Long-term, budget travelers the world over have been happily using hostels for decades to save money on accommodation. But if you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, you might be confused about what to expect. Is everyone in a hostel under the age of 25? Does staying in a hostel mean you have to bring your own sleeping bag with you everywhere? Do hostel bathrooms all have communal gym-style showers?
If any of those questions has you freaking out about the idea of staying in a hostel, rest assured the answers to all of them is “no.” But the fact that those questions sometimes comes up just shows how many misconceptions there are about hosteling. What’s more, even people who are accustomed to staying in hostels sometimes forget basic rules of etiquette.
The good news is that there are a number of great articles out there that teach hostel newbies all about what to expect from hosteling, and several more that remind hostel veterans how people in a hostel should behave so that the experience is a pleasant one for everyone.
Hosteling articles from BootsnAll
Here are some of the most helpful hosteling articles we have here on BootsnAll.
- Accommodation Guide for Indie Travelers – This is a basic guide for people who haven’t traveled too much and probably don’t know much about hosteling and accommodation options for long-term travelers. Start here if this describes you.
- Hosteling FAQ – Another helpful article for newbies is this list of FAQs about hosteling and about booking hostels online.
- What makes a good hostel? – Obviously this is going to depend on your personality a bit, but these are some things that tend to make everyone happy upon checking in.
- 8 Things that Separate Great Hostels from Average Hostels – Along the same lines, many long-term travelers end up with a wish list of things that their favorite hostels tend to have. This is one traveler’s list of things he’d include in a hostel if he were to open one – and it might help you pick the better hostels for your trip.
- Why You Should Hostel with Your Family - Never thought of hosteling with kids? This traveling parent is here to tell you that it’s not only a money-saving option, it’s a great way to introduce kids to different cultures.
- This amusing list of the 10 Hostel Commandments is worth a look, too.
- How to Survive Hosteling - Even if you love staying in hostels, sharing a bedroom with 8 other people can be a drag after awhile. This article offers some tips on how to avoid the drag without avoiding hostels.
- Finding Jobs in Hostels – Oftentimes long-term travelers decide they want to stay put for a bit, whether it’s to deal with a bout of travel burnout, learn more about the place they’re visiting, or maybe make a few bucks. Working at a hostel is possible – learn the pros and cons of doing so and how to go about doing it.
- How to Wash Clothes in the Sink - Not that this is a task you’ll only ever need to do in hostels (especially when so many of them have laundry facilities nowadays), but just in case – it’s good to know how to get the job done.
- Gourmet Grub on the Road: Easy, Cheap, and Yummy - Take advantage of your hostel kitchen by learning what type of food is good to cook while traveling.
Resources from Friends of BootsnAll
BootsnAll has been helping indie travelers plan their long-term trips since 1998, and we have met lots of awesome folks along the way. Check out what some friends of BootsnAll have to say about hostels.
- Nomadic Matt has an article on how to pick a good hostel, with the things he looks for when he’s traveling (which is all the time).
- Hostel Safety Tips – Hosteling is, for the most part, really safe (otherwise people wouldn’t keep doing it year after year), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared to assure the safety of your self and your stuff. Justin (from Life of Justin) put together these tips, not meant to scare you, only to prepare you!
- Hostel Etiquette – Honestly, most of the things on articles about how to behave in hostels should be self-explanatory. They could probably be boiled down to, “Don’t be an ass.” But since many people obviously aren’t capable of not acting like an ass in hostels, maybe you should read this article from Nomadic Matt.
- How to Make Friends at a Hostel – BootsnAll contributor and head of Twenty-Something Travel Stephanie Yoder wrote this post about making friends at a hostel. Hostels are great for solo travelers because there’s usually a ready-made group of like-minded people around to hang out with. But what if you’re a little shy? These tips to making friends at hostels should help.
- Things I Learned While Working in a Hostel – You might not think of hostels as a place to work at first, but many long-term travelers end up working in them from time to time to help extend their travels. Pamela MacNaughtan of Savoir Faire abroad offers this is a humorous list of 12 things she learned at her job.
- Hosteling History – Learn about the history of hostels on the WeHostels blog, and download their app to book hostels from your phone.
- What to Pack for Hosteling – Most of what you’ll pack for a hosteling trip will be the same as for any other trip, but there are a few items you probably wouldn’t bring if you were staying in a hotel. This article lists 5 essential items for hosteling, and this one has 5 suggestions for “luxury” items for hosteling.
Do you have any tips or advice to add? Let us know in the comments below.