A First Timers Guide to Staying in Hostels – RatPack Travel

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A First Timers Guide to Staying in Hostels

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Staying in hostels is a MUST if you’re travelling Aussie in true backpacker style! Hostels are ideal for saving money, an epic place to meet fellow travellers and a load of fun. If you’ve never experienced hostel life before and are wandering what it’s all about, then this is the post for you…

We’ll be sharing with you…

  • What to expect from staying in hostels
  • Busting myths on hostels
  • Our favourite hostels on the East Coast
  • What to avoid when staying in hostels!

There are a load of epic hostels all over the place in Australia. Whether you’re travelling short-term or for a longer period of time you are for sure going to be spending a large chunk of that time staying in various hostels.

Time to hit the road?

First up, don’t listen to anyone who talks bad of hostels – yes they’re cheap and cheerful, but don’t knock it till you try it ay!? Plus, the East Coast is full of preeetttttty nice hostels, so you wont really be ‘slumming’ it at all. It’s all part of the experience yeewwww.

So, let’s get to it! A first timers guide to what it’s really like to stay in a hostel. Between the lot of us here at Ratpack, we have stayed in a bunch of hostels all over Australia, so we’re about to let you in on all the tips and tricks you need before setting off on your epic adventure.

What is a hostel?

A hostel is basically a form of shared accommodation.

There are usually different sized dorms (usually with bunk beds), a kitchen and food storage (so you can cook your own meals) and a chill out area to get to know the other guests.

Some hostels also provide the option to stay in a private room. This is ideal for couples or those of you who prefer your own space – these are usually more expensive though!

Why are they great for backpackers

First of, they’re usually the cheapest option of accommodation and backpackers love a good bargain – more money to spend on epic tours and adventures.

Plus, they’re a great place to meet people – which is what it’s all about right!

What room type should I choose?

There are usually a few room options, so check out the website before booking to see what suits you best.

Mixed dorms – so dorms for both male and females. These usually range from 4 beds to 10 beds.

Female dorms – if you’re solo travelling as a female, this may be the option for you.

Private rooms – some hostels have this option. This would be ideal for couples or those of you who prefer your own space. You can get a single bed or double.

What facilities does a hostel have?

Hostels differ, but this is a list of what you will typically find in a hostel:

  • Kitchen
  • Food storage and fridges
  • Bathrooms
  • Common area
  • Reception

Some more cool things you may find include:

  • Rooftop pools
  • A bar
  • A gym
  • Cinema
  • Surfboard hire
  • Games rooms
  • One hostel I stayed in had a music room – kitted out with a didgeridoo!

What are hostels really like?

Ok, time for some myth busting. Hostels get such a bad rep and we have no idea why! The majority of the hostels in Aussie are awesome.

Are they dirty? No! this is such a common misconception. They are cleaned as a hotel would be. The rooms and bedding are cleaned regularly.

Are there bed bugs? Again, no of course not! None of us have EVER encountered a bed bug whilst staying in a hostel.

Are there weirdos? There shouldn’t be! Hostels are for travellers and backpackers like yourself, your rooms will be full of like-minded people all around the same age.

Are there events at hostels?

Some hostels are great at hosting events to allow the guests to get to know each other. We highly recommend you get involved in these – even if they do seem a bit cheese!

We’ve been to hostels that host:

  • BBQ’s
  • Pizza nights
  • Bar crawls
  • Wine and cheese nights
  • Film nights
  • Communal meals
  • Sunrise walks
Jules Team Member

Top tips for staying in hostels..

Right, so now you’re up to scratch on surviving hostel life, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid the tour desk – they will rip you off knowing your last minute urgency and take advantage of that. Chat to us instead!
  • Take some cash ready for your key deposit.
  • Bring a padlock if you want to lock your backpack or locker.
  • Always label your food!
  • Ear plugs and an eye mask might be handy.
  • Be respectful of your roomies, if you’re getting up early pre-pack your bag and get your clothes ready before.
  • If you’re setting an alarm, pop your phone under your pillow.
  • Bring a long phone charger and multiple USB charger to reach your bunk and charge all your kit.
  • If you ever feel uncomfortable in your room or feel that it is dirty, don’t be afraid to chat to reception. (Sophie once changed rooms when she checked in because there was beer bottles left over from the night before haha #flashpacker and Holly once got upgraded to a private dorm because a dodgy plug sparked by her bed! I also milked it a little bit ahaha)

Our fave East Coast hostels

Melbourne – Space hostel

Sydney – Sydney Harbour YHA

Byron – Backpackers Inn on the Beach

Surfers Paradise – Bunk

Brisbane – Summerhouse

Noosa – Flashpackers

Agnes Waters/1770 – Cool Bananas

Airlie Beach – Magnums

Magnetic Island – Base Magnetic

Cairns – Tropic Days

For more info on our fave hostels, click here.

Ready to head to Aussie?

We hope that you are SO ready and stoked to visit Australia on your backpacking trip, don’t forget when you stay in hostels to:

  • Get involved in the group activities, BBQ’s, pub crawls, beach days and events!
  • Get chatting, head to the kitchen or common room and meet fellow backpackers
  • Make sure you book your hostel in advance to avoid missing out!
  • Avoid the travel desk and chat to us instead for genuine advice and REAL discounts

lets goooooooo

Chat to our Team

We operate a 24/7 service across multiple time zones. Our RatPackers have all been there and done it! Get the ball rolling on your upcoming trip. Send over your rough travel plans (including your flight details / dates). If you are yet to book a flight and seeking advice – HIT US UP ↡

We hope these tips and tricks have you all geared up and ready for your first hostel experience. Hostels are the best place to meet new people and experience new things – you’re gonna have the time of your life! 

Yewwwwwwwwwwwwww Holly (RPT Blog Writer) – Stay Tuned for my next piece…

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