Hostel traveling is one of the best ways to explore the world as a young person. If you’re trying to experiences far-off cultures and meet diverse groups of people, hostels are an excellent option! Hostels house communities of travelers in major cities all over the world, are great places to meet like-minded voyagers. And hostels aren’t just great for meeting people, they’re excellent for budget accommodation. You can stay at a cheap hostel for one night or months at a time depending on your travel plans!
However, life on the road doesn’t come without risk. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a foreign city surrounded by suspicious characters or without your essential belongings. So, here are seven simple steps to ensure your hostel experience is fun, memorable, and most of all, safe!
Finding the Right Hostel
Do the Research.
There are many, many hostels to choose from in most major cities, but doing research on websites like Hostel World will help you form the groundwork for safe, clean hostels filled with happy travelers. Don’t shirk the customer reviews! Fellow travelers often have the best insights, and can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Reviews can tell you everything from the size of the room to the type of crowd at breakfast. And if you plan to drink, it’s a good idea to look for hostels that host pub crawls or in-house drinking activities to ensure safe supervision and accountability. Often times, these locations are close to the nightlife in your city, too!
Location, Location, Location!
Almost every city, regardless of the country, has a plethora of hostels to choose from. It’s extremely important to find one in a safe, easy-to-access part of town, preferably close to points of interest and nightlife. Staying in a slum or far away from the city center can end with teens in unfamiliar places, exposing them to dangerous situations in foreign cities. This can be especially dangerous when drinking is involved, as alcohol will impair their judgment and decision-making abilities. With this in mind, an accessible hostel is incredibly important!
Different neighborhoods also offer different kinds of entertainment for you to enjoy. You might be unfamiliar with the concept of city districts, but it’s important to know whether it’s better to stay in the entertainment district, the arts sector, or downtown. Researching the city will show how certain areas cater to the partying travelers while others will have a more relaxing and low-key ambiance. Knowing what you want out of your experience will help you find a comfortable place to stay.
It’s not the Place. It’s the People!
Hostel traveling is all about connecting with different people, and staying with like-minded folks will enhance your travel experience dramatically. If you’re more interested in low-key events like trivia nights and cooking classes, you shouldn’t book a stay at a hostel known for parties! Instead, you should look for a hostel that helps you connect with like-minded people. Feeling alienated in the hostel might spur homesickness depression and decrease your overall travel experience. Customer reviews will often inform you of the kind of vibe a hostel is known for having.
Take care when packing for your trip. Remember, most hostels sleep six to ten people in a single room, so the space you live in will be packed tight with strangers! Therefore, all your personal items will be in a common space, and although many travelers wouldn’t dare, others might take the opportunity to steal from you. Losing something important is the quickest way to ruin an otherwise great trip.
One great strategy to minimize being robbed is to be a packing minimalist. Create a list of essentials and stick to it. Don’t bring expensive clothing or high-priced electronics that won’t be of use on the trip. A Nintendo Switch should stay at home, and you can bring books and journals for entertainment. Bringing fewer items will decrease your chances of getting something stolen abroad.
Bring a lock!
Inevitably, some valuable items will accompany you on your trip. Passports, money, and cell phones are part of every traveler’s arsenal. In order to keep these items protected, it’s imperative to bring a lock with you. Almost every hostel offers lockers to store your gear, whether it be for free or for a small fee. Using a locker will allow for important documents and information to be kept in a safe place while exploring the city’s sights or bars. Don’t hesitate to bring one!
Private rooms and specialty hostels
In addition to standard mixed-gender dorms, some locations will offer private rooms for booking. Private rooms are great options for additional privacy if you don’t want to share a living space with strangers. Additionally, living alone adds another level of protection to your personal items while visiting cities across the globe.
There are also plenty of single-sex dorms and hostels for people who aren’t comfortable sharing a living space with the opposite gender. While these hostels and rooms come fewer and further between, they can provide additional safety and security for nervous travelers. These hostels might be especially relevant to young women traveling abroad for the first time. Finding a community of women travelers is a great benefit and a wonderful way to stay safe on nights out.
Find a Travel Buddy
It’s always safer to travel with somebody else. While solo travel offers many great benefits, sharing your experiences can be just as valuable, and it’s great to know you’re with somebody who has your back in case something goes wrong. If you’re traveling alone, many hostels offer group excursions that will help you build relationships with fellow travelers. Even if you don’t become backpacking besties, these are great friends to go on day trips and short excursions with! Traveling is a great way to form strong bonds and learn new perspectives, and doing so with a friend has the added benefit of security.
Always be sure to travel smart! Travel is meant to be a positive experience, and by using these steps, you can ensure that the next trip you take will be fun, insightful, and will broaden your perspective on the world around you.
I hope these easy-to-follow steps help when planning your next trip. The world is a gift, and everyone should have the opportunity to see every part fearlessly. Go forth, experience something new, and safe travels.