Tips to Living Abroad in a Hostel

Ever stayed in a hostel before? A night, a week, a few months? Well, for those of you who have little to no experience in a hostel, let me give you a little insight into how to survive and what to expect. So its your first night, you’re uncomfortable. Do you ask the guys if you can jump in on a game of pool? Do you go on the hostel bar crawls? Or do you just sit in the lobby on your computer and headphones? Hostels can be what you make them, but mostly, it’s so much fun! There’s always those people who are only around for a night or two, or a week. But you also have the people who are living there. Actually living. Why? It’s cheap, someone else cleans the bathrooms and kitchen for you and you don’t have to buy any sort of cleaning supplies! I, personally have spent over half a year living in a hostel, five months of that in one specific hostel.


Here are a few tips and tricks to make life a bit easier…


  1. Be sociable! You’re living with so many different people from so many different backgrounds and there’s so much to learn from everyone. Also, learn to respect that everyone is from different backgrounds with different experiences and different tastes in food… food!! Oh the food!
  2. You WILL NOT. I repeat. WILL NOTTTTTT get raped, killed, drugged, sold into sex slavery, stolen from (unless you’re stupid and leave your stuff open and all over for everyone to see) so basically, use a lock or just put your stuff away. The movie Hostel… totally not true. Don’t be stupid.
  3. Hang up the shower mat when you’re done so it’s a bit drier for the next person. After a few showers, the shower mat will be soaking wet and that’s just gross.
  4. Don’t leave fish on the counter in the kitchen for an entire day or even in the fridge. Or anything else that spells horrible for that instance or even left overs that have been there for a few weeks.
  5. Cooking food for all the women in the hostel will NOT get you laid. It’s a lovely, welcoming gesture, but keep your expectations low. Yes, it is a hostel, but that doesn’t mean that sex is always on the table.
  6. Always accept a hot water bottle for bed. I’m seriously buying one when I get home because they’re absolutely amazing, plus most hostels in warmer climate places don’t have heat.
  7. Do not, i repeat, do not put the tv remote, or any other used item in the hostel in, around or near your mouth. You are currently living with 10+ people and one of the many problems with this includes the fact that you don’t know who has touched that, what they touched before they touched it and OH YEAH, you’re putting it in YOUR MOUTH while you’re sick and sniffling and snorting and couching so who’s to say they weren’t doing the same thing! To top it all off, after you take it out of your mouth, don’t offer it to me. Just don’t.
  8. Bring an extra pillow if you can. Hostel pillows and blankets aren’t really known for their comfort and warmth, which is why most of them offer hot water bottles for night time to keep the toesies warm and don’t expect the beds to be comfortable. Think more of… children’s bunk beds. Foam mattresses, bunk beds and a pillow that is so flat that you barely know its there.
  9. Speaking of which, ever lived in a sorority? Or remember hating sharing a room with another person in college? Well… time to relive your nightmare, expect there to be anywhere from 6-20 beds in one room. Sometimes there are female and male bed dorms, but I usually try to get the mixed sex rooms… believe it or not, men tend to be cleaner and have less things than woman.
  10. People who live there work all different hours of the day and if you’re in a dorm room, you shouldn’t expect everyone to go to bed and wake up at the same time. If you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs. One person could get home at 4am from a night bar shift and another has to wake up at 6am for a morning café job. Sometimes it’s the same person!
  11. If you can, stay at a hostel that offers free breakfast. It will only be dry cereal, bread, nutella and maybe jam, but it sure beats trying to cook at the same time as everyone else. Plus, its free. Duh.

After my experience at Mount Backpackers in Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand, I’ve realised that a hostel is a family. An extremely strange, weird, messed up, beautiful, loving family. Don’t miss out!

Family BBQ on Christmas Day
Family BBQ on Christmas Day
Another family Christmas Day photo on the beach
Another family Christmas Day photo on the beach

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