Sunday, 10 April 2016

Guest Post: How to make a hostel feel more like a home

Hostels are great for travelling on a budget. They can save you a ton of money as well as provide you with a truly unique experience along the way. While they are fantastic for meeting new friends and getting to know people from different cultures all around the world, hostelling is not ideal for all.

Big, shared dorms and constantly changing roommates can make things seem impersonal and alien for those of us who value our home comforts. Fortunately, with the right advice and a bit of creativity, you can easily customise your hostel experience to turn it into a home away from home.

Personalise your space

Everyone  feels better when they have familiar things around them, particularly when they're in an unfamiliar situation. In a hostel you aren't given much personal space – usually just a bed and sometimes a locker, if you're lucky. So making the most of what you have is paramount. Try sticking up pictures of loved ones back home or souvenirs from favourite trips. You could even swap the bedding for some of your own or bring a teddy bear along if you have one that would enjoy the ride! Sure you may seem a little crazy to some, but coming back from that long hiking excursion or day trip, and getting to crash out surrounded by your favourite things is an opportunity not worth passing up.

Get to know your new family

One of the best parts of any hostel experience is the people you meet. There's bound to be an eclectic range of unique and fascinating individuals for you to get to know. Making friends with those sharing your room, as well as the rest of the hostellers and staff, has uncountable benefits. Not only will you feel more comfortable in your new environment, it will also be easier to solve disputes and address sensitive issues – such as your bunkmate's horrific snoring!

There are many easy ways that you can make friends: pop down to the local market and get ingredients to cook a group meal for everyone or invite them all to a comfy spot for a Netflix marathon. 

Make use of the other rooms

Often hostellers will spend all their time in their rooms resting, choosing to focus their energy on day trips. However, this can immediately make you feel more isolated than you have to be. Many hostels also offer a living room and kitchen, and spending time in these rooms is a great way to make friends and feel more at home. Don't be afraid to take control of the communal television or pull out some pans to create a delicious meal. Once you start interacting with the hostel and making it feel more like a home, it's inevitable that it will end up feeling that way. 

Pick the right one for you

Every hostel has its own identity. Whether it's famed for its bar crawls and great nighttime atmosphere or its family environment, there are bound to be some you love and some you hate. 

Using sites such as Hostelworld is a great way to do the research as you can find in depth descriptions, reviews and lists of facilities to help make a decision. You can choose whether you want a lively atmosphere, strict curfew, environmentally friendly facilities or even a quiet family home. There are so many options out there, and choosing the one you connect with the most will automatically make you feel more comfortable and at home.

Make it cosy

Hostels usually come with the very basics – a pillow and a thin blanket. Not only does this not feel homely, it can also leave you feeling uncomfortable and often cold. Even in the warmest of places there's potential for things to get a bit chilly at night, or for a fellow room member to crank up the air conditioner so high that it feels like you're in the artic. 

Whether you opt to throw a sleeping bag liner or choose to go for an all-out duvet, having that extra bit of cosiness is the perfect addition to help make your hostel feel more like a home.  

There are so many hostel options around the world, and with such a great opportunity for saving, there's no reason to miss out on the experience. These few simple changes can transform your stay and might even convert you to a hostel lover for life! If you have any other tips to make a hostel feel more like a home, then be sure to leave a comment below and share your advice with others...

Note: This post was written by Jess Signet. If you liked it you can read more over on Jess's blog, Tripelio. Don't forget to also check out my own piece Hostel 101 for even more budget travel advice.

Traveller days X



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