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How to survive hostels

Top tips for travelling á la hostel accommodation

Written by Tricia Purcell | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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Off inter-railing for the summer or planning to take a trip on that Bank Holiday weekend on a budget? Well hostels can be a great way to save a few quid but if you haven’t stayed in one before, here are a few things to keep in mind!

What to look for?

  • Mixed-sex rooms: If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with strangers of the opposite sex then you might need to specify when making reservations.
  • Reservations: During peak season hostels might fill up pretty quick so ring ahead or get there early in the day.
  • Room sizes: These can vary drastically, from private, four beds to rooms with 20-something beds so depending on your preferences, you should probably check what the hostel provides ahead of time.
  • Kitchen: Lots of hostels will have cooking facilities and/or a common area but not all so if you are planning on keeping to a budget and cooking for yourself, check it out!
  • Clean sheets: There may be sheets; they may not be so clean. Some places will look for a deposit and provide clean sheets at check-in while other places are less caring about the hygiene side of things.
  • Lockers: Most places will provide some sort of locker/safety box for you to leave your belongings in while you go gallivanting but again, no harm in confirming this first!

Upsides to hostels:

  • Cheap and cheerful
  • Can be great to meet new people and fellow travellers
  • Handy for getting good tips about the area from said travellers


  • Sharing a room with strangers – the snoring, arriving in on top of you at all hours
  • Bathrooms – these are generally shared as well so might not be the cleanest
  • Cleanliness - generally the sharing aspect means that things might get messy

Top Tips

  • Flip flops – for the shared-bathrooms/showering facilities
  • Ear plugs – avoid the snoring stranger danger/dorm party next door
  • Bottom bunk – if you get there first and get to chose, claim the bottom; it’s just so much easier
  • Bring towels – it’s a hostel, not hotel so don’t forget!

Have you ever stayed in a hostel before? Feel free to share your travel experience with!

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Published July 10th2013
Last updated March 15th2018
Tags hostels travel accommodation
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