7 Hostel Essentials

As backpacking, international co-op terms, and exchange semesters become more and more common among university students, there seem to be more and more articles about how to prepare and pack for your chosen adventure. While these lists often focus on how to put 6 months’ worth of clothes into a carry-on, they often skip over the little essentials that are commonly forgotten but that you find yourself wishing you had. I’ve created a list of seven items that are essential to successful hostelling.

  1. 1. Earplugs

    When you’re sharing a room with up to 12 other strangers, chances are good that one of them snores or talks in their sleep. Having a pair of earplugs will ensure that you sleep tight no matter who you end up bunking with. It’s a good idea to bring a few pairs of earplugs because you will inevitably end up losing a few along the way.

  2. 2. Eye mask

    For the most part, people are pretty respectul of quiet hours in hostels, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be in bed at the same time as you. If you’re someone who typically goes to bed a little earlier than most, sleeping with an eye mask can be a good idea. This way, you won’t be bothered by light streaming in from the hallway as people enter and exit the room, or if anyone rudely decides to turn on the light at 2 a.m. An eye mask also comes in handy if you’re trying to sleep on a train, plane, or bus while getting to your next destination.

  3. 3. Shower sandals

    While some hostels do have rooms with their own private washrooms, most hostels have communal toilets and showers. Avoid picking up any weird foot fungi by bringing a cheap pair of sandals you can wear in the shower. Bringing a pair of slip-on sandals rather than flip-flops is great because you can rock that socks-and-sandals look and wear them like slippers around the hostel.

  4. 4. Towel

    Most hostels will let you rent a towel from them, but if you are planning to travel for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to pack your own travel towel. Many companies make towels specifically for backpacking that dry quickly and pack down to a small size. Most outdoors and camping stores have a large selection of these adventure towels.

  5. 5. Padlock

    The majority of hostels will have lockers for you to store your things in when you are out exploring for the day, so it’s nice to be able to secure your things inside. Although I personally have never had a problem with people trying to take my stuff, I still always bring a padlock to ensure all my valuables are kept safe.

  6. 6. Bar of soap

    For the most part, hostels provide hand soap in their communal bathrooms. However, I have stayed in a few hostels where they do not provide it, and you are stuck desperately looking for that bottle of hand sanitizer that you swear you packed into your purse.

  7. 7. Water bottle

    A water bottle is essential to have on you when you are exploring different cities during your trip. When you are on the move, it’s easy to forget to drink water, and you can get dehydrated pretty quickly from all the walking you do. Most hostels won’t provide you with a cup to use during your stay, so it’s also handy to have a water bottle for brushing your teeth, etc. If you’re worried about losing a nice water bottle during your trip, you can always buy a plastic one and refill it throughout your travels.

Have more hostel essential recommendations? Let us know!