Hello friends! I am going to dedicate this post on my experiences of staying in hostels while traveling. I realized that Americans have a harder time than Europeans understanding the concept of how a hostel environment work. The questions I usually get goes something like “You mean… you have to share a room with a bunch of people you don’t even know?!” “But, how can you be sure that your stuff won’t get stolen?” “Aren’t you afraid you would end up being stuck in a room with a roommate from hell?”
Those are all reasonable questions to ask! I mean, can you really trust a bunch of strangers to not do anything sketchy while you’re sleeping or out of the room exploring? Here is a bit of honesty.
So… you shared a room with people you didn’t know?
Yep, that happened. I tried to keep it to a 4 bed maximum when I am sharing a room just because I don’t want it to get too crazy. When booking a hostel, most hostels give you the option to either book a room with only one specific gender or female/male mix. I have never slept in a mixed room before.
One thing that I looked for when booking a hostel room is if it was ensuite, meaning if the room had a bathroom in it. If the room is 6 people or less, it’s more likely that the room will have a bathroom that you have to share with only the people in your room. If it is 8 people or more, you’ll be sharing a bathroom with everyone else on the same floor. That is when you have to carry all your toiletries and clothes and walk down the hall to brush your teeth, take a shower, and do your business.
Some hostels have private rooms and some have rooms that can accommodate up to 20 people.
Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
Nope. I carry all my valuables on me. Plus, I don’t travel with anything expensive. Just buy a lock for your suitcase if you’re afraid that someone will go through your stuff. You can also rent out a locker to put your valuables in if your hostel doesn’t provide a free locker in the room.
Have you ever had to share with a crazy person?
Nope. Thankfully I never had an obnoxious roommate during my travel! *knock on wood* The most annoying thing that ever happened was when someone left the light on and everyone was trying to go to bed. Other than that, I was the drunk girl that had to climb over people to get my bed on top bunk. Oops, sorry!
How do you meet people at hostels?
The people you share a room with will most likely be just as weary about you as you are about them. Just introduce yourself and make chit chat to break the ice. Most people at hostels are very friendly and eager to interact so right away you’ll feel welcomed.
The hostel I stayed at in Barcelona organized a free walking tour. I met so many fun people that day from all over globe!
Utilizing the kitchen and communal social room is another great way to meet people. Some hostels have pool tables, organized pub crawls, pizza parties, and other activities to get people together.
The hostel I stayed at in Barcelona had a beautiful, inviting space for travelers to meet.
What site did you used to book the hostels?
I booked all my hostels through Hostelworld.com The site is super easy to use and each hostel has ratings and reviews from the guests. The reviews are pretty accurate. Some hostels are party hostels while others are meant for a more quiet atmosphere. I tend to book a place based on its location within the city. Always stay at a place that isn’t in a bad neighborhood, closer to all the things you want to do or see, near public transportation, and comfortable for you!
My advice to you?
Each and everyone of us will have a different experience while staying at a hostel due to uncontrollable circumstances. Just remember that this is a part of your adventure. You will be meeting and living with people from all different types of culture, traditions, and beliefs. Be flexible, tolerant, and have the best time ever!