5 Tips to Avoid Death in a Hostel

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.

Be Nosey

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. 

Average, no- frills hostel room

Average, no frills hostel room

Any other tips for hostel stays?

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8 thoughts on “5 Tips to Avoid Death in a Hostel

  1. Great information, my mum is like your gran and seems to think I may as well sign my death certificate if I spend the night in a hostel! Smart tips, thanks for sharing 🙂 x

  2. I stayed in a Hostel in Washington DC a couple of months ago. It was my first time and it was a great experience. I was able to lock up my items. My tips would be to travel as light as possible, check out reviews on the place before you go if you can, sleep with your stuff close ( as you said). I would even carry my computer with me everywhere if you can. Shower shoes are a must. Great tips.

  3. I have never really had trouble in hostels. There was a creepy guy once in Santiago de Compostela, but it didn’t come to anything. And once I was in this really cheap hostel in Prague with 100 beds/room, but even though I woke up one morning to see a very drunk guy peeing all over the stairs, nothing bad happened there either. But, I always use lockers if they’re available – and if they’re not, I put anything valuable (camera, netbook, etc) in my sleepsack with me.

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