Let’s face it. It’s pretty nice to walk into a hotel, and know that if you forgot your toothbrush, your razor, or your sewing kit, you’re in luck. It can be nice to have a stocked mini bar full of overpriced drinks and snacks, just in case you’d like a midnight snack. But I promise you (promise, promise!) that staying in a hostel will blow your ideas about hotels out of the water. You’ll quickly realize that the amenities that come with the room simply aren’t worth the additional price tag- and you’ll love applying the extra budget to awesome things in your travel city. More money in your wallet means more restaurant tastings, more experiences to immerse yourself in, and more culture to explore. So, if you're down for a hostel experience, I’d like to give you some pointers, so that your experience is everything you want, without any surprises.
Here are a few things you should consider packing/expecting if you are going to stay at a hostel.
Pack flip flops
Bathrooms are shared. At the Scenic City Hostel we have three bathrooms with showers on each floor. You most likely won't have to wait in line to use the facilities, but, just like a spa or gym, you’ll be sharing showers- and for that reason I recommend flip flops. If you have a hanging bag for toiletries, thats a great thing to bring as well- as many hostels don’t have fancy vanity areas, so that guest doing “linger” in the shower facility too long.
Bring Ear Plugs
This is especially true with bunk rooms. These rooms are shared, and there's no curfew (typically) for your bunk mates, so they could be coming and going at any point. In the private rooms, you can expect privacy, but hostels promote social atmospheres, and if you’re a light sleeper, you might be woken by hostel goers who gather in the social areas to converse.
Check your hostel’s policy on linens. The Scenic City Hostel provides linens for our guests, but not all hostels do, and sometimes it’s an additional fee. These policies help keep costs down, so we can give rock bottom prices. IF your hostel provides linens, just remember that they won't be laundered throughout your stay. You’ll get a clean set when you arrive, but don’t expect daily changes.
An eye mask
Again, if you're in the bunk room, your roommate might be up late working, watching a movie, or reading. While we certainly HOPE guests will be aware and accommodating to others, there is no guarantee you’ll get the blackout feature of a hotel room. It’s a good idea to bring an eye mask so you can pop that on if you want to nap, or your bunk mate has a lamp on at night. We all know that those zzzzzzz's are important.
The Hostel address ON PAPER
This one’s important. I should have written it first. Write down the name and address to the hostel on paper. I’ve traveled many times where my phone has died or has been on its last legs and I was scrambling to call an Uber. Take the time to write the hostel information on paper, as well as any important things like electronic key codes. Keep it in your wallet, or another safe place, that way you have no issues if you have an electronic fail on you.
If your hostel doesn’t have lockers, you might need to leave your belongings “unsecured” on-sight. I recommend bringing a padlock, that way you can keep you belongings safely tied up if you want to hit the town without your things.
Hostels are a fantastic option for the budget savvy traveler, but often times guests who aren't familiar with hostel features are left surprised to find their rooms aren't being turned every day, or that they need to share bathrooms. Hopefully this quick list will help set clear expectations so you can enjoy this unique accommodation setting and get the most out of your trips!