travel

Staying in a Hostel Alone (What to Expect)

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Having travelled solo in Australia and New Zealand many times, I decided to do a post on staying in a hostel alone and what to expect. I’ll be honest when I tell you I had never envisaged myself staying in a hostel until I arrived in Sydney, Australia for the first time. I had also never planned on travelling solo but in fact once I tried both, I realised that it is actually a great way to meet people and can be more fun than staying with friends or a group!

Being a self-confessed introvert, I was way out of my comfort zone when I first arrived at a hostel and wasn’t sure if I would ‘fit in’. I had never even seen one before and expected it to be really dingy and horrible. It was nothing like I expected and even though it wasn’t exactly the Ritz, I soon realised that hostels are the absolute best place to meet people and have fun on holidays!

Granted, my very first hostel stay was in a shared room with 2 other friends but they were leaving in a couple of days and had other plans. I had decided early on before our trip through Thailand and on to Australia that I wanted to live in Sydney. I believed there were more jobs there and I had a few cousins living there so it worked better for me. The two girls left a couple of days later for Perth so I was left alone in the hostel. I signed up for a week in a shared dorm room but decided to choose a female dorm as I figured it would be less awkward for getting dressed etc. It just felt more comfortable and I wanted to meet some new girly pals too so I chose a female dorm. Depending on the hostel, they usually offer mixed (male and female) or female only. I don’t think there is usually a male only dorm option but I can’t be sure. Anyway not all hostels have this option so I have stayed in a good few mixed dorms and it was absolutely fine.

If you are a female staying in a hostel alone, I would advise checking out the female dorm option for the reasons stated above and just to help make female friends. You will obviously make friends with guys too but its nice to have a group of girl buddies. You can always try out a mixed dorm later but for your first stay, it might be better. In my experience, they tend to be a better standard. I don’t know if this is because you usually have to pay extra but probably!

If you prefer less noise and people then go for a smaller room with less beds. 4 bed dorms were my favourite. Book ahead of time always, in any case. Hostels can book up quickly so ask at reception if your room will be available for the length of your planned stay. You may be expected to change room or even hostel so if you can plan ahead you are winning.

a messy backpacker

Get to know the reception staff. They will likely be your first port of call and will be able to help you out if you have any problems. It is always a good idea to smile and greet them whenever you see them so that they acknowledge you. Especially in case you lose your key! This has happened to me plenty of times, the key cards get left in the room or lost in a bag. At least if the reception staff remember you it will be easier to sort out. The same goes for if you get locked out at night. Bear in mind that most hostels lock their doors when the reception closes in the evening. The times differ and you will need your key to get in. If you lose it, you will have to call the night manager or wait for someone else to arrive and let you in. Then you will have to knock on your hostel room door. A pain if people are asleep in there but actually people in hostels are usually pretty cool and understanding! In fairness, if people are light sleepers they will wake with noise of people coming and going anyway.

Smile and say hello to anyone who makes eye contact. Sounds a bit weird for some but it is the best possible way to make friends. People staying in hostels want to make friends so being open to meeting and getting to know people is the best way to do so. The communal areas are the best place to meet friends or else the computer rooms. You can easily strike up a  conversation with anyone there. Whether it is asking for help choosing where to shop/eat/drink/buy clothes, just think of something to strike up that first conversation and all of a sudden you have made the first step. Usually the conversation flows, if not there will be plenty more hostel buddies to get to know!

Get to know your way around, especially how to get back to the hostel. You don’t want to get lost on the way home after a night out. The hostel normally always provide a map and mark the area for you on arrival which is handy. Keep it on your person, in a bag or somewhere you won’t forget it when going out. Never know when you may need it.

Suss out your transport options and what buses and trains go past or close by. It will be good to know this in advance so you can save time and hassle. You can ask around, at reception or online. Get the timetables if you can so that you won’t have to wait around. If you are travelling alone, then make sure you know the safer route back to the hostel at night (ask at reception) or make sure to travel with your hostel buddies when going out late. Safety in numbers!

Try not to stick to one group of friends and rather get to know everyone. People come and go from hostels and sometimes they group off together so I find it is best to be friendly with everyone. That way you will never be alone in the hostel and never be seen as stand-offish. Obviously there will be a couple of people who you may not wish to hang out with but still keep an open mind and be nice. Your first impression of someone could be wrong, it has happened to me plenty of times.

Be helpful to others wherever possible and especially newcomers to the hostel. They will really appreciate your help and will most likely be happy to help you out in return if you need them to. You will probably meet a lot of solo travellers who will be glad to meet you too. That is the beauty of staying in a hostel as opposed to some hotel.

Mingle and don’t just sit alone. Some people may think you don’t want to be disturbed and not approach you if you don’t mingle. In fairness, some people do actually want to be left alone in a hostel and that is fine. But if you wish to meet new people and make friends then get out of your comfort zone and you will soon realise that making friends is really easy at a hostel.

a group of backpackers on a roof

Arrange a night in or out with a group of people or anyone whose company you enjoy. It will help people warm to you and also it helps get to know each other better. Hostels often arrange these nights in/out for instance pizza nights, BBQ’s, movie nights etc. They usually work with restaurants and bars etc. in the area where they can get you discounts and coupons for whether it is in a group or solo. Ask at reception.

If you don’t mind being in your own company and would prefer some alone time or just haven’t met anyone yet, go sight-seeing, go to the cinema or ask at reception for recommendations on the area. They may well have coupons or discounts for booking things through them also. Always worth checking. I worked in quite a few hostels in my time and we always had discounts on tours and stuff. If you book through the hostel you usually have a better organised trip.

Keep any money and valuables on your person or else use the hostels lockers if they have them. It is a good idea to have a hiding place in your bag and a lock on it for your passport to keep it safe if there are no lockers. Make sure you carry the key on your person if you do lock it and have a spare. You can ask if they have a safety deposit box at reception or a safe that you could use, if possible. Keep a copy of your passport somewhere separate or bring it out with you instead of your passport. You will need it in case you lose your passport or have it stolen. I usually keep 2 copies all in different locations, like one in my backpack, one in my carry on bag and one in a pocket or drawer.

If you have any medical info then make sure people are aware in case of an emergency. Check out this post on How to add your Medical ID to your smartphone locked screen.

If you plan on going out for the day or evening or even overnight, tell a friend or someone at reception. Always make sure someone knows where you are. If anything happens to you, they will be able to alert someone of your whereabouts and will be expecting you to return. At least someone will know your last movements. Not scaremongering here but it is better safe than sorry.

a backpacker reading rules on a board

Make sure you follow the basic hostel etiquette so as not to ruffle any feathers.

Here is a list of do’s and dont’s

Do wash your dishes and put them away after you immediately after you finish with them. 

Don’t leave any rubbish or mess after you. It is a basic rule. No one likes living in squalor.

Do let people know if you have any odd sleeping habits such as sleep walking or talking in your sleep. They will be more understanding!

Don’t alienate people. You don’t know their story. If they seem aloof, just leave them be. They will probably come around. They usually do.

Do organise your stuff in advance of going to bed. If you need to leave early you don’t want to be emptying your bag and waking everyone in the room.

Don’t put on a loud alarm. Put your phone on a lower volume, just enough to wake you and put it on vibrate next to you so you will notice it better, in case. 

Do bring a torch or use your phone to guide you in and out of the room at night. Turning the light on is a big no-no when anyone is asleep.

Don’t claim the power points as your own. Remember that other people are using the same power point so be mindful of that.

Do take your phone calls outside. No one want to listen to your yapping for more than a minute or 2 unless you are talking to them.

Don’t hook up with anyone in your dorm bed. Ewww. Just eww. 

Do mention if something bothers you but do it in the nicest possible way so as not to be a dictator.

Don’t hog the washing machine and dryers. Everyone has to wash their clothes so take turns.

Do remember to remove your clothes from the washing line if using one, as there will be others waiting.

Don’t hog the showers or bathroom mirrors. 

Do remember the cleaning schedule and respect the ones who clean the rooms by not having stuff all over the floor and under the bed when they have to vacuum.

Don’t spray the room full of deodorant or mosquito repellent. Do it outside, in the bathroom or corridor at least.

Do open the window regularly to air the room but not in freezing conditions. Ask if it’s ok first.

Don’t shout or talk loudly when arriving back late at night to the room. Whisper if needs be.

So those are my tips on staying alone in a hostel and what to expect. It is a great way to travel and can save a fortune. It is also the best place to meet people when travelling. I wouldn’t hesitate to travel alone once I knew I was staying in a hostel. It really opened up my eyes to solo travel and helped me gain my independence so much! I have met some amazing people and made lots of friends by staying alone in hostels. It wasn’t what I expected at all! It was so much better… 

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Here are my tips on staying alone in a hostel and what to expect. It is a great way to travel and can save a fortune. It is also the best place to meet people when travelling.

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Staying in a Hostel Alone (What to Expect)
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Staying in a Hostel Alone (What to Expect)
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Here are my tips on staying alone in a hostel and what to expect. It is a great way to travel and can save a fortune. It is also the best place to meet people when travelling.
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Blog News Weekly
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Get post alerts :
RSS
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FACEBOOK
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Summary
Staying in a Hostel Alone (What to Expect)
Article Name
Staying in a Hostel Alone (What to Expect)
Description
Here are my tips on staying alone in a hostel and what to expect. It is a great way to travel and can save a fortune. It is also the best place to meet people when travelling.
Author
Publisher Name
Blog News Weekly
Publisher Logo

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