Staying in a Hostel: The Travelers Guide to Navigating Hostel Living

Traveling on the cheap often means staying in hostels. This can be great if you’re a social bug, love getting to know strangers, are bursting to share your travel experiences, and adore making international friends. Staying in hostels comes with its own rule book, though. From navigating the social lounge, getting on with other lodgers, and feeling comfortable in staying in different places; staying in hostels isn’t always easy-peasy. So, below, I’ll give you some of the best tips for ice breaker questions, making friends, navigating shared facilities, and making your stays in hostels as comfy as can be. Let’s get stuck in!


Ice Breaker Questions

If you’re the social type, which is a given if you’re a hostel-style traveler, you’ll need some good conversation starters and ice breaker questions to open those doors to friendship.

Of course, there are always the basic questions travelers get asked: where have you just been? Where are you going next? Where are you from? Those questions, as a traveler, are the ones you’ll constantly be asked. But, the best questions to ask when you’re staying in a hostel, are fewer questions and are more like statements.

After initial introductions and basic questions are done, if they seem to be happy to talk, try this to get the conversation going. To really get someone drawn into a conversation, first, share a small story about your recent experiences while traveling – did something funny happen to you while you were trekking? Do you have an embarrassing story from the last hostel you stayed in? Maybe there’s something you’re a little confused about, could you ask for their advice on the topic?

There’s nothing like opening up to someone else to get them engaged in a conversation. Seriously, try it!


Making friends

You can meet some of the best people on your travels, and making life-long friends, or even friends for that moment, is all part of the traveling experience. To really help solidify some of those connections you’ve made, try spending time with some of the people you’ve met:

  • Are they staying in the area for some of the time you are? Could your group together and do some sight-seeing?
  • Are you traveling in the same direction for a while? Could you travel together?
  • Is there a local bar or restaurant you could all visit together?
  • There are so many things you can do to make the memory of, that ‘person-you-met-at-a-hostel’, too, that ‘friend-you-made-while-traveling’.


Alone Time

While it’s great to get to know people, it’s also very important to protect your personal time. Staying in communal and share accommodation can get tiring after a while, so it’s important to also find some space for yourself, too

Bringing a new or favorite book can be a great way to wind down and make some personal time for yourself. Sometimes traveling can get a little stressful, or homesickness can kick in; reading is a great way to escape from the escape, and recuperate. Going for a walk in the evening around the local area of your hostel is also a great way to take a break from the space of the hostel.

Alone time can be sobering, and might just be what was needed after all that social time.



Hygiene while traveling is very important, and is even more so when staying in hostels. Here are some quick tips for hostel hygiene:


When you’re using communal showering spaces, it’s integral that you wear flip-flops to protect yourself. This can stop you from getting foot infections such as verrucas and fungal infections.

Collapsible caddy

Keeping your hygiene products off the shower floors and bathroom surfaces also protects you from any germs that are around. Having a collapsible caddy lets you do this.

Toothbrush case

A toothbrush case is so, so important. Not only does this keep your toothbrush clean while it’s packed in your bag, but it also means you’re not putting your toothbrush on any unclean surfaces and then putting it into your mouth.

There you have it! Travelling can be a great and fun experience, and now you’re a little more prepared for hostel living than you were before.

Staying in a Hostel: The Travelers Guide to Navigating Hostel Living

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About The Author
- Pauline Davies is a professional content writer with over 12 years of experience in this industry. With her vast experience is has almost all the inside knowledge of the hotel industry