5 Tips for Staying Safe in a Youth Hostel Abroad
There are a lot of people who are weary when it comes to staying in youth hostels abroad. But, it can be an awesome experience when you’re educated on youth hostel safety and know how to find the right place for you.
When you’re on your trip abroad, you’ll want a place to come “home” to after a long day to relax and rejuvenate without worrying whether your safety is in jeopardy. Here are a few tips for youth hostel safety that you will want to know about before you set out on your adventure!
1. Know Before you Go
DO YOUR RESEARCH. The best thing you can do for yourself before booking a hostel is to browse options, read reviews, and don’t book the first one you come across.
There are so many different youth hostels to choose from, and some may be super great while others are not. There are some hostels that will advertise an amazing location and fantastic services, but they could be lying just to get you to book with them.
This is where it becomes extremely important to read reviews. If the hostel has bad reviews, you obviously wouldn’t want to stay there. It’s also a red flag when you can’t find any reviews at all on a hostel. If this happens they most likely aren’t great, but they want customers so they don’t provide a place for reviews.
Another huge factor in youth hostel safety is making sure that the location is a safe one. There are some youth hostels in sketchy places that you would definitely not want to find yourself in at night, or any time of the day really. Research the locations that the hostels advertise and make sure that it is in a safe place. Make sure it’s located where you would feel comfortable coming back to after a long day of exploring and sightseeing.
2. Keep Your Belongings Safe
If you decide to stay in a hostel, chances are you’ll be sharing a room with multiple people. All those people will be complete strangers if you’re traveling alone. While you can make lasting friendships with these strangers, be careful to make sure your belongings are safe.
Many hostels will provide lockers for you to store your things. It’s smart to bring your own padlock for extra safety and insurance that your belongings will be safe while you’re away. Whether you’re out on an excursion or showering down the hall, lock up your belongings!
Although your roommates could end up being some of your best friends, they could also end up wanting to steal your stuff. It’s better to keep it locked up than take any chances. Another thing you can do to be extra safe is to hide your valuables. It’s totally understandable that you need to use your phone, tablet, or laptop (especially when the hostel offers free Wi-Fi), but try to keep these items discreet or out of sight so people don’t know you have them. This way, they won’t try to steal them.
Another important youth hostel safety tip to remember is to keep your identity safe. Lock up your ID and passport! Sleep with them under your pillow or lock them in a backpack, but don’t leave these items out in the open where everyone can see them. It would be a total bummer to have your ID stolen while you’re staying abroad. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
3. Choose the Right Room for YOU
One of the most important youth hostel safety tips is to make sure you choose a room that you will feel comfortable and safe in. Most hostels offer same-sex or co-ed rooms. These range anywhere from a private room up to 20 people sharing a room. It’s important that you choose a room that you feel comfortable sleeping and living in.
Many women traveling alone choose to stay in all-female rooms. But, if you feel like you’ll be safe in a co-ed room with a lot of people then that is fine too. This is a personal decision where you have to decide for yourself what would be best for you.
Make sure you know your options and decide what is best based on your personal safety needs, not on what option will be more fun. Chances are you’ll have fun either way! But, I can almost guarantee it won’t be fun if you don’t feel safe in your environment.
4. Bring Your Own…
There are a few things that you will definitely need to bring along to ensure your youth hostel safety in regards to your health. Chances are your hostel will provide sheets. But, it’s always smart to bring your own in case the sheets haven’t been washed in a while. The hostel usually won’t, however, provide towels, shampoo, soap, or other toiletries that you will need. You’ll need to bring those with you.
Also, BRING SHOWER SHOES!!! I can’t stress this enough. You definitely don’t want to pick up any bacteria or fungus from showering in a shared shower. You don’t know where your roommates have been or what kind of foot fungus they might have!
It’s also a good idea to take some vitamins and hand sanitizer with you. If someone is sick, you’re in close quarters and there’s a good chance you’ll end up sick too. Another tip to prevent discomfort is to bring ibuprofen or tylenol with you in just in case you need it. If you do happen to get sick, be respectful of others and try to keep your space as clean as you can. Try your best to keep your germs away from your roommates because no one wants to get sick while on an adventure abroad!
5. Trust Your Instincts
If you’re researching a hostel or show up to one and you get a feeling that something is wrong, it most likely is. Don’t ignore that gut feeling that tells you to get out! This can result in a bad or even unsafe experience if you do. Just remember to use your common sense and good judgment when you’re researching, and make sure you research everything.
You might find a place that you feel totally awesome about and that’s great! But, if the whole idea of staying in a hostel makes you feel uncomfortable, it may not be the best place for you and that is fine. Youth hostel safety is so important. It can make or break your trip, so don’t do anything that you don’t feel right about!
Staying in a hostel can be an awesome experience if you’re educated on youth hostel safety and if you do your research to find the best place for you. There are some very real concerns that people have about staying in hostels. Stolen items, health issues, and unsafe surroundings and areas are some of the main ones. You can manage some of these risks with travel insurance.
But, if you do your research on tons of different places and find one that fits you and that you feel good about, staying in a hostel can be an incredible experience where you can save money, meet lifelong friends and make lasting memories.