Hello everyone! On my last weekend trip I stayed at a really cozy hostel in Banff, Alberta, Canada. It had been almost 5 months since I’d last stayed in a hostel and although it was a pleasant experience, I had completely forgotten to pack a few of my favourite hostel essentials. So in the midst of my struggles, I vowed to write a post the moment I could outlining my hostel essentials (both so that you can them use during your trip, and so I can refer back to this when I’m packing for one my next one).
Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, this makes sneaking around your hostel rooms while others sleep much easier. Plus, say you want to do a sunrise hike – you’ve got a headlamp to illuminate your trail!
Word Combination Lock
Similar to the above, when you’re trying to be extra quiet rummaging around your hostel room it helps to have an easy to open lock. Personally, I’m terrible at the traditional combination locks. I end up getting frustrated and it’s never a good time. I’m also reluctant to use a key padlock because I’m worried I’ll lose the key and then where will I be. So I now use a Word Combination Lock (if you’re not sure what that is you can check out a word combination lock here).
Packing cubes aren’t just helpful for fitting way more clothing into your backpack than should be physically possible. If I’ll be staying at a hostel for multiple days, I find packing cubes are super helpful for keeping my stuff organized. I keep a packing cube for:
- Socks, bras and underwear
- Casual clothing
- Hiking clothing
- Sweaters / going out clothing
- Miscellaneous stuff
- Dirty clothing
That way when I’m at the hostel, I only need to get out the clothing that I actually think I’ll need. The rest can stay packed. Here are some additional tips for choosing and organizing packing cubes.
Metal Wire or Chain
I don’t really know what these are officially called, but one came with my PacSafe backpack (until it got lost oops) and it came in handy when I was staying in hostels that didn’t have lockers. I put the wire around the bed frame (or anything large and fixed) and then through my backpack straps. I closed the lock around my zippers and the wire and everything was very secure.
Eye Mask (or a Buff)
I always try to travel with an eye mask, but I very often for get or misplace it. (In fact, I am currently in this situation. I swear I packed it!) In it’s place, I fold my buff over like it’s a headband and place it over my eyes. I’ll admit that it takes some getting used to, and I’m recommend a sleep mask over it. But if for some reason you find yourself without one, a buff does the trick. This is also one of the things I consider to be an essential for long haul flights.
Noise Canceling Headphones
These are a new addition to my hostel packing list. I originally got them for making flights more peaceful, but now I find them helpful for hostels (especially when my hostel is a little on the rowdy side). They’re a little bulky, but I think totally worth it (there are even in-ear noise canceling headphones now that are way less bulky). They’re also pricey, but this would make an excellent gift for traveling, so maybe add it to the wish list!
If you’re staying in hostels, I’ll assume you’re doing at least some of your own cooking. One thing I’ve found to be helpful is to pack a bunch of spices in little bags so that I don’t have to buy them in containers at the grocery store. This saves both space and money!
Flip Flops (for more than just the shower!)
Yes, flip flops are great for hostel showers. However, I’ve also found them to be nice for just walking around the hostel. After a full day of exploring a city or hiking a trail, I always want to get my boots off as soon as I possibly can. Flip flops mean I don’t have to put the boots back on when I’m going to make food. Also, they’re relatively easy to pack.
I like to have as few things, and the smallest backpack, as possible with me in the hostel. That means I only bring the bare essentials when it comes to clothing (have you noticed it looks like I’m always wearing the same thing in my photos – it’s because I am!). That said, there are a ton of great resources online for how to create your own minimalist travel wardrobe that are way more stylish than what I achieve!
Ever had to put wet clothing or gear into your suitcase or backpack? I have and unless you have something to put them in, it’s really uncomfortable. I’m currently on the hunt for a sustainable substitution for plastic bags, but at this time, I typically keep a few plastic grocery bags in my backpack.
International adapter with USB ports
When there’s multiple people sharing a room, electrical outlets are at a premium and you’ll likely only get to use one at any given time. I use an adapter that has a regular three prong socket (for either my camera or my laptop) and two USB ports (for my phone and my power bank). Even when I’m traveling within North America I use it because it’s so handy.
In all the travel tips research I have done, I have never seen someone recommend a carabiner and that seriously astounds me! I ALWAYS have a carabiner on me. Want to attach your water bottle or shoes to your backpack? Carabiner. Worried about losing the keys to your rental car? Carabiner. Need to hang up bathing suit but don’t have a close line? I swear by it, use carabiner! Literally the most versatile piece of metal you will ever owned. You also don’t need one of the massive, fancy, expensive ones for it to be sturdy and effective. I have a few of these Black Diamond ones and I think they work wonderfully.
Have you used any of these tips? What would you add?