Backpacker Hostels are awesome places to stay for travellers of all ages and backgrounds, and with so much to offer, there’s a reason why they are so popular.

It’s not all about the decent prices that you can snap up to help

tips on staying in a backpacker hostel for the first time

stretch your budget out on other things either (although that’s pretty cool), because most hostel owners know that backpacker hostel reviews will ultimately help them make more money, therefore, it’s in their interests to offer them the best experience they can.

If this is your first trip away and you’ve yet to stay in a hostel, then you will want to pick up on some of the top tips to prepare yourself before arriving. This will give you a nice head’s up and let you transition smoothly upon arrival.

What is a hostel?

By definition, hostels are a type of accommodation that has basic and limited amenities and facilities at a minimum cost.  In comparison with a hotel, hostels don’t have the same amenities, services and facilities that you would expect from a hotel.

Backpacker hostels are incredibly popular for budget and young travellers. The dynamic trend of the hospitality industry transformed the hostel niche to cater and attract a great chunk of clientele who would love to save money on accommodation while travelling.

What is your accommodation budget?

Kicking things off, we’re looking at the budget. There’s been a notable spike in ‘flashpacking‘ and as such hostel owners have made changes to accommodate this kind of tourist, it can also result in higher prices when it comes to paying to stay in a hostel, so bear this in mind.


Having the reassurance that a more upmarket hostel can offer; maybe you’re apprehensive about where you’re staying, can be a good thing for fresh travellers.

However, if you’re travelling is more money-focused and your bank account doesn’t necessarily allow for the fancy hostels, then don’t even look at those high-end hostels and only look at what you can afford. There really is something for everyone, so don’t worry.

Location, location, location 

When choosing where you want to stay, a hostel on the outskirts of the city isn’t really going to be the wisest option if you want to party, but it’s ideal if you want to enjoy the benefits of quiet settings and general tranquillity.

Travel maps

The same can be said if you look at it the other way; if you’re not in the heart of the action, but you want to experience the hustle and bustle of the night-life then by all means book a city centre-based hostel. If you want those early nights to get up and sightsee, etc., then consider your location.

What do you want from the hostel?

 What we mean by this is, do you want to book a hostel for just a couple of days or do you plan to arrive and stay for an extended period? If it’s the latter, then you are going to be better suited to booking a hostel that can provide you with services like a travel desk and daily/nightly activities too.

Additionally, this kind of hostel is super for travellers wanting to acquaint themselves with more like-minded backpackers, and if you happen to be a solo traveller these hostels can be a very simple and hassle-free way of making new friends.

If the things we’ve just mentioned aren’t of relevance to you, and you are, in fact, looking for a hostel that can provide you with a place to unwind and chill out, then look up one that gives you some of your own space. Also, seek out a hostel that won’t have you booked into the sharing dorm rooms that are always bursting with noise and excited, alcohol-fuelled backpackers!

Do some review checking

It’s always well worth checking out a few review sites like TripAdvisor before you book your hostel. This is so that you can read honest opinions from people who can give you some good insight into the place, the people and the what’s on offer nearby.

Don’t forget though that there is always going to be some kind of imperfection; it’s a hostel; after all, so there will always be some negative responses. But, if a place only had positive feedback then that would seem a bit fishy anyway, wouldn’t it?

Stick to what you know 

If you travel to countries such as Australia and New Zealand, you see that there are a number of hostels that are chain brands. Basically, this means that you are going to get pretty much the same kind of service no matter where you stay.

As this is the case if you like what they had to provide you when you stayed then you can stick with that company when you stay in a different location, which can ease the hassle when you book up again.

You can twist too!

On the flip side of the coin to the previous point, if you weren’t overly impressed with the place you stayed in, there is absolutely nothing wrong with changing where you choose to stay.

You must remember that you are the paying customer, so if something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to have it addressed, or to simply move hostel because you don’t want to stay somewhere that is going to dampen your experience.

Now that we’ve covered off the things to consider when staying in a backpacker hostel and hostel culture.

We’re going to give you some tips for staying in hostels (when you are physically in the hostel!).

Stick to these and you’ll be A-Okay!

Show respect at all times

Respect comes as a basic requirement at all times when you’re staying in a hostel and you should always adhere to the rules of the accommodation when you’re staying there.

This isn’t to say that you can’t let loose and enjoy yourself, you just don’t want to be ‘that person’ who lets themselves down and becomes the person the other backpackers wished would hurry up and leave!

Food is not fair game

Lots of hostels have kitchens and kitchens have food in them. if you want to remain in everyone’s good books, do not even consider helping yourself to anyone else’s food that is being kept in the kitchen.

This really is just common courtesy, but when people have been drinking and there’s food… Well, you know what it’s like, so just be mindful not to go on kitchen raids or you’ll find yourself in trouble.

Help to keep the place clean

Just as we hope you would do in your own home, it’s really important to keep on top of any mess that you make and ensure you clear up after yourself at all times.

All spaces are shared spaces, and therefore, YOU, just like all the other people there, have a duty to respect the fact that you can’t leave stuff all over the shop. So, from rubbish to leftovers from lunch to your personal belongings, it all needs to be taken care of and kept tidy.

Think about your noise levels

This is quite a tricky subject as hostels usually have people coming and going at all times of the day and night. It’s a real mixed bag because travellers are, well, travelling, and as such, you won’t all be getting up and coming in like an office 9-5 job.

It’d be silly for people to expect you to tiptoe around in the daytime as there’s an unwritten rule that during the day, dorms are fair game for noise and whatever else. However, once the time reaches 10/11pm, that’s your cue to make sure that you’re lowering the noise levels in the dorms because people need their sleep.

Sleep is paramount to be able to function normally and without it people are unable to rest, recover, maintain good moods, and also stay well, both physically and mentally, so don’t be the reason why people become ill or have a black mark on their time away, it’s not fair.

Dorms are for sleeping, so if it’s a late night chat after a few beers that you’re after, head off to another room and yap away, that way you can leave the snoozers, complete with earplugs and eye masks to sleep soundly.

Having said that, in the dorms that hold larger numbers of people, it’s nigh-on-impossible to experience utter silence during the night-time, but everyone staying in there should already have a fair understanding of this anyway.

Be prepared with bags that behave

Listening to other people pack their belongings up in anticipation of a departure is annoying enough, but this goes under the category of the basic hostel culture. However, if you want to be a considerate soul, don’t start rustling your plastic bags when you’re packing up your stuff.

Those types of bags make an exceptional amount of noise and if you ask any seasoned traveller, the sound of plastic bags really do grate on others. You’ll more than likely get a call from someone shouting over at you if you don’t heed this warning.

To avoid getting yelled at, simply pack up your plastic bags the night before you set off and you’ll save the abuse while also being slightly more prepared to leave too, so it’s a win-win situation and everyone can remain a happy traveller.

Just by following these travel tips of hostel etiquette and understanding the hostel culture, you are guaranteed to have a great time in your hostel stay and also save some money while travelling!