A good hostel can make or break a trip. Once you find the right one, you may not even want to leave. A good hostel should make you feel at ease, sleep in peace and feel warm and happy.
So what makes a good hostel?
Top of the list. I would prefer to top up a few dollars more just to stay somewhere with a good location. Easy access to the convenience stall or a short walk to the beach makes the hostel so much more attractive. This is not just for convenience but also for safety. I wouldn’t want to put myself in dangerous situations in case I’m walking down the streets at 2am in the morning.
Toilets should not clog up easily, toilet paper should be aplenty. Whether you have an en-suite toilet or a shared one, the area should be cleaned everyday. Nobody wants to return and use a toilet that makes people feel disgusted.
Call me insecure but I always search up Agoda and get my accommodation booked beforehand. Other than searching for the best deals, a good hostel will have sufficient reviews to render a judgment. I tend to go for those hostels that have a minimum of 8.0 for their ratings and often scout through the reviews before I make my decision.
Homely common areas
A hostel is great for knowing friends! A homely and comfortable common area allows people to bond easily and quickly. If I’m staying in a hostel, one of the things I like to do is to talk to people from all walks of life. I would particularly seek out those with a nice common area and hang around the area when I’ve the time to.
If you’re travelling on budget, be sure to pick a hostel that provides free breakfast. Yes, you’ll need to wake up earlier but at least your tummy is satisfied! Some hostels even have hostel parties and special promotions for their guests so ensure that you check them out and make your money worth!
This is just a personal item I look out for when I’m choosing my hostel. While it is always a good idea to chat with your room mates on your bed, I would still like to have that bit of personal space during bedtime. And yes, it’s also because I wouldn’t want anyone to see me drooling away in my sleep as I open my mouth for that bit of Oxygen.
I would like to add that staying in a hostel may not be as easy as it seems. If you get inconsiderate roommates, it will be hell. As a light sleeper myself, it is even more difficult as I try to get a good night’s rest. These are some tips that can help you to ease into a new environment much faster:
Lower bunk bed
It can be a hassle climbing up and down just to locate one item in your backpack. I make it a point to sleep on the lower bunk bed because it’s just so much easier and faster if I need anything or if I were to make a trip to the toilet.
Blankets provided by hostels are often a thin piece of bedsheet. It can get pretty cold at night so always ensure you keep yourself warm with a hoodie or pullover.
I can’t emphasise this enough if you’re a light sleeper like me. A shared dorm will inevitably be noisier as guys tend to snore more than girls. However, there was once I stayed in a hostel only with ladies but there were no doors. The ladies in the room opposite mine were about 15 meters away and the whole night long, they were snoring away. Those earplugs are gonna be your savior when you’re trying to catch a wink. You really wouldn’t want to risk having panda eyes because of a symphony at night am I right?
Be sure to check out the type of hostel you’re staying in. Expect loud music thumping all day long if you’re staying in a party hostel. Afternoon naps are not possible if you don’t have your earplugs ready.
Not only that, different travellers have different itineraries. Some wake up much earlier than others and they can make so much noise disrupting your sleep. Unless you’re able to sleep like a log, bring the earplugs along.
A piece of home
This sounds stupid enough but I often lug along my Snoopy because it eases me to sleep. Yes, it’s bulky but totally worth it. You have no idea how it has also helped me to block out some noise when I forget my earplugs. Two-in-one, plushie for the win.
The idea of parting a huge amount of money on accommodation is not one that I can fully comprehend. Afterall, I’d rather spend the money for future travel plans or forking that extra dollar to try out that dish that locals are eating. Also, travelling need not be expensive. It’s all about doing research especially if it’s your first solo trip. I hope this entry has been helpful when you’re out there seeking your ideal hostel.
This is part two of my two-part solo travel series. Check out this post if you need some heads-up on on what to expect for your first trip. In the meantime, travel on.