I love a luxury hotel, who doesn’t! However, when I decided to book this last minute trip to Greece, I needed to save money. It didn’t help that I had waited until the last minute to book everything either. In the end, I decided to book a dorm in a hostel. Believe it or not but I have never stayed in a hostel dorm! I have only ever stayed in a private room in a hostel.
My biggest fear about staying in a hostel for the first time was that people would stay out late partying and be loud when they returned. The older I get, the less quality sleep I seem to get, so this was my biggest concern.
Another fear was that the room would be really messy with people’s stuff thrown about. I have seen pictures of some dorm rooms that are scary! I am not neat by any means, but combining a bunch of people’s mess in one room was not appealing to me at all.
My other fear was that my stuff might get stolen. Fortunately, I had only heard of people taking clothes, and while that would not be ideal, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I like to be alone, and I was afraid of having people around all day would drive me mad.
The first night in the hostel dorm, I shared the room with two Swedish girls. They did go out partying, but stayed out all night until way after I was awake! This was due in part to the fact that I still had jet lag and was up before dawn. Most of my other dorm mates were very quiet when they came home and rarely stayed out past midnight.
The first dorm room I stayed in got a bit messy, but not dirty. People seemed to try to keep it under control, and that was appreciated. My second dorm room was much less messy, but the room was tiny, so people kept it neat.
I very quickly learned that none of my dorm mates was going to steal my stuff! They were all just here to have a good time in Greece.
Most of my dorm mates have been gone most of the days so being along hasn’t been an issue. I also got lucky and had two nights to myself the first week. If I really needed a break, I went for a walk or a meal.
Tips for Avoiding these Issues
Avoid party hostels if you want to sleep. You can do research on hostels on Hostelworld. Hostels are usually pretty upfront about being party hostels, and you can always email them to ask. Stay in a smaller dorm room, and that will help eliminate the risk. All my rooms were 4-bed dorm rooms. I also have worn earplugs every night just in case.
Again, I think booking a smaller dorm room might help avoid the mess. I could be totally wrong. Setting a good example by being neat yourself might help as well.
Bring a padlock for the lockers or your suitcase. My hostel in Greece didn’t have lockers, so I just locked my suitcase. They did have a safe in the lobby for valuables.
If people really start to bug you then ask for a private room upgrade. I have been fully prepared to move rooms if I got stuck with someone awful. Also, keep in mind most people are only in a hostel for a few nights, and you may be rid of them before it becomes an issue. Like I said, go for a walk, go for a meal, and get out if needed.
So if you were thinking of avoiding hostels, like I have for 40 years, don’t! Stay in a hostel for the first time, meet new people and save some money. Also, there is such a thing as a five-star hostel!
What are your tips for staying in a hostel?
I never had any experience with hostel but I reading your post got me excited to try it. It looks like it could be a nice experience.
I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would!
What a fantastic summary. Thank you so much for sharing a great detail.
I’ve done some hut hiking in New England and you really have no choice but to stay in dorm style rooms. But lights out at 9 pm is lights out and quiet time in the huts. It doesn’t mean that people won’t still be up, but it does mean that everyone is quiet.
That’s good that they enforce the rules. No rules in this one but everyone was pretty good at trying to be quiet.
I have lived in a hostel as a student. Alone and with room mates. But never tried that when on a travel. I prefer budget places that are safe and clean. My idea of travel is that luxury hotels are way too expensive to spend over them when all I would do there is sleep.
I liked your tips and I can sure try one now.
Two weeks was my limit. Budget was hard to find since it’s the high season right now in Greece. Yay!
In my younger years, I spent two years backpacking so spent many, many nights in hostels! I think that they can be a great experience, especially for meeting people etc as a solo traveller. I think its a great idea to take padlocks to lock up your case if staying in a dorm, fab tip! This was a great post, gives a god insight for people into hostel stays x
Thank you! Many hostels now offer lockers but this one didn’t. Many times you still need your own padlock.
My first taste of hostels was back in 1985 when I solo-backpacked around the world for 12 months. Back then, they weren’t as glamorous. 😉
Thank you! This one was not glamorous but many are now!
Thank you for sharing your experience! I’ve long been planning a vacation abroad and since almost everyone says that hostels are the cheapest I’d probably go for one. Thanks for all the tips! 🙂