The Ultimate Guide to Staying at a Hostel

Yesterday considered one of my good mates requested me a few questions on hostels in prep for a journey to New England and immediately, she got here again with a few extra… and it dawned on me- even home (learn: within the US) staying at a hostel remains to be fairly overseas to most individuals.

Well, I’m right here to assist!

I’ve stayed in hostels since I used to be 16 and travelled all around the globe so I’ve a actually good understanding on what makes hostels tick, what to do, what NOT to do and the place to go.

But first I need to clarify how freakin’ superior and wonderful hostels are so that you perceive why you need to contemplate staying in a single.

Staying at a Hostel in Los Angeles

Freeland Los Angeles – a prime hostel within the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

Top causes to keep at a hostel

Price. Hostels are low cost (clearly).

Some even grime low cost (and a few not so low cost however we will get into that later.) Traveling solo and even with a buddy, you’ll be laborious pressed to discover any lodging as low in price with as many facilities as your typical hostel. Which brings us to…

Fun! Hostels are enjoyable, severely severely enjoyable.

Those ‘amenities’ talked about in 1. will be something from a rocking bar contained in the hostel to pool tables, grills, a full kitchen, swimming swimming pools, neighborhood guitars- you title it, I’ve most likely discovered it at no cost (or low cost) to use in a hostel.


Hostels cram a bunch of individuals single room with bunk beds (you may pay extra for a personal room however why would you?) which implies they carry in some money throughout busy seasons which actually means they’ll afford the excessive rents in busy, “travel destination” places.

  • This a. ROCKS since you are in the course of some superior metropolis
  • and b. means the hostel is normally someway or one other accessible by public transit which is all the time nice too.

The Staff and different Backpackers.

80% of touring is the folks you meet and identical goes for staying in hostels. From the younger, vagabond employees to different vacationers staying within the hostel, everyone seems to be there to have a good time. Most hostels have actions arrange from metropolis excursions, pub crawls, themed dinner nights and even open mic nights to convey everybody collectively however even with out all of that enjoyable exercise stuff, staying in a hostel is a tremendous social expertise that you simply simply don’t get at your native Motel.

There are hostels everywhere in the US so even when you simply need to plan a rowdy weekend getaway by your self or with a few mates, there’s most likely a rockin-good-time (and generally totally-chilled-out) hostel a lot nearer to you than you suppose.

If you wanna try hostels in your space, I like to recommend due to their score system (you will get a higher thought of what to count on earlier than you go.) I can mess around on that web site for hours, wanting at costs and score of the place I need to go and what actions the hostels have deliberate. It’s rad. Go forward and test it out. Really. I’ll wait…

Welcome again! I’m assuming now you might be tremendous stoked to lastly plan that loopy weekend journey together with your finest girlfriend so I’ll offer you a few recommendations on what to do if you get there.

HI San Francisco - City Centre

HI San Francisco – City Centre – a prime hostel within the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

Tips for staying in hostels

Get a journey backpack

Backpackers normally keep in hostels and backpackers are referred to as ‘backpackers’ as a result of they (normally) carry a backpack… not a suitcase. Hostels are notoriously NOT curler suitcase pleasant. There are usually stairs (if you’re bodily disabled there are actually choices right here although) and tight quarters.

If all you might have as a huge ass curler suitcase than by all means, take that however when you’ve got carry choices of a duffle bag and a backpack as a substitute, I’d advocate that merely for simpler mobility.

We extremely advocate any of the Osprey Farpoint backpacks. They provide numerous sizes for each women and men.

You want to lock your shit up.

No, hostels are usually not the hangout locations for shady characters and thieves like some folks have made them out to be however right here’s the deal- similar to you’ll lock your automobile even when you dwell in a protected neighborhood, you need to lock up your stuff, even when you’re in a protected hostel.

There are a few methods to do that. Most hostels will assign you a locker together with your bunk mattress that you would be able to put your stuff into and more often than not it’s in the identical room because the beds. It’s tremendous handy however you NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN LOCK. Let me repeat that, for 98% of any hostels that you simply keep in you’ll NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN LOCK. A bit mixture lock from Amazon is admittedly all you want. I personally use a little Burton snowboard lock that stretches so I can lock it round my pack on trains or buses however completely something will do.

Hostel Kitchen Etiquette.

An awesomely wonderful factor about most hostels is entry to a full kitchen. Not solely is it a actually enjoyable means to meet folks (within the AM cooking breakfast, at night time making beer munchies) however additionally it is tremendous tremendous tremendous handy (are you able to say, beer fridge?!)

Check out what’s stocked within the kitchen earlier than you buy groceries so you already know higher what to purchase. Loads of time, folks will keep at the hostel and go away no matter additional meals they purchased behind which normally turns into a communal meals provide. Anything from bread to condiments to boxed meals- you may completely rating huge within the hostel kitchen. Most stuff will probably be labeled or marked and clearly, don’t take something that’s not yours but it surely’s protected to say the large ass container of generic model peanut butter that’s not particularly labeled “STAFF” is truthful recreation.

Always clear up after your self (cleansing provides offered) and label your stuff with a Sharpee or Post It… and I all the time write “COMMUNAL” or “Up for grabs” on the stuff that I go away behind.

Kitchen at the Firehouse Hostel, Austin

Kitchen at the Firehouse Hostel, Austin – a prime hostel within the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

Lock Outs and “Work to Stay”.

Some hostels have one thing referred to as a LOCK OUT which is anytime in the course of the day that the employees principally kicks out everybody within the hostel for a few hours to clear and prep or no matter. Lock Outs are normally boldly acknowledged on no matter you signal to verify in and I’ve to say, they don’t seem to be widespread in US hostels and appear to be fading in Europe as properly. Some folks get all bent out of form about Lock Outs however I determine so long as it’s not earlier than 10am, who cares? A bit pressured sightseeing by no means damage anybody (and that’s form of why you’re touring, proper?)

“Work to Stay” is a actually cool factor about hostels too. Work to Stay means simply that if you’re planning on staying in a place for a week or extra, generally you may discuss to the employees there and set it up that you simply work a few shifts in return at no cost room and board. Super tremendous cash saver and it provides you a entire new perspective on the place ever you’re touring via as properly. Admittedly, that’s extra of an “experienced” hostellers’ factor however nonetheless rad.

The Layout and What to Bring when staying at a hostel (that’s completely different from a resort)

Hostels are available all completely different sizes and styles (isn’t that cute?) and I really like all of them.

Your common hostel is fairly predicable although so let me stroll you thru one…

Most hostels have a courtyard or outside area arrange with some type of chairs and tables and a grill. The courtyard is the place everybody meets up and chills at night time both earlier than they hit the bars or if cash is tight, they only grasp on the market all night time. If you need a quieter hostel expertise, request a dorm room away from the outside space.

Lobby/ Front Desk.

Hostel lobbies and entrance desks are tremendous laid again so don’t count on a door man and even any assist together with your baggage. The employees is normally some 20-something who got here to go to from some overseas place and by no means went again and virtually all the time they’re tremendous good and useful.

Dorm Rooms.

Down the corridor from the ‘lobby‘ (if you can call it that) will most likely be the dorm rooms. The rooms vary as much as the hostels themselves with 2 to 12 bunk beds, single sex, shared (which means both guys and girls) and even private if you want to pay more (again, why?) You walk into your little assigned room and throw some clothes on a open, clean bed, sometimes tape the little paper they gave you on the bedpost and BAM- you’ve claimed your mattress (if the mattress quantity wasn’t already assigned, these are the actually organized hostels although.)


Think faculty dormitory bogs. Shower stalls that you simply stroll your little bathe bag or caddy to, stalled bogs and normally shops by the sinks to shave and blow dry your hair. I’ve been pleasantly stunned at the cleanliness of most hostel bogs. Some folks put on flip flops within the bathe, some don’t. Some folks stroll from their dorm room to the lavatory in simply their towel, some change within the precise lavatory. Whatevs.

Community Rooms and Kitchen.

Aside from the outside space, entrance desk, dorms and bogs, the communal rooms are a toss up. A hostel in Hollywood has an upstairs bar with lounge couches, a huge display screen TV and fooseball desk. A hostel in Amsterdam has a pool desk, bar and “smoking room” full with a communal bong and beanbag chairs. Some hostels have night time golf equipment, some have pc rooms, normally you will get an thought of what the hostel has from their web site but when not, it’s simply going to have to be a enjoyable shock!

Staying at a hostel in New York

The Local NYC- a prime hostel within the USA. Image courtesy of HostelWorld.

What to Bring.

When you pack, pack form of like you might be crashing at a buddy’s home. Bring your individual toiletries and towel however virtually all the time the hostel gives bedding (it is going to be boldly acknowledged if not the case.) Bring a lock and your glowing perspective and also you’re set!

I’m certain you’ve got had comparable experiences I had while touring. You’re in a sure place and a fellow traveler, or a native, tip you off on a little-known seashore, bar or lodging. Great journey ideas from different vacationers or locals all the time add one thing particular to our travels.

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