Hostels are the number one preference of any young person who does Interrail. Previously, we have covered the hostel issue in detail. Being quite fun places, hostels may raise questions in minds who have not experienced sleeping with 8+ strangers in the same room. When we classified the questions we receive, we discovered that ‘safety’ was the topic that arouse the most curiosity among our readers, thus leading to this article. First things first, there’s no need to be paranoid, hostels are places where everyone has fun and makes new friends. However, you may come across with unwanted problems (who would want a problem anyway?) although it is really rare. Then, let’s continue with the 10 precautions to be taken, although they’re most likely to be never used.
1. Research your hostel.
As we always say, a budget holiday requires a good research, just like travel safety. Assuming that you plan which hostel to stay at beforehand, research how safe your hostel is. If you find it inadequate, stay somewhere else. For instance, having lockers is a basic means of security in most hostels. If yours has none, you can prefer another hostel because it is certain you don’t want to carry your 15 kg backpack (starter’s weight) everywhere you go. Some hostels even have security guards (i.e. Bob’s Youth Hostel – Amsterdam). If you are sensitive about safety, you can detect those hostels online.
2. Use the lockers provided by your hostel.
As mentioned above, most hostels will provide you lockers to keep your stuff safe. However, sizes may vary. For instance, in Sunny Lake Hostel, Ohrid, Macedonia the lockers are large enough to keep your backpack in, while Flag Varna Hostel, Varna, Bulgaria have lockers only as big as a postbox. Both ways, a locker whose key you hold will be more than enough for your possessions. I have to add, the ownder of Flag Varna, Peter, gives you your locker for free but you have to buy a padlock from him for 3 Leva’s. At least you had to. Keep step 1 in mind to keep yourself informed about such things.
3. Use combination locks.
A must-have for interrailers and hitch-hikers… For one thing, you can’t lose its key! If you don’t trust your memory, you can even save your password to your mobile. 0 risk… But how do we use these locks? First of all, you can eliminate the 3 Leva for a padlock issue and the like, if you have your own. In addition, you can lock the important pockets of your backpack with them, increasing security. Or, you may need to lock 2 bags together sometimes, just use it. If you have to leave them outside, you can even lock your shoes or boots!!! Those who served an army may already be familiar with that.
4. Use purses/wallets you can hang on your neck.
Something learned in the army again… Armies continue making our lives safer(!).. Throughout my service, I carried my wallet hung on my neck and after that, I started doing the same while travelling. Just buy one of those, but make sure your passport and other important documents fit in. Once you put your valuables in it, you simple carry it with you everywhere you go. Yes, this includes sleeping, too.
5. Do not show off your electronics.
We have to mention again that theft is not a common thing in hostels. But still, do not carry our expensive laptop, camera or smartphone in your hand all the time. This may tempt some people (some rare people, hard to find) and result in a stolen possession. Use such devices when necessary, as needed and keep them safe, preferably with the help of a combination lock. Remember, noone needs to know where you hide it.
6. Choose single-sex hostels.
This suggestion is actually for females travelling alone. As you may know, most hostels are mixed. You find an empty bed and sleep there. You’ve got absolutely no control or choice over whom you’re going to stay with. This is not a problem in most cases, but if you feel sensitive about your safety, or if it is going to feel more comfortable sleeping in a room full of women like you, you can stay at a single-sex hostel (i.e. Hostelle – Amsterdam), or choose one with single-sex floors. There is also another advantage to this, a hostel that serves women only may consider your feminine needs and provide them as standard service.
7. Use your own towel and slippers.
Most hostels will not give you towels or slippers anyway. It is best not to expect too much for 10-12 Euros. If you still want to take some extra cleanliness precautions, use your own towel and slippers. Pay special attention to slippers, because in humid places like bathrooms, zillions of bacteria grow quickly and using a shared pair of slippers may introduce them to you nicely. If possible, choose nonskid slippers to avoid accidents.
8. You can trust everyone, but with caution!
As we have previously said, hostels are comfortable and safe but you may encounter potential problems, though rarely. Not getting involved in borrow – lend relations in a hostel with strangers may prove quite useful. Because, although your chances of meeting a con artist is seriously low, if something like that happens, our guy will for sure try to make friends with you initially, right before after attempting to do his trick.
Negligent people, on the other hand, can be an even more serious problem. The negligent does not intend to steal your camera, which you lent him for a day trip. But he is negligent and there will be consequences. Just as you try to pack your bag quickly since you’re late for your train, he’ll still be taking picture, not caring about the time or his responsibility to return your camera. Would you give up your train or your camera? Cause: The negligent… Effect: Stress, anger… Better not to lend or borrow anything…
9. If something weird happens, notify the hostel personnel.
If you can’t find something you look for, if your backpack is messed up or anything strange happens, call for the hostel personnel immediately. If you think ‘theft’ is the issue and the personnel cannot work it out, consider notifying the authorities in the city. But in most cases, it is just a misunderstanding or you’re simply looking at the wrong place. Don’t panic.
10. Relax, the conditions are even for everyone.
This last piece of advice is the best one actually. Because everybody in your hostel is away and everyone is equally concerned about safety. They hide their valuables without your notice and keep an eye on their passports all time time, too. So just relax. Enjoy the hostel experience and make new friends. The duty of the hostel personnel is already to ensure your comfort and safety.
As a consequence, as we always say, staying at a hostel is actually a bit more than ‘budget accommodation’. People with whom you share a room and the experience deem budget accommodation of secondary importance. Personally, there were times I paid 2-3 Euros more, just to stay at a hostel and socialize. The safety advice we give in this article are necessary only to make this experience a better one, on condition that you don’t get caught by a paranoia!
Hostellerde Güvenlik / Safety at Hostels
Hostellerde Güvenlik / Safety at Hostels