sitting on top of your bunk when you left your room for the day. Unfortunately, 1% may not be so nice. So take the time to lock up your stuff (if lockers are provided), keep valuables on your person, or at a minimum, tuck them away in a lockable compartment in your backpack. It’s cliche, but better safe than sorry.
5. Remember you’re sharing a house with many others
You cooked up a delicious meal and left the a kitchen a disaster. You decided that 3:00 am was the perfect time to reorganize your backpack. You thought that the top bunk was the perfect place for you to get a little closer with your new travel squeeze. All of these behaviours are a great way to earn yourself a bad rep among staff and guests alike. Before you embark on any of these or other activities, take a moment to remember your hostel is a sanctuary for many people, including you. So try and adhere to dorm room etiquette!
6. Take advantage of free activities
Many hostels offer up free events to guests, including trivia nights, pub crawls or walking tours. These events are a fantastic way to integrate yourself into the hostel tribe, not to mention entertain yourself while on a budget! Put your name down on the clipboard at reception, you’ll thank yourself later.
So there you have it, 6 tips for making the most of any hostel stay. What tips do you follow that help you make the most of your time in hostels? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
Author: Michael Funk is the co-founder of Banana Backpacks, a travel community and travel gear company dedicated to creating meaningful change in the world. Michael’s love of travelling began as child in Bali, blossomed with a 5-month solo trip around Southeast Asia and has continued ever since with trips across Asia, the Americas and Europe. Aside from travelling, Michael loves writing about his adventures on the blog, Tales from the Banana Trail.