Who says travel has to involve luxury 5-star resorts? Not me. As a young woman, I’ve been travelling solo for as long as I’ve been able. Solo backpacking is liberating, exciting and something I truly believe everyone should experience. It can be daunting to travel alone, especially as a woman, but living in fear never gets you anywhere. I know bad things happen in the world but living in a constant state of “what if” will prevent you from ever experiencing some of the great adventures travel has to offer! They say nothing worth experiencing in life comes without overcoming fear so if you’re scared of hostels, it’s time to book your next trip (post-covid of course).
RELATED: The Official #WEGuide on Places to Visit in Bilbao >>>
Staying in hostels is like living with a bunch of like-minded friends! Think of it like living in a frat house…unless that sounds like hell…in that case, scratch that. Hostels are great because they’re inexpensive, usually available on the fly, provide you with a group of new connections and they immerse you in the country you’re visiting. Sure, some hostels are nicer than others, but at the end of the day it’s about having an epic travel experience.
Here are some tips to make you feel comfortable staying in hostels
Do Some Research
If you get nervous travelling without some knowledge of where you’re headed or where you’re sleeping, it’s a good idea to do some research. Get to know the city you’re visiting before you fly over and book your hostels in advance! If you do this, you’ll avoid the anxiety of figuring out which hostel to stay at on the fly. You’ll be able to read reviews from fellow travellers and get a feel for the hostels in the area. Hostel World is a great site that will provide you with hostels to check out in your desired location, as well as a rating system and reviews!
Bring a Sleeping Bag
Depending on the hostel you’re staying in, bedsheets aren’t always offered. Although I’m an adventure junky, I’m also a bit of a clean freak. I don’t love the idea of sleeping in bedsheets I haven’t seen washed, so I always bring my own sleeping bag. There’s some stigma with hostels that they’re all bed bug infested and although this isn’t the case, it may bring some peace of mind to sleep in your own bag.
Connect With Your Fellow Travellers
The idea of large group gatherings in a foreign country may sound like a dream right now but I promise you those days are in store for us soon. Whether you’re travelling solo or with some friends, take the time to meet some new faces at your hostel! Not only will you make lifelong friends that will connect you around the world, you’ll also feel more comfortable sleeping in the hostel. Instead of feeling like you’re sleeping next to strangers you don’t trust, you’ll feel like you’re at a slumber party with your pals!
BYOCS (Bring Your Own Cleaning Supplies)
If your main worry about hostel life is the cleanliness, bring your own cleaning supplies! You can’t control how clean the hostel will be but you CAN control how clean your own area is. If you bring a small bag of cleaning supplies (like wipes, sanitizer etc.) you can disinfect your area and have some peace of mind. These supplies will also come in handy if you’re making a trip to a shared hostel washroom. I’ll spare you the details but sometimes bringing your own cleaning supplies is life saving.
Change Your Mindset
Mindset is everything! If you go into a trip with the attitude that hostel life isn’t for you, I can almost guarantee you won’t feel comfortable staying in a hostel. If you want to feel comfortable in hostels, tell yourself that you’re comfortable! We have a lot more control than we think.