How to choose a cheap hostel worth paying for!
G'day there Pirates! Today, we figured we would take a short break from finding epic deals (I'm kidding, we've found a whole bunch today already!) and share some of our accumulated wisdom with you...
If you're travelling for a week, a month or even a year, cheap hostels are likely be a pretty big part of your trip. Finding a good cheap hostel really depends on what you are looking for - do you want crazy parties or a sound night's sleep? Are you after a one-stop shop which can arrange everything from transport and tours to laundry and dinner?
No matter what kind of hostel you are looking for, there are some general tips to follow which will make your experience a hell of a lot better..Content
- What to Bring to a Hostel
- What You Should Definitely do in a Hostel
- What You Should Definitely NOT do in a Hostel
- Tips for Choosing a Cheap Hostel which rocks
Nobody likes the ass who turns the light on at 3am because they can't find their toothbrush, don't be that person - instead, bring a headtorch!
Sometimes, you may really need a decent night's sleep and when that's the case you will definitely want ear-plugs and an eye mask. I've been travelling for years and I never go anywhere without an eye mask. Cheap hostels are not exactly renowned for being quiet...
If you're staying in cheap hostels then the fact of the matter is that the bedding may not always be totally, well, clean. Get around this by bring a silk sleeping bag liner (easily found on the cheap on Ebay!) so that you can sleep in comfort.
If you're visiting a country which has a lot of mosquitos then do not underestimate the importance of a mosquito net, most hostel dorms do not include these but if you bring one from home you will definitely have a better experience. I recommend picking up a box-net and attaching pieces of string to each corner, attach the end of the string to a carabiner and then simply loop the string round something and clip the carabiner on to the net corners - this will save you so much time tying (and untying!) elaborate knots! Most cheap hostels do not have mosquito nets.
For the love of God, if you bring one thing - make it a padlock. Without a padlock you may not be able to lock your stuff away in the dorm lockers. Even the most basic of hostels should have lockers.
I also recommend bringing a towel, most cheap hostels do not give them out.
Most hostels have a book-exchange so if you have any old books bring them with you and swap them for something brand new.
A pack of cards - the backpacker's best tool for making new buddies!
Eat as much free food as you possibly can.
Make use of basically everything that is free - airport shuttles, water refills, maps of the city - as much as possible.
Chat to other backpackers and find out what is cool to do around the area.
Make new friends! Seriously, people stay in hostels specifically to hang out with other backpackers. In general the folks in backpacker hostels are super friendly and will be happy to head out for a night on the town with you.
Make friends with the staff, ultimately they run the place and can help you out with any problems you may have.
If you want to get a decent night's sleep try to find a cheap hostel which has dorm rooms which sleep less than 12 people.
Make use of the kitchen to bake cookies - seriously, this is a great way to make some fast and firm friends!
Sex, OK - let's hit this nail on the head. If you wanna have sex, book a private room or head to the beach. Do not be the obnoxious couple that just decides to full on go for it in the middle of a 20 bed dorm. You will not be popular. You may be pelted. Having a hostel-hook up is pretty common but if you're gonna go for it, try to get in the dorms EARLY, do not stumble back to the dorms when most people have already gone to sleep - this really is pointblank rude.
Do not bring food into the hostel rooms, it will attract mice, rats and bugs, again - you will not be popular.
Do not leave glass bottles on the floor, nobody likes swinging out of the top bunk and getting a foot full of Carlsberg.
Don't take other travellers' food out of the fridge, it's not cool.
Try to avoid having a rucksack explosion, keep your gear in your space and don't dump it on other people's beds.
Don't talk super loudly or play loud music in the dorms once people are asleep - if you wanna hang out, go to a bar or the communal area.
Do not get caught stealing beer from the fridge.
There a huge amount of cheap hostels out there and choosing a good one can be pretty hard - a good place to start researching is in guidebooks or by using a hostel finder such as Hostelworld. To find out about the best cheap hostels around; simply chat to other backpackers on the road.
Good hostels l will have a nice communal area to meet other backpackers - preferably with bean bags!
Having a communal kitchen is always handy, you can save some serious money.
Hostels which provide a free breakfast should be top of your wish-list.
Even the most basic of cheap hostels these days have free WiFi.
Try to find a cheap hostel which offer free airport pick-ups.
Free drinking water is a big draw, your water expenses can add up fast!
A TV room is a great little bonus and a nice place to meet people.
I like hostels with restaurants on site, that way, if I'm feeling lazy, I don't have to go out.
Try to find a hostel which is within walking distance of whatever it is you want to see.
Try to find a hostel which has knowledgeable staff who know all about the area and can give you a map to help you explore.
Ultimately, you want a cheap hostel which has a cheap bar which DOES eventually close - say 11pm, or you may be kept up all night long by loud music.
Hostel finders such as HostelWorld should allow you to filter your search results to find the perfect cheap hostel.
Remember, if you can't find a hostel, there's always the beach. Cheap hostels are a great way to save money whilst travelling but camping is, well, free so will save you even more!
When you have found a hostel you like the look of, drop them an email or a Facebook message to book a bed. Even in low season the popular places (basically all cheap hostels which are actually pretty good!) are usually full and ultimately, you definitely want there to be space in the hammock! So, Pirates, hopefully this blog has armed ye to the teeth and given you all the proverbial tools you shall need to pull up the anchor (that's not a euphemism I promise!), cast off from the port, rig up your sail and hit the high seas in search of new mateys to go "Arrrrr!" with, sink some grogs and spend a night asleep upon the softest of Pirate silks, mayhap with a wench or three thrown in for good luck!
If you're in search of more tips to help you explore the world on the cheap, check out our other articles packed to the brim with tips, tricks and ideas for travelling around the world.
To explore some of the thousands of hostels available, use the hostel finder website HostelWorld.com