Before I set off for my four month trip to New Zealand and South East Asia, I trawled through the internet finding blogs on the ‘Top 5 Things You NEED To Know About Travelling’. And to be fair, they did make me feel less daunted about living out of a 40L bag in rooms with up to as many as 23 other people. Yep, that smells how you think.
But there are some things I really wish I’d known about hostels before I left. The goal is that these tips will help you to avoid the aggressive eye roll whilst angrily muttering, ‘why did no one bloody tell me?’ that I’ve come to perfect over the past two months. So what I’m really saying is, if you’re planning on globetrotting, these might be the only words of wisdom you need.*
*My definition of wisdom may (very likely, almost definitely) differ to yours.
1) The Plug Problem
I know travelling is about unplugging and appreciating what’s around you, but at some point you will find yourself with one plug socket between ten or more people. And that just doesn’t cut it when you all have phones, tablets and GoPros to charge & a Snapchat streak to maintain.
Whilst at first a fight to the death may seem like the only option, hindsight has offered me these other suggestions that cater for the varying spectrum of technology addiction:
I have mates who bring these to the pub in fear that their phone might die so it’s hardly revolutionary but necessary in my opinion. You don’t want to complete a 2am trek to watch the sunrise and then find your phone battery on 5%. Your friends will never believe you climbed that mountain if there’s no Instagram evidence.
*2 USB Port Plug
I bought an overpriced one at the airport because I had no idea these glorious things existed. Order one cheaper online and charge two devices with only one socket. TECHNOLOGY, right? Try and buy plugs which have the USB ports on the face of the plug (like the one linked) rather than above or below. Otherwise having something charging can actually block the other plug sockets. Also, double check which adaptors you’ll need because I purchased a combined one for NZ and Asia which turned out to be a lie. Alternative facts. Fake news.
Okay, this one is for the chronic addicts with a bit of extra space in their bags. You’ll probably look a bit eccentric but everyone will love you when you’ve provided extra plugs for all.
2) The Duvet Dilemma
Credit goes to a German guy called Stefan for this one; a disgruntled hostel worker in NZ who informed us that the majority of hostels never wash the duvets. Like, never. I guess what goes on in hostels stays ON THE DUVET. I wish Stefan had told me this information at the beginning of my trip, rather than after a month of cosying up to them. Solutions?
*Use the Sheet
Don’t arrogantly discard the sheet like I did; the faff of getting comfortable will protect you from the ickiness. This complex layering technique has been coined the ‘Human Burger’ by many hostels. I probably should have realised there were posters up telling you to use the sheet for a good reason. Alas.
Most of the travelling advice I read online informed me about travel sheets which are pretty inexpensive and definitely invaluable. In my experience of Asia, hostels don’t provide you with duvets. Probably because you’d die from hyperthermia. But other hostels either provide, um, questionable sheets or none at all. So having a really thin and lightweight one of my own has been something I actually did right. Go me.
3) The Bathroom Business
On the whole, the bathroom situation has not been as distressing as I feared. And there are a couple of things I had that have helped:
*Hanging Toiletry Bag
I don’t mean to brag but I’ve received at least two ‘that’s such a good idea!’ comments from dorm room mates. These hanging bags with transparent pockets are an easy way to keep all your toiletries in one place, avoiding the awkward scramble through your wash bag to find your shampoo righttt at the bottom.
*The Bum Gun
Yeah, you read right the first time. This one is for those planning on travelling to Asia. You might want to start saying your goodbyes to toilet paper now and get used to the idea of squat toilets & a refreshing spurt from a nearby hose: The Bum Gun. Just embrace it. If you’re really curious, I stumbled upon some tutorials on YouTube… for a friend. I was looking for a friend.
I think we can all agree that you can feel the pure wisdom flowing through you. Happy and safe travels!
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