Hostels have gotten a bad rap. For some reason , many still think of them as brothels or sickly places reserved for the most desperate. But they’re not- they can actually be quite lovely and , yes, easy on the pocket. I’ve always stayed in hostels during my travels even though my grandmother always tries to convince me that THIS TIME will be the time I die. I’ve gathered a few tricks and habits to make sure that never happens.
Pick a Central Hostel
It’s always tempting to pick the cheaper price tag but you get a lot more for a few extra bucks a night. Think easy access to transportation, proximity to attractions, and more crowds and foreigners( which makes it that much more safer).
Don’t Be Too Friendly
One of the great things about traveling is getting to meet new people. Some would consider it essential. Still, be weary about giving too much information to your new friends-especially if you’re traveling solo. Avoid telling strangers where you’re staying or plan on staying next. Always arrange first time meetings at central attractions.
Westerners are taught to keep a safe distance from strangers but when those strangers are sleeping feet away from you, you have the right to be observant. Don’t ransack their bags or ask for a photo ID. Just notice them – also notice when they come and go and what comes and goes with them. The info can can help you later on.
For example, one time a friend and I were staying at a hostel in London. We arrived in the middle of an awkward scene ;an animated brunette desperately trying to explain that a guy just sprinted past and snatched her phone right out of her hand. The guard repeated over and over that there was nothing he could do even though it had happened on the hostel steps.
Minutes later, we were checking in when a guy came to the front desk asking if anyone had turned in a laptop. He left it on his bed while he went to the bathroom and it was gone by the time he returned. Of course no one had.
Everyone seemed friendly enough but I knew from overhearing these experiences that I would have to be attentive here. That brings me to my next point…
Keep Your Things Close
Don’t leave electronics out in the open and don’t use them in sketchy situations. ( Like at night or in crowded places.) When you’re out exploring , spend the extra few dollars to rent a locker. If there are none, consider locking your stuff to your bed or hiding it inside your bed.
While at that hostel in London, I slept with my backpack at the foot on my bed, just to be on the safe side.
Always Bring Shower Shoes
Just do. You’ll understand when you get there.
Any other tips for hostel stays?