Tips for hostel living

So I’ve been living in this hostel for a month now, and thought I’d pass on some of the tips I’ve learnt here, for travelling and for enhancing your stay.

  • Bring a towel! Towels often cost plus a deposit. You’ll travel much more easily on a budget this way.
  • Bring flip flops for the showers. Our showers are cleaned daily. You cannot make the same presumptions about people’s feet. Ick.
  • If you really want to stay in a particular hostel but it says there are no availabilities, try calling them. Some hostels keep beds aside for walk ins.
  • Be nice to the staff and they will be nice to you. It really is that simple. I’ve had a couple of guests bring me Pasteis de Belem when I’ve told them they were amazing, and in return I’ve shown them cheap bars to go to. It’s the same anywhere. You show people respect and they will be nice to you. No brainer.
  • Keep all your toiletries in one bag. That’s shower stuff, tooth paste and tooth brush and deodorants. It helps so much to not have to scrabble about in your bag every time. And people in hostels are ruthless. Leave your shower kit in the shower and it will get used.
  • Having said that, if you carry those little fill up pots that you can take on planes, and your hostel provides you with shampoo and soap, feel free to refill it there. Everything is refillable.
  • Always take a padlock. Most hostels sell them but if you can bring one of your own that is just one less thing to worry about.
  • Try and learn four phrases in the language. “Please”, “Thank you”,  “Good day” and “I don’t speak _________ very well”. I’ve found when someone from an English or non Portuguese speaking country and they try hard to communicate in the native language it shows a little bit of cultural consideration!
  • Be friendly. I’ve met a lot of people travelling alone who have been so friendly we’ve kept in contact since. If you’re in a group socialise out with the group as well, or include people in a night out or something. I know it takes a lot to go up to a stranger, but even just offering a crisp or asking if they know how to get to wherever can lead to a lot of friendships being made. Don’t be shy!!
  • Don’t change beds from the one you’ve been assigned to. It truly causes havoc.
  • If you don’t have a safe in your hostel keep any emergency money somewhere unlikely but safe. The lining of a bag, the inside of a shoe you don’t use, a make up bag which you don’t take out. In the words of Gandalf “Keep it secret, keep it safe”
  • Make a list of places you wish to visit and DO THEM! I can’t count the number of times people have come to reception at check out and said “I wish I’d gone to Belem but I was too hungover.” If you make travel plans, stick to them. Have a berrocca and move on!
  • Lastly, have fun. If you are a positive cheery soul you will usually have a positive cheery experience.

Look forward to seeing you in a hostel very soon!

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Author: Kirsty

24, severe wanderlust

7 thoughts on “Tips for hostel living”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I added a link to this post to my own post of tips to share it with more people 🙂 This was an interesting read from the staff side. Being friendly to staff – YES. I see so many people be rude and I have no idea why, some things are really out of the staff’s control and there’s no need to make a huge fuss.

  2. Elizabeth – If you are more comfortable knowing who has used the bathroom before by all means go for an ensuite! These rooms tend to be more expensive like you said but if you’re willing to spend more money for a little peace of mind I see no issue with that!
    Jennifer – thank you very much for the shout out! haha. All the more tips the merrier in my opinion!

  3. I’ll actually be traveling abroad this summer and staying in hostels for about a week at a time so this was great! I might have a few other questions so I’ll be sure to message you if I do.

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