Hot answers tagged

60

Go home if you can! If you are travelling in your country of residence, go home and self-isolate there. If travel restrictions make this impossible, contact the relevant authorities for advise. Usually there are some exemptions for essential travel, and travelling from a potentially crowded hostel to your home may well count as valid travel. If you are ...


58

In places that I've felt to be a bit dodgier than usual I have done a few things: Sleep in shorts with a pocket and keep the key in my pocket. Thread the key onto a string and wear it around my neck. Put the key and other valuables inside my pillowcase / pillowslip. A good way to not forget your valuables are in your pillowcase is to also stash your ...


55

Many phones have a silent, vibration only mode as part of the regular alarms. A cheap Fitbit Flex band will do that too. If a vibrating alarm isn't enough, you can get a wristband that delivers electric shocks to wake up, such as the Pavlok wristband (store): At first, it will act like any other alarm clock, with a gentle vibration to get you up. But if ...


53

Some Stats I ran some stats for you (from our data on Hostelz.com, a travel website that I represent) and currently 97% of hostels provide free bedsheets, and the remaining 3% charge a fee. Towels are a different matter. Currently 50.5% of hostels include free towels, 46.9% charge a fee, and 2.6% don't offer towels at all. The History Over the long ...


51

I'm posting this as a representative of Hostelz.com. There definitely are some very different types of hostels, and it's always a shame when people end up in the wrong type of hostel for them. If you're using Hostelz.com, on the city page look for a drop-down menu that says "Suitable For" (just under the booking form at the top of the page). You can use ...


43

I worked in a variety of hotels and hostels when I was a young backpacker and student. The simple answer is that it comes down to availability of rooms (or beds if you're staying in a dormitory). Most hotels will post a check-in time of around noon to give them time to get at least some some rooms ready for the earlier arrivals, but even that should never ...


42

Personally I use the pillowcase method. Small torch, asthma inhaler, old phone I use as an alarm/music player (vibrate wakes me, doesn't wake anyone else, best ever), and locker key, all fit into a corner leaving the rest for me to use. Anyone wants in and they're going to need to physically move me and I'm not going to sleep through that. A quick trick, ...


40

Don't take it personally, that happens in other countries as well. It's not common, but there are hostels in the US, Canada, and Europe that don't allow people from their own country to stay there. So if it makes you feel any better, there are U.S. hostels that will happily accept you, but not a U.S. citizen. I ran into that once myself when I wanted to ...


32

You should not feel self conscious about having to wake up early. We've all had to do this at some point during our (backpacking) travels, hence you can expect people to be tolerant about your early bird alarm. Having said this there are a few unwritten rules you should respect when having to get up early in the morning in a shared hostel room: Place your ...


26

Immediately turn off your alarm after you're awake. So, keep the alarm very close to your ears, under or next to your cushion, or perhaps above your head, if your hostel bed allows for that. And find the lowest sound level that wakes you.


23

I had this same issue with a hostel in the UK. I pressed the hostel for an explanation, and also found a forum thread of hostel managers discussing this policy. Both gave the same explanation. From their point of view, it was so they could take the money out my account if I didn't show up. They said they do it only in busy periods when they know they'll be ...


19

Sometimes you pay per-night for the bed, but per-stay for the bedding. So if you stay for 3 nights and reuse the same bedding you will only get charged once for the bedding. The separate charging then makes sense, as they are charging you the cost of washing the bedding. (EasyHotel operates a bit like this, in that you have to pay for your bedding to be ...


18

How about using a motion alarm app such as this Android one. Then you either put the key inside the back cover if it will fit, or just tape it to the phone if it won't. If anyone tries to move or take your phone, the alarm will go off and hopefully wake you up. If you're scared of accidentally waking lots of people up, you could perhaps put a similar alarm ...


17

As someone who travelled a lot and stayed in many hostels let me say I also saw similar behaviour in many places, not only hostels but also on buses and at tourist sites. This is not limited to South America, but also happens in South East Asia and India. When speaking to Israelis who travel alone and are usually a little bit older they confirmed my ...


17

Practically every hotel I've had experience with (and the vast majority are budget hotels or hostels) permit an early check in if the room is ready. If it's not, they'll usually have no problem holding your bags for you until the room is ready, so you can drop off your things and go get lunch or see the town in the mean time. If you're ever in a situation ...


17

This "feature" is called a "Security locker" or "In-room safe" (the latter usually being available in proper hotels, not hostels). You can filter based on that parameter on Hostelworld, for example: Usually the lockers will look something like this: They're divided into several types, ranging in their level of security: In-room safes, a metal box built ...


16

The answer is 'it depends' - on the type of smoke detector an how close the smoker is to the alarm, how much vapor is produced etc. For the optical sensor type firealarms here is a demonstration they can be set off by vapor - while here is one that demonstrates they're not. I.e. depends on how much vapor you have and how often it is blown into the detector. ...


16

You can also get a vibrating alarm, which you can find in stores selling goods for hearing-impaired people.


15

Heck, if I arrive in my destination, I'm checking in. Hostel, B&B, hotel, never had a problem. Generally the only issue is that the room may not be ready. No problem, most of them have a place to store your bags, and then I'm free to explore the city or do whatever I wanted to do, and then come back later on and go to my room. The only time it was ...


14

I've found that reviews help, but also that on most hostel review sites, they'll mention ratings of 'atmosphere'. If that's a high rating, odds are good that it's a party hostel. Also if they mention group tours or cheap drinks, or have a bar inside (although I've seen exceptions to that last one).


13

It very much depends on the hostel. Some provide amazing kitchens with multiple ovens, fridges and every utensil you can imagine. Others require a cash deposit to use pots, cutlery etc. Generally, no, you don't need to bring if it's a highly rated hostel on hostelbookers or hostelworld - read the reviews and if there's a "great kitchen" comment, it's a ...


13

You're confused: requiring the expiration date and the 3- or 4-digit code at the back has nothing to do with being a “US credit card”. Girocard is a German payment network. It can only be used to pay for things in Germany. You can't use it in other countries, European or otherwise. Many Girocard cards are simultaneously Maestro or V PAY cards. Those are ...


13

Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your stomach might also work. Avoid sleeping on your back at any rate. Sometimes if I sleep on my stomach I get circulation problems to various areas of my body that I don't seem to get any other time. This never happens when sleeping on my side however. Also keep an eye on yourself. If you notice at any point that you've ...


13

While I was Hostel hopping through Europe, I obtained an mp3 player arm band that was silly large (free too). It was big enough for me to put around my upper leg and hold on to my key and phone while not being too uncomfortable...kept everything safe and unless someone was willing to go under my blanket in search of it, it wasn't being found. I also ...


12

I've spent my entire career (16 years so far) in hotels, and whether it is uncouth or not depends on your approach. The hotel where I work currently has a 3PM check in time (and an 11:00 check out time.) It's not unusual for people to show up at 9:00 and throw a fit if they can't check in yet. THAT is uncouth, as if they expect us to throw people out early ...


12

Yes and no. Yes, because the 10% deposit they charge indeed goes to Hostelbookers.com, not the hotel. (See this thread.) No, because you, the backpacker, don't pay any extra. You can pay (say) $20 to book via HW, in which case HW takes $2 and the hostel keeps $18, or you can pay $20 to the hostel directly and they keep all of it. I presume HW insists on ...


12

The main difference between a hotel and a hostel is that a hostel has dorm rooms (exclusively, or in addition to private rooms). I spent a month in Iran in May 2014 and I did stay in some dorm rooms in Yadz, Shiraz and Isfahan. Still those places felt more like hotels as the majority of the rooms were private and they didn't have a kitchen for guests. Still ...


12

Transportation and getting around wise, your best bet would be to stay somewhere near the Termini train station. That is where the long haul trains arrive, and you are pretty much 10-20 minutes away from pretty much every major attraction. Being close to the Termini station can be helpful if you plan to go/come from Florence, or Civitavecchia, where the ...


12

Put the key under your bed's leg, it will keep it safe, unless you're such a deep sleeper that someone could steal your bed without you noticing. That's what I do whenever I have to stay in an hotel room or places alike, obviously I'm talking about a regular key, just lift the bed and put the key under one of the bed's leg, it's safer if you use one of the ...


12

The thing about my credit card: it has the credit card number and the CCV on the same side. Is that legally even allowed? Storing the CVV field after authorization (in any format, encrypted or not) is not permitted under The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Sensitive authentication data must never be stored after authorization – even if this ...


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