How to Sleep Better While Staying in a Hostel
The choice to stay in a hostel can give you the financial freedom to explore while providing a unique travel experience. A hostel can be a fun way to explore a new city, meet other travelers and keep a little money in the budget for exploring.
However, staying in a hotel isn’t always the most conducive to a good night’s rest. After all, you’ll probably be sleeping on a bunk bed in a room full of strangers. As fun as that can be, it can also be a little scary and off-putting, so that’s why we’ve put together our best hostel sleep tips to help you get some good shut-eye while you’re away from home.
Arrive Early and Choose Wisely
Check in early and claim your bunk. Early arrival will also give you a good look at the layout and bed selection. Keep an eye out for features that will make a certain area quieter like an alcove or bed that’s in a corner rather than by the entrance. Try to avoid beds close to the bathroom unless passersby don’t bother you. (Also, remember to make sure to ask about the bathroom situation before you check into any hostel.)
Which do you prefer: top or bottom bunk? Some people like the seclusion of a top bunk, while others may prefer to be close to the ground, where they don’t have to worry about waking their lower bunkmate when getting out of bed.
Earplugs and a Sleep Mask
Light suppresses sleep hormones and you can’t control another person’s flashlight or reading light. A sleep mask will mean your neighbor’s habits won’t disturb you. Earplugs will give you an extra edge over noisy bunkmates, especially if you have decided to go for a top bunk.
Try your earplugs out before relying on them for sleep, as some people find them too uncomfortable at night.
Plan Your Gear and Stow It Away
Your own sleeping bag gives you a familiar friend when you lay down to sleep. Sleeping bags are rated by seasons, so make sure you’re traveling with one that’s appropriate for your destination.
You’ll be sweating it out in a four season bag in the summer and a two season bag might not be enough if you’re at a high elevation.
You might also want to consider, if you have the space, to carry your pillows or your favorite blanket with you. A little bit of familiarity can make sleeping in unknown places much easier, and it can considerably help with your level of comfort.
Lock Your Bags for Peace of Mind
Though some people like to sleep with their bags on or next to the bed, you don’t want to be jumping at every noise because you’re worried about someone stealing from your pack. Travel with a good lock and if they are available at the hostel you choose, make sure to use a locker for extra peace of mind.
Stay More Than One Night
The longer you stay in one place, the easier it is to sleep there. On day two, you’ll feel more relaxed and ready to go the next day. When making your travel plans, consider having a home base for a few days. Staying at a hostel with new friends can often be a fun experience, but remember to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep so you can enjoy the sights and the culture that the city you’re staying in has to offer. Of course, don’t slow down your adventures just to stay in the same hostel for a couple of nights.
Do Your Research First
Learn as much as you can about the hostel before you arrive. Some are part of a larger network with quality control and standards that you’ll appreciate. Some of these hostels might be a little more expensive than independent hostels, but the upcharge is frequently worth it for peace of mind.
Hostels often have a reputation for the quietness of the residents, but some others are party houses. Either is fine as long as that’s what you want and you know exactly what to expect. Read online reviews, but remember to be prepared for a surprise or two! That’s often what staying in a hostel is all about.
A hostel opens the door to travel experiences you may not have otherwise. Hostels are inexpensive when compared to other accommodations, they are available in almost every single major tourist hub around the world, and often, you can get to know other interesting people around the world. Most hostels have fully stocked kitchens and some of the nicer ones even offer free breakfast. (It’s probably just bread, but still.)
With the right preparation and planning, you’ll be set to get some sleep and enjoy all that your destination has to offer.
About The Author: Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.