Weather you’re a Hostel virgin or a vastly experienced at the art of sharing a dormroom, the following items will make your cheap stay as cheerful as it can be (or at least suck a little bit less, depending on the hostel and people of course).
1. Sleep Mask
The early rising sun, travellers arriving late at night & can’t find their assignet bed, drunken dorm mates stumbeling back after a night-out turning on the light on accendent (or not), a nap during the afternoon – in all of the described situations a sleep mask will help you to make your dorm stay as comfortable as it can be.
It surprises me that people that literally have travelled the world still don’t carry a sleep mask as backpack staple on their trips. Don’t make the same mistake…
2. Ear Plugs
It has happened to every single low-budget traveller staying in a dorm – you’ve decided to go to bed early to be fit for exploring or you onward journey while your dorm mates opted for partying. 99% of the time, they won’t be able to be quiet when entering the room and end up waking people up. The solution to this is so easy and cheap but even experienced travellers don’t think of this and end up being annoyed and tired instead.
Earplugs – cheap, cheerful and the magic ingredient to a sound sleep in a dorm room. Don’t hesitate investing the 2 Euros before your trip, to save your trip to the land of dreams.
Usually backpackers start carrying a lock of their own after they’ve stayed at their first hostel where they had to rent it or saw others using one. The super-prepared ones would have read enough packing lists and backpacking tips to take one with them in the first place, but let’s face it, not everyone is planning that much. I’ve never been a big planner and only started bringing my own lock after my 4th hostel stay.
Now, why should you bring a lock with you? For obvious reasons – to lock away your valuables in the locker provided by the hostel. If there are no lockers you can use it to connect the zippers on your bag in order to make it more difficult for others to open it/steal your stuff.
That being said, I forgot my lock on when I went on my South East Asia Trip in November 2017. I was travelling (and mostly staying in hostel dorm rooms) for almost 2 months, never locked anything – nothing got stolen. Whilest I totally understand that no matter where you are, you’ll possibly encounter sketchy people out to steal your shit, I personally never had any problems in that regard.
However, at the end of the day, I would recommend making sure you have a lock with you and trust your gut instinct regarding people you’re staying in a dorm with and if you feel uncomfortable even consider changing rooms.
4. Toiletry Bag
Of course most people do not forget their toiletry bag when travelling. The reason why I’ve included this item in the list is because most people I see in hostels (myself included for way too long) have a relatively large toiletry bag without compartments and end up spending a lot of time rummaging through it because they can’t find what they need. This also creates an issue, when you’re up super early or come back super late, but obviously still want to keep up with your hygiene routine.
The best option to avoid that, is to get one of those toiletry bags with a hook to hang them wherever it’s convenient in your bunk or dorm. Besides that, the main advantage is, that they usually have a lot of small compartments that make it super easy for you to organise your toiletries (and find what you need).
Towels tend to take up a lot of space in your backpack or bag and a lot of hostels now provide you with a towel or at least offer towel rental. However I would recommend to still bring your own, simply because you never know what you’ll get. I have seen some grimm looking towels provided by hostels that I wouldn’t want to dry my naked body with.
The best option is to bring a fairly thin sports towel with you. They don’t take up too much space, do what they need to and give you the peace of mind that no one else has used them and that they were washed properly.
6. Shower FlipFlops
Even though most hostel showers are cleaned daily, they still tend to be on the gross side as quite a lot of people are using them. To avoid stepping into someone elses mess and have their hair stuck in between your toes, I would recommend wearing sliders or flip flops.
Obviously, you don’t want to use the pair you use for sightseeing or hanging out on the beach (besides bringing even more dirt and bacteria into the shower, they might get ruined). For my trips I make sure to pack an older pair, made of rubber-y material that can withstand showering in them but at the same time I have no problem throwing away if the get ruined or gross.
That’s it. Let me know what you think down below in the comments!