Hot answers tagged

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 ...


50

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

Towels are 50/50 possible, depening on country and hostel. More hostels will rent towels, sometimes at a nominal price. One hostel I worked in in Australia used to provide free towels but we discovered we were often paying overtime to our laundry staff because people would use many towels just because they were free! We introduced a $1 fee per towel, ...


31

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

Well I'm a bit of a sub-expert on this, having worked nine years in the hostelling industry and encountering them as a traveller once in India. There's a bit of a dirty little secret in the hospitality industry about just how bad the bed bug problem has been for the past few years. Apparently all the big/expensive hotel chains have been having problems - it'...


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

Liking a hostel experience for a first-timer depends a lot on being prepared for what you're getting into. Whenever I've stayed with friends who are novice travellers or seen bad reviews from newbie hostellers for otherwise-great hostels, it has often been a case of them expecting something and then finding their preconceptions incorrect. Hostelling gets a '...


22

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

Well one website did an investigation into this, and found: Garden Village Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia Which has beds for US$1 per night. To quote: But, there’s a catch… The $1 dorm beds are in a thatched-roof hut that is partially open to the elements. It appears that you do get a mattress, pillow, towel, and even a mosquito net, but ...


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

Cheapest I've come across anywhere in my travels was Utopia Guesthouse in Sihanookville, Cambodia. There you can stay in their dorm room for FREE (yup, costs nothing), or I think i paid $4 for a private room there. Don't get much cheaper than that! it's a pretty fun place to stay too, if you're into the party-type vibe. Actually, just looked them up, seems ...


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

Almost always, you bring your own, however... Hostel sites like Hostelbookers often indicate whether or not items like towels are available for rent, or provided. Some I've seen will sell toothpaste and deodorant and the like. Personally, I bring a towel and toiletries, and almost always I've needed them. It's generally a surprise when I don't.


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

It occurs to me that I've only ever stayed in one hostel in the US, and it was a 17 bed dorm of hell with a Russian snoring in it. Which is pretty much like every other hostel around the world ;) To be fair, I've been in a lot of hostels, some are good, some are bad, but for the most part they follow a similar pattern - dorms with bunks and a basic ...


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

30 Pounds are just 38 Swiss Franks. This isn't really a lot of money in Switzerland, so I don't think you will find anything that is really a lot of cheaper. Additionally, Geneva is one of the most expensive cities in Switzerland if not in the whole World. To make it worse, Geneva is the domicile of a lot of big organizations like for example UN, CERN, ICRC,...


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

There's little you can do, apart from the obvious, depending how thorough you want to be: Check the photos - see if it shows the dorms and the layout Check the reviews, hopefully you left a review about it, and others may have too. Email them - ask the layout of the room and any other suitable questions. Or even call them - a friendly chat will also let you ...


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 ...


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