So you’re going backpacking? Lucky you! Backpacking is one of the most exciting adventures and you’re guaranteed to make unforgettable memories during your trip. For most backpackers, hostels are the best type of accommodation. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a group of friends, or as a couple, hostels are budget-friendly and a great way of meeting like-minded people, taking part in fun activities and getting cool tips about your chosen destination. Here at AllTheRooms, we have every type of hostel under the sun, from great budget-friendly options in South East Asia, through to historic hostels in Europe and awesome party hostels in South America. Here’s our rundown of backpacking essentials for your trip, from hostels to travel advice.
Before booking a hostel it’s important to think about what you want from the experience. Some hostels are very basic and function as a place to crash at the end of a long day exploring, while other hostels are so awesome you’re at risk of not wanting to leave and explore. Basic hostels usually have simple, clean rooms, bunk beds, and lockers. The idea is that you’ll be too busy discovering the new place you’re in to spend time in your room. Meanwhile, social hostels often come with terraces, barbeques, themed nights, drinking games and organized tours.
You also have the chance to stay at incredibly cool hostels that are worthy of being on your bucket list. From hostels such as Casa en el Agua on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, a hostel that floats on its own island in the Caribbean sea, through to the stunning Aydinli Cave Hostel that’s been carved into the Cappadocia rocks in Turkey — there’s a huge range of unique hostels to choose from. Check out the world’s 30 coolest hostels for some inspiration.
What Type of Dorm Room Should I Book?
Finding the right kind of dorm room can make a huge difference to your experience. Getting a good night’s sleep is a top priority for many travelers — nobody wants to feel groggy when traveling. If you’re one of the lucky people that can sleep through anything, chose the cheapest dorm option and black-out every night without a care in the world. However, if you’re a lighter sleeper, opt for a dorm with fewer people, such as between 4 to 6 people, which will give you a better chance of sleeping through the noise of everything. While dorm rooms with fewer people are usually a bit more expensive, getting precious sleep makes the price difference worthwhile. Always bring ear plugs and an eye mask to help you get much needed shut-eye.
It’s a fact, if you’re backpacking on your own, hostels are the best way of meeting new people who you can share your experience with, have some great conversations with and find out cool tips about your destination. One of the best ways to meet new people is to be open-minded and talk to as many strangers in the hostel as possible. When backpacking, you’re guaranteed to encounter all types of people, from all corners of the world and at different stages in life.
The best types of hostels for solo travelers are the ones with social spaces and activities, from cooking classes through to walking tours and adventure sports, there’s something for everyone. If you’re not too keen on the idea of staying in a dorm room, you can alternatively stay in a private room.
If you’re traveling solo, with your best mate or as a couple, staying in a hostel can often be a much more fun than being in a hotel. In a hostel you can meet other backpackers, party, take part in fun activities and be part of a community. When you want down-time from socializing and some privacy, head to your own private room and switch-off, meaning you have the best of both worlds.
Before leaving, make sure you’ve made a checklist with all the things you need. Packing light is always a good idea if you’re staying in hostels. If you don’t have too much stuff, you can easily keep an eye on all your belongings and pack your bag quickly when leaving the hostel. We recommend buying some packing cubes, which are amazing for organizing your stuff and are handy when living out of a backpack.
When staying in a hostel, there are a few unsaid rules always worth remembering:
– Try your very hardest not to switch on the light after midnight (there could be people asleep in the room). Use a torch or the flashlight on your phone to find your pajamas and get into bed.
– Be as quiet as possible. As tempting as it might be to continue conversations with other roommates, after 11 pm avoid conversations in the room unless there are definitely no other people trying to sleep.
– Clean up after yourself in the kitchen. If you’re old enough to be traveling, you should be old enough to be responsible for your mess.
– Don’t leave your stuff around the hostel. Keep all your things together under your bed, beside your bed or in your locker.
To be a considerate guest, check out more top tips on hostel etiquette.