Hostel traveling is one of the best ways to explore the world as a young person. These communities that dot every major city on the globe are hot spots for like-minded voyagers looking to visit faraway cultures and people.
However, life on the road doesn’t come without dangers to personal safety. In this article, we’ll highlight a few simple steps to ensure a fun and secure stay at a hostel, particularly if you are a teen traveler.
Find the Right Location
Finding the right location is one of the greatest ways to ensure safety while visiting a new city. Visiting a new destination (often abroad) is fun, but the cost of travel gets substantially high the further away you travel from your home.
Staying in Hostels is one effective way to budget your expenses but hostels are all about who will share the place with you, how far it is from the city center, public transportation, and what’s the cost when compared against Airbnb or Hotels.
Therefore, booking a hostel should be done carefully so that one doesn’t end up staying far from the places they want to explore. If you plan to drink, look for locations close to the nightlife of your city. It’s better to have a short journey back to bed in the nighttime.
Do Advance Research
There are several websites specifically dedicated to this form of travel, and each site posts helpful information such as they type of hostel, the type of community found there, and what to expect from a stay.
Make sure to find one that fits your personality, as this will mitigate culture shock and oftentimes depression.
Also, do some research about:
- common travel scams in particular destinations you are planning to visit
- the nearest embassy of your country
- note down phone numbers for hospitals, ambulance, and police
- shady neighborhoods to skip
First thing first, find out the legal drinking age in the country you are visiting. And, do not drink in if you are not of age. Drinking is just one tiny way to have good times but traveling offers so much more. Be mindful, present and curious. Let your senses be overwhelmed by the new experiences (so you don’t feel like you are missing on anything).
Another tip is to drink responsibly (if you must) and if you are traveling in a group, then go to a bar with your group. Do not accept drinks from strangers no matter how friendly they appear.
Pack Light & Carefully
Take care when packing for your trip. Remember that most hostels sleep six to ten people in a single room, so the space you live in will be shared with strangers.
Therefore, all your personal items will be in a common space that is potentially open to thievery. Remember, the quickest way for a trip to be ruined is to lose something important.
One great strategy to minimize the threat of robbery is to be a packing minimalist. When gathering the items, carefully revise and prune the list of items that you will bring.
Expensive clothing shouldn’t be brought if it isn’t necessary, along with high-priced electronics that won’t be of use on the trip. Bringing fewer items will decrease your chances of getting something stolen abroad.
Bring a Lock
Inevitably, some valuables will have to be brought on your trip. Passports, money, and cell phones are part of every travelers’ arsenal when living in hostels. In order to keep these items protected, it is imperative that a lock and key is brought on your journey.
Almost every location will offer lockers to store your gear either for free or for a small fee. Using a locker will allow for important documents and information to be kept in a safe place while exploring the city’s sights or bars. Don’t hesitate to bring one!
In addition to standard mixed-gender dorms, some locations will offer private rooms for booking. Private rooms are great options for additional privacy if you do not want to share living space with strangers.
Additionally, they can add another level of protection to personal items while visiting cities across the globe.
Another option for female globetrotters is all-female dorms and hostels. While these hostels and rooms come fewer and further between, they can provide additional safety and security for women traveling abroad.
Be sure to look for these options if one has concerns about privacy or living with men.
Some additional precautionary tips to keep in mind are:
- Ask the hostel staff for security advice or anything you should know about
- Don’t open the hostel door for strangers
- Make a copy of your Passport and email it to yourself
- Hide some backup money somewhere safe. This is just in case you lose your wallet/purse
- Plan to check-in at your hostel before dark for the first time
- Don’t leave your hostel alone late at night (no matter how safe you feel)
- Trust your gut “feeling” but also use your brain (it is better to be safe than sorry)
I hope these easy to follow steps help when planning your next trip! The world is a gift, and everyone should have the opportunity to see every part fearlessly.
Go forth and experience something new!