5 Essential tips for surviving and thriving in a hostel

Tips for surviving and thriving in a hostel

There is definitely an etiquette and a need for tips for surviving and thriving in a hostel but Hostel stays always make great stories.

From Albino Alan – the 60 year old walker in Port Macquarie, to crazy kyle – with his special deliveries of white powder in Melbourne. French techo music till 4am in Bali, and the crazy frog ringtone in Gilli T. Mice eating the soap and CCTV monitoring slices of toast. Hostels are crazy places. They are filled with so many stories, a backpacking trip is not complete without numerous hostel stays!

Kyle. He was the ‘professional poker player’ we shared a room with in a Melbourne hostel. He kept getting these strange packages delivered. We found lots of these empty special delivery bags under his bed. There was always a weird smell In the room too. We found bottles and jars filled with white powder in his cupboard! He mentioned something about protein shakes being illegal to go through customs so he got them sent to the hostel… He didn’t eat. Slept until 6pm, hit the gym, then played poker till noon. Kyle, I think that was his name. Creepy Kyle. He liked to talk about his muscles and asks us about our day. But he made that hostel stay interesting…

Hostels can be daunting. It is important to remember that most travellers will feel the same as you! A little nervous and probably exhausted! A few simple tips will help you get the most out of your stay and hopefully make a lot of great friends along the way…

Tips for surviving and thriving in a hostel

1. Be Friendly

When going into a new room always say hello – even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you are jet-lagged, even when you are sweaty and exhausted. Have a brief conversation, even if it just the usual, where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going? It just the travellers way. It is okay if you don’t want to go out for drink with them, it’s fine if you don’t want to travel the east cost together. Just be friendly. It could mean a lot to someone.

2. Be Considerate

Hostels are not like hotels. Its normal for a room-mate to check in at 12am and be gone before you get up. Sleepless nights are common. Just being considerate towards other travellers could make a huge difference to your hostel stay. Don’t turn the light on between the hours of 12-6. If you have an early start, pack your bag the night before. Don’t press snooze more than once. Don’t slam the door. Don’t hog the plug sockets. Think before taking all the bottom bunks. Just be considerate.

3. Be Aware

Its great when you walk into a new dorm and you see a couple of apple mac’s lying around, 3 Iphones charging and a passport poking out of a bag – you know these people are trustworthy. Most backpacker’s and travellers will be in the same position as you, and wouldn’t dream of steeling anything. But you need to be aware. You don’t know who could walk into the room, is it locked all the time? Keep your valuables safe, always padlock them in a locker if possible. Always know where your passport is. Use the safe at reception and padlock a bags as a deterrent. Try not to wave money around. Just be aware. It can feel awkward at first when you padlock all your valuables away into front of your room-mates, but really its not big deal.

4.  Be Tidy

Keep all your belongings in one place! It makes it easier for others and you don’t loose half as much! There is nothing worse than walking into a new dorm and someone’s clothes are scattered all over the floor, towels hanging from any available surface. Be tidying makes it a lot easier when you have an early morning departure! Labelling your food and keeping it in one place in the fridge saves a lot of time helps with food being lost or ‘borrowed’!

5. Have Fun!

Hostels are crazy, great, annoying and wonderful places. Have fun!You will meet life long friends. You will have some sleepless nights. People will steal your food, and people will give you more than you could have ever imagined.  Follow these tips and you will be surviving and thriving in a hostel. 

Staying in a hostel can be a rite of passage when travelling. Don’t miss out and don’t let it become a travel regret.



  1. August 26, 2014 / 6:28 pm

    Hi Shaun,

    Thanks for reading the post, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment!


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