Your first stay in a hostel can be a daunting experience. I’m here to help you have the best possible hostel experience, and although a good night’s sleep unfortunately can’t be guaranteed, choosing the right hostel bed can go a long way to help! By following a few tips, you can turn a hostel nightmare into an awesome hostel experience!
Which Hostel Room to Choose:
Even when I’m backpacking, sometimes I like to splash out and treat myself to a private room, especially before or after a long trek or when I really need my own space! But this does push the cost up, so if you’re budget conscious then sharing a room is best for you.
Twin / triple / quad rooms are great if you’re travelling with friends as you can have the space for just you and less security worries. Of course, couples usually prefer to have a private double room so they can have alone time together, and the extra cost shared between two isn’t much more than two dorm beds.
For solo travellers, the main benefits of shared dorms are cost, and meeting people. Make friends with the people in your dorm, you already have travel in common so it is a great way to break the ice and get some company for dinner.
Choosing the right hostel bed in a dorm
Sometimes hostels will allocate you a dorm bed before you even arrive – so if you have any firm preference it is best to ask for it when you make your reservation. Personally, I prefer a bottom bunk bed, so I always ask if they can hold one for me. Usually it works!
Most hostels have bunk beds. Sometimes they may have single beds, and an occasionally a double bed in the dorm. Some even cram in triple bunk beds, so you could find yourself being metres from the floor – not ideal if you’re scared of heights!
If you have a choice of hostel bed, here are some things to think about:
Power sockets: is there a power socket by your bed to charge your phone overnight? If not, then use a portable charger overnight, and charge that during the day.
Toilet / main door: how close is the bed to the bathroom? Or the main door? People will be coming in and out of the doors all night, shutting them loudly & turning the lights on, potentially flooding your bed with bright light. Essential items for hostel stays like eye mask & earplugs will help you sleep if you don’t get your ideal bed!
Air Con: Air conditioning can be a blessing and a curse in dorm rooms. If your bed is right in front of the unit you will be blasted with freezing cold air to the extent you wished you had a blanket. Or even worse, sometimes air con units drip onto the bed below so you could end up cold and wet!
Window: If there is good curtains or blinds in the room this won’t be an issue, but more often than not the curtains in hostels leave a lot to be desired. As soon as it gets light a bed next to an east-facing window will be light far too early, and potentially hot if the sun comes in. Windows also tend to be noisier than on the other side of the room, however in warm places a pleasant breeze through the window can help keep you cool.
Lockers: Having someone else’s locker next to your pillow can be a horrible way to wake up and find someone standing over you as they lock away their valuables!
Choose your Hostel Bed: Top vs Bottom bunk
Once you’ve decided on the location of your bed, which is best – a bottom or a top bunk?
I always prefer the bottom bunk, and here’s why:
No worries about falling down the ladder when climbing up or down
If you drop something out of bed it’s easy to recover
Sitting and chilling, putting shoes on, packing your backpack – all easier sitting down on your bed
Easy access to your belongings around you
Under the bed can be a handy storage area
No irrational fear of falling out of bed
You can often strategically hang a towel from the top bunk to create a little den for more privacy & less light
However, there are some downsides of having the bottom bunk:
It is annoying having someone above you rolling around
You will probably wake up every time they go up or down the ladder, potentially trampling you if you tend to spread out in bed starfish style.
I consistently hit my head while getting in and out of bed
Some bottom bunks don’t have enough space to sit up straight so end up being even less comfortable than the top bunk
Here’s my recommended items to help you get the best hostel experience, no matter which bunk bed you choose:
|Eye Mask||Portable Charger||Trek Towel|
What do you think? Do you prefer bottom or top bunks, or do you always go for a private room? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
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