You’ve started planning out a trip to an exciting new adventure. Flights are booked. Must-see destinations have been Googled. Now the question is: where are you going to stay?
Hostels offer unique, community-driven lodging without a fancy price tag. You can spark up conversations with other travelers and save money that can be used to actually see the place you’re visiting.
We’ve compiled our best tips to go from an average traveler to a hosteling pro!
1. Scope out amenities and facilities
Hostels come in all shapes and sizes. One may have a kitchen that guests have full access to while another may offer free nightly drinks at their bar. It’s important to ask yourself what is important for you and your experience.
Another take on this is location. Would you rather be closer to downtown or a bus-ride away from town at a secluded hostel? It’s all about what you like, what you want to try and how out of your comfort zone you want to be. We are strong supporters of location research prior to your stay!
2. Get recommendations
Chances are you know someone who has visited the spot you’re traveling to. Ask around about any hostels they’ve stayed in there or if they know of a friend who has. Another way to hear about suggestions is from locals themselves. If you have a question on an attraction you plan on visiting, ask them about any hostels they know of in town when giving them a call.
There’s also no shame in calling the hostel and asking pointed questions. The hostelers are the experts, so ask staff about the best restaurants, comfort of beds, overall vibe and location of the hostel.
3. Try something new
Hostels are designed to encourage shared experiences. One of the biggest reasons people stay in hostels is to meet other travelers, so conversation among strangers is highly encouraged! Tag along on the hostel’s bar crawl or day hike, or get to know your bunk mates. If you are traveling for a while without clear plans, a new friend you meet at a hostel could even amount to your new travel buddy for the next leg of your trip.
4. Travel light
While this is a common tip for most travelers, taking a small amount of luggage to a hostel is especially advantageous. Since you’ll be sharing space, it’ll be easiest to keep track of your belongings with the less you have. You also probably won’t have access to a lot of space since you’re in a shared environment. Make room for gifts you buy or new memorabilia.
5. Ask questions
Hostel staff are going to be your best friend regarding all hostel and city-related questions. If you’re arriving late at night, you may want to ask about the set-up of your dorm room since it’ll be dark inside. Since they also live in the city you’re visiting, they should know it like the back of their hand. Staff are happy and want to be asked about where to go and what to see.
Other guests are also a great resource. Someone may have scoped out exactly what you were looking for during their travels or heard about a neat spot. It never hurts to ask!