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Rakbo Explains: How To Survive Hostels

For first-time travellers, the thought of staying in a hostel tends to be super nerve-wracking. There’s something about all those people and bunkbeds and people that just gives us newbies the willies. But hostelling can be as simple as PB&J – so long as you know the ins and outs. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to survive hostels.


1. REMEMBER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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When you arrive at a hostel, you’ll be dumped with an overload of info. When the check-out times are. Where to find the communal kitchen. Which of the five keys you were given you shouldn’t lose… And half-asleep-cause-I’ve-been-travelling-ALL-morning you might not want to tune in, but you really have to guys. Failing to follow hostel rules can cost you time and – maybe even more importantly – money. So, if you’re unsure if you’ll remember everything, jot it all down somewhere or ask a staff member to do it for you.

2. INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR ROOMIES

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Oh, other people. You sure have a way of setting our hearts all aflutter. For those of you who feel the same way, here’s some good news: introducing yourself to your roommates is a great way to break the awks atmosphere and an even greater way of making friends. So, work up a smile and offer up your name. Works every time.

3. WEAR FLIP FLOPS AROUND THE HOSTEL

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Hostel floors are often cleaned on a regular basis, but the constant flow of people, combined with the occasional drop of alcohol, means the floors aren’t spick-and-span for long. To prevent yourself from stepping in something… unspeakable… don a pair of flip flops and wear them religiously around the hostel.

4. LOCK UP YOUR STUFF WHEN YOU LEAVE THE HOSTEL

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If common sense were a manual, this would be on page one. Most hostels provide lockers (and sometimes locks) in each individual room, at the rate of one per bed. Before you head out to explore the local sites, take everything important (passport, jewellery, your mothers scarf) out of your suitcase and put them in the locker. Then, secure it with a TSA approved lock. If you can, make sure you lock your suitcase too before you leave, and put it someplace out of sight.

5. BE CONSIDERATE OF YOUR ROOMIES

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Imagine having an ah-maze-ing dream about Ryan Gosling’s beautiful pecks that gets interrupted by a drunk and loud roommate who starts fiddling with the light switch – at four in the morning. It would probably cause you to burst a vein, right? Right. Make sure you’re not that person. Give your roomies the same courtesies you’d expect from them. Keep noise to a minimum after 11pm. Don’t lounge on another person’s bed. And, please, don’t use someone else’s toothpaste. (Just no).

6. WEAR LONG-SLEEVE PYJAMAS

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Enter the stuff of nightmares: bedbugs. These little bloodsucking critters are often common tenants in the beds or mattresses of hostels. While their bites won’t have you cowing at the full moon, they will leave you with a heap of itchy welts. Wearing long-sleeve pyjamas covers your skin and stops those nasty little critters from having a nibble on your kibbles.

7. WEAR EAR PLUGS AND AN EYE MASK TO BED

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This winning combination can do many valuable things, including prevent you from waking up when your roommate gets up during the night to go to the toilet; stop you from lying awake, debating murder, because your bunkmate is an avid snorer; or even alleviate the fear that you’ll wake up staring into the eyes of a stranger. Invest in a good pair. You’ll thank yourself later.

8. TAKE SOME PLASTIC BAGS TO THE SHOWER

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When it comes to hostel showers, plastic bags are the be all, end all. Instead of spending five minutes in the cubicle trying to arrange your clean and used clothes on the hooks so they don’t fall onto the floor mid-shower (um, gross), you can pop them in a plastic bag and hang the bag over the hooks. And instead of having to walk wet shampoo and conditioner bottles back to your room, you can wrap them up in plastic bags. Genius!

9. PACK YOUR SUITCASE THE NIGHT BEFORE

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Packing your suitcase the night before you’re due to checkout satisfies the key human desire to sleep in the following morning. Sure, it also keeps the amount of noise you’ll make in the morning to a bare minimum AND keeps you super organized, but we’ll be honest here. We’re tots thinking about the sleep in.

10. UPHOLD HOSTEL ETIQUETTE

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Have you ever wandered zombie-like into the hostel kitchen on the hunt for caffeine, only to find a there isn’t a single clean mug? Behold inappropriate hostel etiquette. Other no-noes include: eating other people’s food; leaving the bathroom a mess (scrub your skids, lads); and, disregarding the bathroom queue.

11. BRING YOUR OWN TOWEL

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Not all hostels offer towels so, one thing’s for sure: if you bring your own towel then there’s no reason to buy one. Simples!

Have you got any tips on how to survive hostels? Then share them below!

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Chloe Ranford

Chloe is an Australian journalism student who has just completed the last semester of her Bachelor of Journalism degree as an International Exchange Student at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), England. She currently writes articles on her experiences as an exchange student for Rakbo and QUT Gone Global.


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