Top Tips for Staying in a Hostel

Staying in hostels or mountain refuges is a great way to travel cheaply, and if you’re trekking in remote areas, sometimes the only option other than camping. However, you do need to approach the idea with a certain mentality: sharing a room with strangers is not everyone’s cup of tea. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of the experience and being considerate of others.

  1. If snoring bothers you, don’t even consider staying in a hostel. There WILL be snoring. And there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s nothing the snorer can do about it either, so getting annoyed with them won’t help.
  2. Bring ear plugs unless you’re an incredibly heavy sleeper (see above). It’s worth getting some decent ones.
  3. Have an orderly packing system (I swear by colour coded packing cubes and stuff sacs). That way you know where everything is in your rucksack and don’t have to spend ages fiddling around in your bag every time you want something. This is especially useful if you go to bed or get up when the lights are off.
  4. Leave your hangups at home. Get over your fears about people seeing you in your pants. Even if you accidentally bare some flesh, no one will die.
  5. If the dorms are mixed sex, sleep in your underwear, or figure a way to change discreetly so that you don’t have to spend hours clogging up the bathroom getting changed while others are waiting to use the facilities. Bathrooms are typically small, crowded and insufficient.
  6. Turn your phone off at night. Leaving it on vibrate is not good enough. Unlike snoring, a buzzing phone disturbs other people and is entirely preventable.
  7. Be careful if you use your headtorch in the night. Try not to blind / startle sleeping people with the dazzling brightness (I tend to hold the torch in my hand and shade it when sleeping people are in the vicinity).
  8. Talk to a stranger. Who knows, you might even learn something.
  9. Get your clothes and anything else you need ready for the morning before you go to bed, so you can be up and out in the morning efficiently. You don’t need a million different moisturisers and makeup when you’re out in the mountains. Really.
  10. Bring your sense of humour and your spirit of adventure. There will be things that aren’t perfect. But it can be a highly worthwhile experience.



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