14 Amazing Hostel Tips From The Receptionist That Can Make Your Travel Life Easier

by | Jun 11, 2017 | Travel

Being a smart traveller in the 21st century can be such an easy thing. Look at all the resources and inspirations that you can find so easily nowadays. Everything is out there waiting for you to grab it.

Despite that, you still make mistakes, and it seems like a never-ending story. You forget things, realize that you took too many unnecessary stuff instead of choosing just a few – but the important once. But this is how you learn and grow as a traveller and as a person.

Working in hostels for some time already, made me realize how many people either doesn’t know or forget the basic rules of travelling. That is why I want to share with you my hostel tips: from an honest hostel worker for a traveller, This guide  can and will improve your hostel stay, travels and your very own well-being.

Please note that tips below are not only based on my receptionist point of view, but also on my own travels.

Choose the hostel for you – read the descriptions

Here is the golden key to the great hostel experience. Choosing the right hostel. But between so many options how do I pick the correct one?

This is where you need to determine what you expect, what you are looking for and what are your preferences. If you are a more family, chill out type of person than the party hostel might not be for you. I know the price very often determines choices. But sometimes paying those 5€ more can save you from the trouble.

So apart from the prices, take a closer look at the location, photos and the description. Check out the general ranking of the hostel. If you have doubts call the reception and ask for the details so nothing will surprise you at your arrival.

Be nice for the hostel staff = be a cool guest

I know it might sound lame to hear that from actual receptionist but it is proofed that thanks to it, your hostel life improves a lot. Big part of hostel staff are travellers too. And who can know the best spots and tips to share than not the people like yourself? Extending your stay but you want to avoid changing your room? Hopefully if you are liked by the reception staff, they might do tetris magic and save you a trouble 🙂

Say ‘Hi’ 

Seems normal but I experienced far too many ‘whats the password for wi-fi?’ as a response to my greeting. How about changing it to ‘Hi’? Also it is an easy way to start a new conversation with random people in the hostel, and who knows? It might be an introduction to a great friendship!

Oh by the way: “I have a reservation” neither is a good starter. As you walk into the hostel reception I know you either have a reservation or would like to make one.

Report all the issues to the hostel staff

I have this feeling from time to time that you imagine, that as a staff I should know all about the hostel I work in. Including simple things like no toilet paper in you room, or that you might be cold at night because you did not get an extra blanket. So instead of reviewing about it after your trip on Tripadvisor or wherever you would like to, how about passing through the front desk first and sharing all your issues (concerning hostel of course) with the staff. Give us a chance to help and react. I know it all depends from the hostels and the staff that is employed, but in most cases they will be more than willing to help you out (that’s why they are there after all).

Take flip-flops

Sounds trivial but it is always nice to have your own pair of flip-flops so you don’t need to step with your barefoot to the communal bathroom. I usually take a shower in the hostels without flip-flops since I assume it is cleaned every day (and it is in most of the hostels). But yeah it is something useful not only for moving inside the hostel but also around the city-if we talk about the summer days or hotter destinations. But if you stay in the surf hostel…well then you can be excused for not having flip-flops.

Take a fast drying towel

Most of the hostels rent towels to their guests. Ether for a fee or free of charge. But I always recommend to have your own towel – one of those that dries fast. Especially that they do not take a lot of space in your bag and might actually save you from an extra spent.


If you decide to sleep in the shared dormitory it is a very essential tool. Some hostels already give you a padlock but just in case, it is always good to have your own. If you want to secure your things just buy a simple padlock and carry it with you to any hostel that you go.

Ask the staff for tips

I said it before and I will say it once again. We are here to help you and make your hostel (and travel) life easier. So don’t be afraid to ask. As Haruki Murakami wrote in one of his books: “(…)asking questions is embarrassing for a moment, but not asking is embarrassing for a lifetime”.

Power plug adapter (multifunctional)

It is a nice gadget and it might save you from the trouble of searching it in the nearby shops. Ask in the reception if they have a one to borrow.

Leave your sexy pajama at home

This one is directed to girls in the shared dormitory. I’m not suggesting that you will get harassed or anything of that sort. The reason is to make you feel more comfortable, once you sleep in the shared mixed dorm. It is for the best to carry with you the sleeping clothes in which you will feel at ease.

Have I mentioned already how once (no wait! actually few times!) I needed to wake up girls…and they were sleeping totally naked…in the dorm…

(If you want to follow my hostel adventures as a receptionist just click on the picture below!)

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And this once go to guys: no matter how hot your body is please when you walk around the hostel dress up yourself.

Remember that in the shared room you are not alone

Going back late (or early – depending from the point of view) to your room? Note to yourself: not all are party animals like you. Try to be quieter (although after alcohol that might also be the question of the point of view) and do not turn on the light if it is unnecessary. Before leaving the hostel for a party or a city trip prepare the essential kit for sleeping that you will need after coming back in order to find it easily.

No curtains on the bed? No problem!

Nowadays you might be amazed how easy it is to find a piece of privacy even if you sleep in the shared room. A lot of hostel rooms provide now their beds with useful curtains so you can just cut out from the rest of the world. However if you weren’t lucky enough and the hostel of your choice does not have curtains (but probably other amenities that you love) this is not a problem! Just use your imagination: take a towel or ask in the reception for another bed sheet and create a bed curtain by yourself!

Ear plugs

I’m this kind of person that when I want to sleep I just do it even if there is a speaker with loud music next to my ear. But I know that there are people who have trouble with sleeping even with the slightest noise. That is why ear plugs are a useful and not expensive gadget.

Don’t forget about food you left in the fridge

Checking out already? If you have still some food in the fridge that might still be used by the others just leave it in the place created for it (I mean I will not believe there exist hostel that do not have ‘shared food’ label somewhere around in the kitchen). And if you have made too much food the other night and there is no one around to whom you can give it just throw it away. Since that what will hostel staff do anyway.

Those tips will hopefully make your travel life easier. And if you will include them in your travel rituals than you will also make my – the receptionist, life easier and happier. And for me there in no better reward than hearing how great was your stay.


Enjoy your hostel travels!

You find those tips useful? Share them! You have another tip? Comment below!


Posted by Ewa Gabara

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. I geek out on hostels and I’m a long-time receptionist turned into a copywriter. I help the hospitality and travel brands conquer the world with words.

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