Those few tips are going to make your stay a lot more enjoyable!

Hostels – curse or blessing? As a backpacker you’re going to spend a lot of nights in a hostel and not all of them maintain the same standards. I’ll tell you, how you get the right hostel for yourself and share some tips on how to make your stay more enjoyable:

Where do I find the right hostel?

There are different ways to book a hostel. But before doing so, you should be clear about your expectations concerning your stay. Do you prefer a party hostel, or would you rather stay in a calmer place? Where do you want it to be located? With how many people are you willing to share your room? Would you consider staying in a mixed door or women only? What is your budget? Should the bathroom be part of the dorm or should it be on the hallway? Breakfast included or no breakfast? Should there be a pool, bar, common room? Etc.

After you’ve answered all those questions, you can start looking for a place to stay. But let me tell you, I would always prefer recommendations of fellow travellers because you get the information first hand. If you liked staying at a specific hostel, find out if they are part of a hostel network. That way, you can stay with them again in other locations.

If you want to book your hostel online, there are different platforms. Don’t forget to look at the comments of former guests, instead of just looking at the rating! I always used booking.com for finding a hostel but also read some of the comments and looked at pictures on Tripadvisor.de. That way, I was always prepared and was never disappointed.

What kind of dorm should I choose?

That really depends on the person. For instance, I never liked sharing a dorm with more than eight people. At the beginning, I just chose women dorms but soon I realised, that mixed dorms are actually cleaner, more relaxed and most importantly cheaper, a lot of times. Obviously, it always depends on the people you’re sharing the room with but if you’re only going to be at the hostel to sleep and only stay there for a couple of nights, there is no need to get a different room. If you’re planning to stay longer at one place and maybe even work there, I would recommend getting something a bit more “luxurious”. Remember that you have to be rested when working and after you’re shift you’re going to want some more quiet. If you’re still opting for a hostel, like Sophie and I did in Rockhampton, think about getting a twin room with someone you like, and you can count on.

Shared or private bathroom?

I guess most people would want a private bath. Personally, I think a shared bathroom definitely has its advantages. It is cheaper and even though this might sound strange, it gives you more privacy in terms of unpleasant sounds if someone is doing their number two. Other than that, there is a queue in front of the door in the morning as everyone has to get ready, which doesn’t happen that easily in a shared bathroom. Added to that, you can just use another toilet or shower if one is dirty – in a private bathroom, you have no choice. That’s why I am pro shared bathrooms. Only exception when you’re sharing your room with people you already know quite well.

Bunk bed – where you should sleep

Both beds have their advantages and disadvantages!

Bottom:

Advantages Disadvantages
You can store your things underneath the bed. People are going to sit on your bed.
Comes in handy when you’re drunk – no climbing. People are going to walk past you while you’re sleeping or trying to do so.
You can make a curtain out of sheets and towels for more privacy.

Top:

Advantages Disadvantages
Most likely, people will not sit on your bed. It’s harder to store your belongings plus you must climb the stairs whenever you need something.
When someone walks past you, they’re not going to wake you up. It gets kind of shaky when your roommates decide to have sex in the bed below you.
It feels like you have more privacy as people cannot see your bed.

Breakfast included or not included?

This is a definite YES! It isn’t healthy nor nourishing and is mostly served at times where some people just got back from partying, BUT it is worth it. In Australia, you get milk, cornflakes, bread, jam and peanut butter most of the time. It isn’t super yummy but you can start your day with a full tummy and don’t have to waste time on thinking about where to get food. Other than that, it is way cheaper than buying food every morning.

How to you behave in a shared kitchen?

You should bring a cool bag, for groceries that need to go in the fridge, and a normal one for groceries that don’t. Both should have your name and your room number on them. You should plan ahead what you’re going to need for the time of your stay as food can get quite expensive in other countries and you don’t want to waste it. Remember to pack basics like pasta and pesto which you can prepare real quick.

Some backpackers decide to go grocery shopping together and share the bill. This only makes sense, when both have the same diet. A vegetarian and someone who eats meat won’t be able to share the bill fairly as meat can be more expensive.

At every hostel, there is a shelf that contains free food, as former guests left it there on purpose. So if you leave a hostel and there is something you don’t need anymore – put it there instead of throwing it away. Sharing is caring!

Always check the information on the fridge! When they get cleaned, food is thrown out or put on the “serve-yourself-shelf” sometimes so if you want to keep it, be careful where you put it! By the way, food is the thing that gets stolen most at hostels!

Getting to know your hostel

Often, there are more things to do than you might think, which is why you should inform yourself about the possibilities you have. Is there a pool, common rooms or does the hostel have a cooperation with a restaurant so you can get the meals cheaper? Does the hostel offer tours for a better price than some agencies? Is there a Backpacker-Night out to catch up with other travellers? Are there any other things to do? Beach volleyball, soccer, BBQ?

Besides that, I always checked if there are other rooms to sleep in so that I could escape from a dorm room full of snoring roommates.

Have fun and good night!{:}

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