9 Things You Must Know Before Booking A Hostel

Let’s face the facts: we’re mostly broken students with an intern salary. And even if we’re still living with our parents, who pay our college and don’t need our financial help, we’re always on a budget. What probably will also happen when we save some money and finally get to travel after months of working and studying.

But is it possible to travel with not-that-much money? Hell yes. Once you’ve already have some amount, it’s time to plan how to make your reais worth it, and we can definitely find ways of going to the other side of the planet and coming back with alternative accommodation.

You can try to book and AirBnB, stay on a friend or parent’s place, choose low-profile hotels or stay on hostels. Worldwide known as a cheap, young and trashy way of traveling, hostels are getting more and more popular as they make it possible to go to Paris without selling both your kidneys -- maybe just one of them.

But if you’re used to average hotels, there are something you need to know before booking that cool-young one.

1. There are multiple types of rooms available

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It’s not because it’s a hostel that you’re gonna share your bedroom with ten men and ten women. There are dozens of ways this accommodations organize their rooms: shared mixed bedrooms, shared women-only bedrooms, single rooms and some alternatives about the amount of people sleeping on the same roof.

The more the people, the cheapest. If it’s a female-only, it will be a little bit more expensive. Single rooms are luxury and will be even more pricey. But normally, cheaper than regular bedrooms on hotels. Choose the most comfortable option for you and your wallet.

2. Bathrooms are an important thing

There are many ways hostels can organize the bathroom logistic. Some rooms might have the toilet and shower inside it, some will have it on the hallway. This information is always available on the websites, but it’s up to you to decide which one is the best option.

Inside room’s bathrooms are more practical, we all know that. But if you wanna use it in the middle of the night, you’ll make the room noisy and some people might wanna kill you for that.

3. Be prepared to pack more personal items than normal

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Hotels provide towels, body soap, hands soap, shampoo and conditioner, right? But hostels might or might not do that. Get informed and always hope for the best and expect for the worse. But let’s stop the drama. Buying a body soap on the supermarket next door will not consume all your money.

On the other hand, bedding is always included (as far as my experience and researches can tell).

4. There’s no such thing as a hostel person

You might think people who stay on hostels are always the same: young, free spirit, broke, easy going and party people. Sorry to tell, but it’s about time to let this stereotype go away.

You’re gonna find people from all over the planet, young or not, talkative or not, relaxed or neurotic. The only thing that is an actual constant on hostel travellers is the will to save as much money as possible.

So, if these things were the ones stopping you from staying on a shared bedroom, just relax. You’ll be fine.

5. Hostels are noisy and never dark enough

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If you’re staying on a shared bedroom, be prepared to sleep on a noisy and light room. Of course there’re some implicit rules about being the more respectful possible, but sometimes it’s impossible.

People will arrive on the middle of the night because of their flight times, people will leave before the sun comes up because of the same reason. There’s nothing we can do to prevent this events of happening, cause you’re probably see yourself in a situation like that too.

The key is to have empathy: try to be the more imperceptive you can and understand when someone light up their phones 4 am. We’re all travelling and trying to relax and have a nice experience, it’s not worth it to get stressed over things we cannot control.

6. Breakfast might be included. But don’t get excited

Once you’re not paying that much, breakfast won’t be the most glamorous one. But it can be nice. With the basic food so you can wander around ‘till lunch time comes.

7. Packing light is the key

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Even though we’re not here to spread the word of the carry on bag only, we must admit it’s the most practical way to see the globe. Especially if you’re sharing your bedroom, cause it’ll probably never have the perfect place for you to keep your stuff while sleeping or out during the day.

Lockers might be small or non-existent, so if you’re interested on keeping your bags safe and close to you, choose a small one. But don’t worry. Hostels tend to have a special room to their guests’ luggage, so in case you’re with three big bags, they’ll have a place to stay.

8. You have to be organized

Maybe you’ve got that dirty messy room image in your head, but it doesn’t have to become true. Some people are disorganized and leave their stuff all over the bedroom, but as long as you’re sharing with other people, it’s nice to keep it together.

So maintain your bag organized, never forget your underwear on the bathroom and your socks under the bed. A peaceful environment will make everyone happy in the end of the day.

9. Hostels are nice places

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With its goods and bad points, hostels are still a great choice if you wanna save some money while traveling. Some people actually prefer them instead of hotels because, of course, it’s easy to make friends when you’re literally sharing the roof.

Be their fan or not, they’ll always be there once the money is short or when you’re traveling alone and feels like knowing people from all around the world. The key is to be prepared: if you know how these places work, you’ll be ready to deal with any inconvenience. And remember: the main reason why you took that plane is outside the hostel’s door.

BONUS | You’re definitely gonna need:

  • A padlock: most of the hostels have a lockers so you can keep your bag or important stuff safe. But not all of them have a padlock available. Some might sell it, but as we already know it will be expensive, buy yours at home. Tip: if you check the hostel’s ratings online, people will probably talk about this topic -- mainly if there’s need of taking a bigger than normal padlock.

  • Shower flip flops: as you’re probably going to share a bathroom, even if you’re on a single room, it’s a safety measure to pack flip flops.

  • Microfiber towel: believe me, it will save your life. Without room service and, sometimes, without free towels, an easy-drying one is all you need. They might be a little bit pricey (about R$ 30), but are worth it. They almost don’t occupy space on your bag, fit everywhere, keep you dry and will  easily self dry anywhere you leave them. The same will never happen with an average shower towel.

  • Shower miniatures: as long as we are on the bathroom, don’t forget your shower miniatures. They’re easy to pack and manage when on weird spaces, as hostels’ bathrooms can be.

  • Eye masks: hostels are never dark enough for an amazing night of sleep. But it is manageable with an eye mask. Put them on and the light turned on 3 am cause someone’s leaving to the airport will never bother you.

  • Great headphones: hostels are never quiet enough for an amazing night of sleep. And as we know you don’t wanna bother anyone or be bothered, but some headphones on. They’ll protect your ears and make you wake up in the morning -- with the help of alarms apps that ring on your ears. See? It’s possible to not lose your flight and still keep the elegancy.