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Travelling and Hostels

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Im going to do a lot of travelling this year and normally i've stayed in hotels or gone with friends.

But this time im going to be going by myself and staying in hostels.

Never done this before so its a tad scary and i have a tonne of questions so was hoping people could answer them and share their own experiences.

So my questions:
I keep reading that you should wear flip flops in the shower, is that really necessary?
How do you keep a bed yours? So if you go out for the day how does someone new know what beds are taken and what are not?
Any other tips or advice?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I travelled in America and stayed in lots of hostels. I would advise wearing flip flops in the shower - they're generally clean as long as its a nice hostel but think about how many people have stood in there with verrucas/various fungal infections :yuck:

    We kept our beds our own by just leaving something visible on it that isn't valuable - for example we all had our own teddy we bought for a dollar! or leave on an old tshirt or something. you can look up reviews of hostels online because some are definitely a bit dodgier than the rest. I don't know exactly where you're going but some hostel chains have loyalty schemes - for example I stayed in Hostel International hostels and something like when we stayed 7 nights in different ones we got one night free.

    Take lots of those cheapish travel padlocks and buy the same brand so if you lose the key to one you have the same key to unlock it! you need the padlocks for the lockers in the room to keep your more important stuff in :)

    can't think of anything else at the moment.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yes I agree with the flip flops for showering.

    For claiming beds, some hostels number their beds and then tell you you are in "bed 1" or whatever. That keeps it sorted.
    Some hostels expect you to make your own bed, so when you arrive you just have to find an unmade bed.
    Other times when it is less obvious, I have left my pyjamas, and maybe a book on the bed so people know it isn't free. Never had a problem with people sleeping where they shouldn't.

    And yes, a padlock is a must!

    Oh and just be considerate. I.e. if you have spray deodrant, use it in the bathrooms. I had someone use it by my bed.... because apparently I wanted a face full of deodorant... not.

    And take ear plugs. There is always someone who snores stupidly loudly or bangs the bedroom door or gets up early and shouts at their friend.

    Despite this, hostels can be so much fun! So many amazing people. I much prefer hostels over hotels.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There's some really great advice here! I dont know if there's much I can add, all the best things have already been written.

    Bring a torch if you dont have a great one on your phone, so you don't have to turn the light on and wake eveyone up when going in to and out of your room! You can get great cheap windup ones, so you dont have to keep on buying batteries.

    On top of padlocks, I would also recommend buying a bike-lock! One with a combination lock, so it doesnt have a key to lose. This you can use to secure your suitcase to your bed (or a radiator, or pipe) via the suitcase handle (and then obviously padlock up your suitcase), so your suitcase doesnt walk away!Often there'll be lockers in your room, but sometimes there will not be ones big enough for your suitcase, in which case hostels will have separate large lockers or storage rooms to keep your suitcase in, but these are often a bit costly. You'll see other people just leaving their suitcases unlocked in their room, but I wouldnt personally! Bikelocks dont cost much, and take up very little room in your suitcase; and I think that for the peace of mind they give me I am really glad I bring them.

    A bum-bag/ money /note bag like this is http://www.chelstondirect.com/images/P/travel-waist-bag-pouch_processed.jpg also very useful! You can put your passport, money etc in and sleep with it on (or put your stuff in a locker, and just put your key in the bag), so you can be fully confident that they wont go missing!

    Also, looking into alternatives is also a very good idea. Hosteling is great, but maybe sometimes in some cities you'd like to sleep in your own room - in some cities cheap hotel rooms or single b and b rooms are not all that much more expensive than hostels. Also, look into university accommodation, I am going to Glasgow this weekend and rather than going in a hostel I am spending just a couple of pounds extra to stay in accommodation that used by students during term-time; these are not always listed on hostel sites and have their own website.

    Bring your own toiletries and towels! Some hostels do provide cheap shower-gel, but not all do. Also, many charge for use of towels, unlike in hotels.

    Sandwich bags are so useful! You can use them to keep documents dry and in one place. And for their intended purpose of making your own sandwiches for lunch - it's a great way to save money.

    Also, hostel kitchens often have an area where guests can leave partly-used food, do keep an eye out for this and take full advantage of this! Not just a great way to cut down on cost, but also to try out new products and brands.

    Transport is often a different experience when travelling alone rather than in a group. When you are in a group, I guess you'd get a taxi and split the cost? But when travelling alone, taxis can be really expensive, so make sure you know how to get to your hostel by public transport before you get there; it should have this info on the hostel's website.
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