Hostels can be one of the most feared subject for new travelers. We are not all expert travelers. There will be some of us who are about to begin our journey, and we are full of doubts and fears. For this reason, we want to do our part and help by clarifying the doubts of those who start their globetrotting adventure.
We will also include some of the basic “etiquette” needed in one of this popular lodging facilities.
1. The Rooms.
When we think of hostels, the first thing that makes new travelers nervous (especially women) is the fact of shared dormitories. At first glance they may seem unsafe, but in reality the traveling community is generally looking for the same thing as you are; a place to rest, clean up and save money.
If this is a concern for you, you should know that a lot of hostels have private rooms, and some others have gender separated dorms.
Personally we think that the dormitories of the hostels are the best way to meet new people, who just like you, are enjoying traveling.
- Although increasingly rare, some hostels do not include bed sheets, and other aactualy rent them. So it never hurts to pack one set, just in case.
- If you are sleeping in shared dorm do not forget to put some of your things on the bed you have chosen. This way you let others know that it has already been taken.
2. WC and Bathroom.
Yes, what they have told you is true. As a rule the bathroom in the hostels is a shared installation. Although this does not mean that you are going to have to bathe and relieve yourself in front of everyone. But privacy as you know it until today, will have a new meaning.
A “private” room with two beds in a hostel does not necessarily saves you from bath sharing.
On rare occasions, even the bathroom can be inside the room or separated simply by a curtain. Many times, in the eagerness to obtain more space, improvised plaster walls in old buildings, can end up giving you a night full of “curious noises”.
- Always bring your own towel.
- Let the manager know when you have used the last bit of toilet paper, please do not to leave a surprise to the next user.
- After making use of shower facilities, try to leave it as you found it, it is one of the things that your roommates and hostel personnel will thank you the most.
3. The Service.
Hostels, like every other business, work in a highly competitive world. So they seek to attract customers by improving the quality and quantity of their services. This is especially noticeable in hostels that belong into a corporate chain. The model of these businesses requires reducing operating costs, and one of the most obvious ways, is limiting the number of staff workers.
Many hostels have a receptionist who is sometimes doing other activities. So it is likely that you will have to be a little patient to be attended. (especially in small hostels).
On the other hand, some hostels even offer tourist services such as city tours for guests and some activities inside the hostel.
- Be nice with the staff. Do not bother if your bed is not made when you arrive, we know that you are tired but you have to remember that the low cost comes with its “discomforts”.
- Help in what you can. If you take things from the recreation room (for example, board games or books), return them to their place.
Again, every day the hostels add services to be more attractive for travelers. Many hostels sell the Internet signal for hours at a small price, others have one or two computers available with free access.
There are some with their own bar and some even serve breakfast (do not expect much out of it). It is very common that there is even a place to cook and a common refrigerator to store your food. Some others even have a common room so you can watch some television play, read and even take a nap if you wish.
In many cases it is also possible to find a laundry service (do it yourself of course).
- Almost all hostels provide a locker to store your things but it is advisable to always carry your own padlock.
- If the place has internet limited to computers in the entertainment room do not monopolize them by downloading all your photos of the day to Instagram.
- If you use the refrigerator make sure to mark your food with your name and room / bedroom number. And to consume it before the day of cleaning. There is usually a part dedicated to sharing with the community. Even if you die of hunger, take just a little and share yours the next day.
- If you use the washing machines and there are no dryers or laying area, try not to dry all your clothes in the bedroom, this is one of the big “no no” on the hostel world.
5. The experience in the hostel.
The hostels provide a unique experience in the traveler’s life. It is true that its creation is based on providing an economic lodging service, but the stay in a hostel agglomerates much more.
The opportunity to meet other travelers from all over the world, and create lasting friendships, and future travel companions. The atmosphere is mostly relaxed, and with a great sense of community. It is true that its guests are mostly young, but do not be surprised to find today seniors, who just like you, are fulfilling their dreams of knowing new places.
Getting used to the movement of the hostel is almost immediate. Because the very fact of being a place where everyone exists for the same purpose.
Of course there are disadvantages, sometimes they are noisy sometimes they are not so well located, you sacrifice comfort and privacy, and so on. Maybe it’s true, hostel life is not for everyone. But if you do your homework well, research in advance and select your hostels well. We assure you that they will make your travel experience a lot richer.
- Preferably try to book in advance, use a service like Booking.com.
- Make sure the location is more or less consistent in access and distance with the things you want to know.
- Check if the hostel you are visiting has check-in and check-out times. Some are a little strict with this while others can receive you at any time.
- Best Hostels in Paris.