A Guide to Staying in Hostels

A Guide to Staying in Hostels


If you’ve never stayed in hostels before, the idea can be a bit daunting. However, hostels are a brilliant way to meet people and add a little extra fun to your travels! Despite what some people may say, hostels are safe and friendly environments, but to ensure you get the most out of your stays then it’s worth sticking to a few guidelines. Hostels are a great option when travelling Asia, they are set up for tourists, they are cheap (sometimes even £2 a night) and they are social! Read our guide to staying in hostels:


Shared dorms… yes or no?

It’s understandable that people have their reservations when it comes to shared dorms. Sleeping in a room with strangers can feel uncomfortable and may make you feel vulnerable. This one is completely a personal choice, but it’s good to know the options. 

Personally, when I was travelling (18 year old female) I always stayed in mixed shared dorm rooms, with the most beds being 21 in one hostel! I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe (although I do wish I had read a guide to staying in hostels beforehand). You have your own privacy as each bed will have a separation curtain, and you have lockers for your valuables. Because so many people are in a room, you actually feel quite safe. However, there are female only and male only dorms which can make you feel more at ease. 

There are certain things you have to get used to, however. Yes, there will always be a couple having sex, yes, there will be drunk people going to bed at 4am and yes, people can be very untidy. With a good set of ear plugs, most of these things aren’t an issue, and the numerous benefits outweigh the negatives. It’s super easy to make friends when you’re sharing a room, and if you’re travelling alone people will often invite you along to their plans if you’re around, it’s also much much cheaper than a private room. 

How cheap should you go?

There’s not a hard or fast rule for this, especially in Asia. Some of our best hostel experiences only cost us £2 a night, and some of the worst were £5 a night. Hostel World is a great website for booking and comparing accommodation – I wouldn’t have been able to travel Asia without it! It rates hostels on lots of different features, like social factor, cleanliness, safety, location, ETC… so if a hostel is super cheap but it has a good hostel world rating, trust the rating and save your pennies! 

The average amount to spend on a hostel per night in Asia would roughly be about £3.50. Obviously this varies on location, but you can even get brilliant hostels in the centre of Hanoi, Vietnam or Ho Chi Minh for £2.50 a night, so don’t get ripped off! 

What are the most important must-haves in hostels?

AIR CON! If you’re travelling Asia you really need air con. It may seem like a good idea at the time when an air con room is 50p more a night, but trust me, in 40 degree heat you need a space to cool down and relax. The one time we booked a room without air con, after the first 10 minutes of arriving we were already upgrading. 

SECURITY RATING! Hostel World’s security rating is always important to consider. Some hostels are super tight on not letting any guests back to the dorm rooms, which even though it can be annoying sometimes, it’s a great rule to have in place. This limits annoying sex, but more importantly limits anyone who’s not-so-friendly from entering the rooms. 

INCLUSIVE BREAKFAST! Okay, so this isn’t technically a must-have… but it’s such a great bonus when you’re travelling! You rarely get the option to cook for yourself, and eating out for lunch and dinner is lovely, but sometimes you want to roll out of bed to a delicious breakfast without having to worry about leaving the hostel. 

WIFI! This is important. It is unlikely (unless you have bought a sim card) that you will be able to use any data when you’re travelling without extortionate costs. It is super important to have wifi at your hostel so you can plan your days, book your travel, and update  family and friends around the world of your whereabouts. The majority of hostels now do offer wifi, but it’s always good to check (and do check out reviews to see if the wifi works). 


Why Hostels? Why not Hotels or Air BnB’s?

There is something about a hostel atmosphere that no hotel or Air BnB could beat. Everyone staying in hostels is staying there to make friends, and today it’s not often you are surrounded by people avidly looking to be super friendly and make friends. It is a wonderful experience and you can meet like-minded travellers who can turn out to be life-long friends. I still, 3 years later, make plans with people all around the world that I first met in hostels. 

We stayed in an Air BnB once or twice during a three month trip. If you’re getting tired, or it’s all getting a bit overwhelming (which is natural), then a one or two night stay in a nice hotel or Air BnB is a real treat. But we soon missed the camaraderie and fun that hostels offer. They are cheap, exciting and normally in the best locations!


We hope our guide to staying in hostels has helped you feel more comfortable with the idea. There are some truly brilliant hostels out there to explore, so get onto Hostel World now and start browsing for your next adventure! Check out the hostels we use for our South East Asia trips here.



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