“Um, Toto? I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”
And with that said, I wasn’t in any comfort zone of my own here either…
As a hostel life newbie novice total rookie, I had an awful picture painted in my mind. I was pleasantly proved wrong! The trick, is to know before you get there about the type of hostel you’re booking and checking into, be sure to read the reviews and take the star count into consideration; after all, you have to sleep at sometime, something I didn’t think I’d do the first night!
Bigger dorms with lots of beds, you’re less likely to meet new people, oddly enough. Smaller dorms with 4 beds, people like to know their neighbours, make sense! With the big rooms, we had small under the bed boxes, a bunk with a curtain to draw on the side, and a small lamp built into your bed, so to stop your roomies from being disturbed. Have a padlock for your under the bed box or locker. It’s down to you at the end of the day, but I would advise double-checking that you are sharing a same sex dorm room, the reasons are obvious, and I’d rather not have to spell it out. Also, don’t be afraid to use an alarm in the morning, just keep it under your pillow so that you can turn it off before it wakes everyone up!
Bathrooms, in the hostel I was staying in there were different ones on each floor, some floors had women’s and men’s separately, others had shared bathrooms. I personally didn’t like that very much. It was weird being able to shower in one cubicle and talk to someone in the next, let alone the shy prude old fashioned girl in me that wouldn’t have coped had it been a man that I didn’t know chatting back in the next cubicle! Taking flip-flops is a handy tip, and even a couple of clothes pegs… I noticed a couple of girls pegged their wet towels to the curtain line by their beds to help them dry out.
When it came time for me to wash my clothes, it was a bit of a pain, unless you want to traipse to the laundrette and sort the laundry there, you shouldn’t expect your washing to wash at the same standard as home washing. It cost me about £4 a load, another 50p for a detergent capsule, and then £1 to (mostly) dry. There was an iron and board set up and good to go, but also a £10 deposit to use it, just make sure that you have the cash on you because if like me, you have suits and shirts going through, you’ll want them crisp and nice. Also, the cash machine may charge you for withdrawals, just check! There is nothing other than limited storage space, stopping you from taking your own detergent and iron if you’d like to though.
In the kitchen, and don’t take my word from it – I hear this was a novelty, there was a shared fridge in which you could store a bag of food with your name and room sticker on, (so take some sticky labels with you) not a lot of space, but it helped. Also a hob with rentable pots and pans, an oven, which on occasion worked, and a sink to make sure you leave the place as you found it. The kitchen was a very sociable place I came to find! People are friendlier than you may first expect, and the stories that come out are always interesting, you never know when you’ll learn something new; like who knew that some police forces in China use geese instead of dogs?! Not me.
Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with people!
Padlocks, Ziploc bags, sticky labels, washing detergent, a couple of travel clothes hangers, all very useful…
Mixed or same sex dorms/bathrooms, washing and kitchen facilities, security measures in the dorms and to the rooms, parking (if necessary)
Budget your stay and factor in costs for food, washing, and deposits for the iron ect.
Meal plan to ensure that you can budget efficiently and not be without.
Plan your day and utilise your time to be most efficient for you. I needed to be there for college, but I met so many people there trying to cram all the sightseeing ever into 48 hours and so on.