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The Ultimate Hostel Packing List 2023: What to Pack for Your Trip

Are you gearing up for a trip to the hostel? Hostels are a great way to save money on your travels, and they offer a unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else. But before you can enjoy your time at the hostel, you need to pack the right items! In this blog post, we will discuss everything that you need to bring with you when staying in a hostel. From clothes and toiletries, to electronics and entertainment, we will cover it all in the ultimate hostel packing list! So don’t wait any longer – start packing today!

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The Ultimate Hostel Packing List 2023: What to Pack for Your Trip

You probably stumbled upon this page asking the question – what the heck should I pack for traveling and staying at Hostels? There are many packing lists for hostels, but this one includes more than just what you need to buy for your trip. Whether you are traveling to South America or Europe I’ve included the basic necessities and everything you need to function on a day-to-day basis and what you need to know about hostel life.

Why Hostel Packing is Much Different from Hotel Packing

Hostels are often smaller and more cramped than hotels, so there is less storage space for your belongings. This means that you need to be much more selective about what you bring with you. Your hostel stay may have shared bathrooms and showers, so you need to pack toiletries that can be easily stored and won’t take up too much space.

Hostels are typically located in more interesting areas of town, which means that there is more to do and see in the local area. You’ll want to pack accordingly! Finally, you may be backpacking around Europe, and finding the best luggage to travel around Europe should be light and portable to travel from city to city. My recommendation is to travel by backpack – you can read more about my debate between choosing a suitcase or backpack.

Whether you are the type of packer that wants all the essentials of your home or a minimalist, this list will make sure you have everything you need to get by during your hostel travels.

Hostel Packing Tips

Staying in a hostel is quite different than staying in a hotel. Staying in a hostel requires a little bit more to make them comfortable. Here are some hostel packing list tips you may need before your first time staying in hostels.

  • Try to pack light – When it comes to packing light the less you have to carry, the better.
  • Invest in good quality travel gear – it will last longer and be more comfortable to use.
  • Pack clothes that are versatile and can be worn multiple times.
  • Bring along a small backpack or suitcase that can be easily carried around.
  • Make sure to pack plenty of toiletries, including shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc but make sure you are packing light. You can always purchase more on your travels.
  • If you’re traveling with electronics, make sure to bring along an adapter if necessary.
  • Don’t forget your headphones and books/movies for entertainment!
  • Pack a lock – this will not only come in handy for securing your belongings in a shared dorm room, but also for making sure your belongings are secured on the train or bus.

Finally, don’t forget to bring along your sense of adventure! Hostels are a great way to meet new people and have unique experiences. We hope you found this hostel packing list helpful! Safe travels! Hostels can be a great way to travel and save money.

Hostel Packing List Travel Essentials

Like most packing lists, you’ll need to include the travel essentials. This is typically what you think is best for your needs.

  • Clothes – Hostels usually require guests to dress somewhat conservatively, so pack clothes that will keep you comfortable and stylish. You’ll want a few different outfits, as you never know what might happen. Be sure to pack in layers, that way you can dress up or down depending on the weather.
  • Travel Backpack – A good travel backpack is a must. It needs to be big enough to fit everything, but not too big or bulky that it’s difficult to carry around.
  • Toiletries – Pack essentials like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste. If you’re travelling through Europe, try to bring toiletries that can be used multiple times without needing to be disposed of.
  • Medications – If you’re taking any medications with you on your trip, make sure to pack them in your carry-on bag. It’s also a good idea to bring along a first-aid kit just in case! You can grab your travel medicine kit here.
  • Sunscreen – The sun can be quite harsh in some parts of the world, so make sure to protect yourself with sunscreen lotion or spray.
  • Insect repellent – Mosquitoes can be pesky creatures, so bring along insect repellent to keep them at bay.
  • Passport – This is a must-have for any international travel. Electronics – Hostels usually have Wi-Fi, but it’s always best to bring your own laptop or tablet just in case. You’ll also want to bring chargers for all of your devices.
  • Visa – If you’re travelling to a country that requires a visa, make sure to apply for one well in advance of your trip.
  • Entertainment – Hostels can be social places, so bring along some cards or games to play with other guests. If you’re travelling solo, make sure to pack a good book or two!
  • Hostel or Hotel Address and Information
  • Photocopies and digital copies of your documents – I prefer to have these either emailed to me or saved on my google drive. You should make sure you have a copy of your passport, visa, bank information (including phone numbers internationally or domestically to be able to call to cancel stolen cards), travel itinerary, flight information, COVID vaccinations, and any important medical documents you may need.
  • Travel insurance – Staying in a shared common room can sometimes lead to theft and you want to make sure you are protected with travel insurance. I recommend world nomads or Safetywing. Purchase the best travel insurance here.
  • Emergency contact list – Include the numbers for your family or friends, as well as the number for your embassy. Packing cubes – These are great for organizing your clothes and keeping them from getting wrinkled.

Toiletries for hostel packing list

There are so many things out there and it’s best for your to figure out what you need to bring to a hostel. I’ve provided a variety of hostel packing list items you can bring to a hostel or pack in your toiletry bag to make this trip more prepared.

GoToob Toiletry Containers – A must for my Hostel Packing List

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The GoToob container is a soft, silicone tube that is designed to make it easy to transport your liquids while you’re on the go. The tubes are made of BPA-free and FDA-approved silicone, and they come in a variety of sizes to fit all of your needs and are perfect to fit in your toiletry bag. The tubes also have a wide opening, which makes them easy to fill and clean.

Honestly, these are my go-to and I’ve had these things for several years now and they haven’t failed me yet. They are such a great product and save on single plastic use. I can’t travel without these and they are always ready to go for any trip.

A Quick Dry Travel Towel – A forgotten Hostel Packing List item

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Quick dry travel towels are perfect for hostels because they can be used multiple times and they’re easy to transport. Hostels often have limited space for drying clothes, so a quick dry towel is ideal for drying off after a shower. Quick dry towels also tend to be lightweight and compact, which makes them easy to pack in your luggage.

When looking for a quick dry travel towel, it’s important to find one that is absorbent and lightweight. Some quick dry towels also come with their own storage pouch, which makes them easy to transport and store. Additionally, look for a towel that is resistant to odor and bacteria, so that it can be used multiple times without needing to be washed.

Travel Sheets or Sleeping Bag

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When traveling in a hostel, it’s important to have a way to protect your bed from bacteria and fungi and this is best with travel sheets or a sleeping bag. Hostels often provide sheets for guests, but these sheets may not be sanitized between uses. Some hostels or apartments however do not provide sheets or charge a fee and you may need to provide your own. Additionally, many hostels have bunk beds, which can make it difficult to keep your bedding clean.

A travel sheet or silk sleeping bag are lightweight and compact, which makes them easy to pack in your luggage and add to your hostel packing list. Additionally, travel sheets or a sleeping bag liner are easy to wash and can be used multiple times. A sleeping bag liner is also great to use in airports, and be used as a travel blanket, which makes them very practical.

Eye Mask – A Necessity

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A sleep mask can be helpful while traveling in a hostel because it can help block out light. This can be beneficial if you are trying to sleep during the day or if you are in a room with bright lights when sharing a room. Additionally, an eye mask can help block out noise and create a more peaceful environment for sleep. In hostels, people will be coming in and out and moving frequently. While some people may be kind enough to have a flashlight, some may not and will need to turn on the lights which can disturb your sleep.

I make sure I always pack a sleeping mask for travel and staying in hostels. This needs to be on your hostel packing list.

Ear Plugs

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Hostels can often be noisy, with people coming and going at all hours of the night. Earplugs can help you get a good night’s sleep by blocking out the noise. Hostels are often not as clean as hotels, and there is a greater risk for bacteria and fungi to grow on your bedding. Ear plugs can help protect your ears from these contaminants and bugs. It can help you stay asleep and be well rested as people come in and out of the room.

If you are a light sleeper, this is a necessity and you’ll regret not bringing them.

Packing Cubes – Great Accessory to use as a Laundry Bag

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Packing cubes are great for hostels because they can be used to organize your belongings. When you’re traveling in a hostel, it’s important to keep your belongings organized so that they are easy to find. Packing cubes make it easy to store your clothes and other belongings, which prevents them from becoming tangled or wrinkled. Additionally, packing cubes can be compressed, which makes them easy to pack in your luggage.

If you’re looking for a way to organize your belongings while traveling in a hostel, packing cubes is a great option. They are compact and lightweight, which makes them easy to pack in your luggage. Additionally, they are resistant to bacteria and odor, which makes them easy to clean between uses. It can get quite messy while traveling in hostels and this is a great way to keep things organized and separated from dirty to clean clothes or underwear to pants, it helps keep everything separated.

Flip Flops or Sandals

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Flip-flops are a great option for hostels because they are easy to clean and can be used multiple times. Hostels often have limited space for drying clothes, so flip-flops are ideal for drying off after a shower. Additionally, Hostels often have communal areas, which can become dirty quickly. Flip flops can help protect your feet from bacteria and fungus when walking around these areas. This is an often forgotten item on most people’s hostel packing list.

Unfortunately, a lot of backpackers may get a bad reputation for not being clean and many may not shower for days and finally are able to wash all of that dirty and bacteria off which leaves the bathrooms to become very messy very quickly. Having flip-flops or sandals will protect your feet in your room and the bathrooms.

Dry Bag

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A dry bag is a great option for backpacking because it can be used to store your belongings. When you’re backpacking, it’s important to keep your belongings organized so that they are easy to find. A dry bag makes it easy to store your wet clothes, sandals, and other belongings, which prevents them from becoming tangled or wrinkled and keeps your other items from getting wet.

Additionally, a dry bag is resistant to bacteria and odor, which makes it easy to clean between uses. It can get quite messy while backpacking and this is a great way to keep things separated.

Travel Water Bottle

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A travel water bottle is a great option for hostels because it is easy to clean and can be used multiple times. Water can get expensive, especially when traveling in Europe and packing a reusable water bottle is a great way to stay hydrated while traveling. It is important to drink plenty of water while traveling, so be sure to add this to your hostel packing list.

Travel Laundry Detergent

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Laundry detergent is a great option for hostels because it is easy to use and can be used multiple times. Hostels often have communal laundry areas, which can become dirty quickly. Laundry detergent can help clean your clothes and prevent them from becoming stained.

It is important to pack travel-sized laundry detergent because it is easy to use and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your luggage. Additionally, laundry detergent can be used to clean other items, such as your travel towel or bed sheets. Some find this a necessity for a hostel packing list and others don’t. Choose what is best for your needs.

Hostel Packing List: Electronics and entertainment

Universal Power Travel Adapter

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When traveling to a foreign country, it’s important to have a universal power adapter. This travel adapter will allow you to plug in your devices to any type of outlet, which can be helpful in countries that have different outlet types. A universal power adapter is also compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to pack in your luggage. Don’t forget to add this to your hostel packing list.

There are a variety of universal power travel adapters on the market, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing one. Make sure to find an adapter that is compatible with all of your devices, as well as the countries you will be visiting. Additionally, be sure to read the reviews before purchasing an adapter, as this can help you make the best decision for your needs.

USB or USB C Multi-Charger

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A USB multi-charger is a great way to charge all of your devices at once. This charger comes with several USB ports, which allows you to plug in multiple devices at the same time. Additionally, many USB multi-chargers come with a built-in AC adapter, which makes it easy to charge your devices while you’re on the go. This is my must for my hostel packing list. I hate not having all my items charged.

This type of charger is ideal for travelers, as it allows you to charge multiple devices at once. It’s also compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to pack in your luggage. Additionally, many USB multi-chargers come with a variety of connectors, so that it is compatible with all of your devices. Oftentimes in hostels, you will only be provided with one outlet and you may have multiple items you’ll need to charge. This will help provide extra charging resources.

A compact yet good camera

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While traveling, it’s important to capture all of your memories in photos and videos. A good camera can help you capture these memories in high quality so that you can look back on them and reminisce for years to come. Additionally, a camera can help you document your travels and share them with friends and family.

When looking for a camera to bring while traveling, it’s important to find one that is compact and lightweight. This will make it easy to pack in your luggage and take with you on your travels. Additionally, it’s important to find a camera that has a good zoom function, as this can help you capture photos and videos from a distance. Having a good camera will help reduce storage issues on your phone and keep your phone’s battery charged. This is an important essential for anyone’s hostel packing list.

Rechargeable Battery Pack or Power bank – A hostel packing list necessity

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When traveling, it’s important to have a way to charge your devices when you’re on the go. A rechargeable battery pack can help you do this. This type of battery pack comes with a USB port, which allows you to plug in your devices and charge them. Additionally, many battery packs come with a built-in AC adapter, which makes it easy to charge your devices while you’re away from home.

This type of power bank is ideal for travelers, as it allows you to charge multiple devices at once. It’s also compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to pack in your luggage. Additionally, many rechargeable battery packs come with a variety of connectors, so that it is compatible with all of your devices. This is a must not only for my hostel packing list but for my every day use.

Laptop or Tablet

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There are a number of reasons why you should pack a laptop or tablet for your trip. Firstly, a laptop or tablet can be used to store photos and videos from your trip. This can be helpful in keeping all of your memories in one place and making them easy to access. Additionally, a laptop or tablet can be used to document your trip. This can include writing about your experiences on a blog or creating videos to share with friends and family.

Having a laptop or tablet can also be helpful for planning your trip. You can use these devices to research destinations, find hotels and deals, and create a packing list. Additionally, many airlines offer in-flight entertainment options that can be streamed onto your laptop or tablet. This can help you keep entertained during long flights. This can be added to your hostel packing list if you think it’s necessary.

Flashlight

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A flashlight can come in handy in a hostel setting for a number of reasons. Many hostels do not have a lot of light, so a flashlight can help you see in the dark. A flashlight can help you find your way around in the event of a power outage. It can be a great way to not wake your hostel mates if you have an early or late flight or tour where you’ll need to be moving around and looking for items. Lastly, a flashlight can be used as a tool for self-defense in the event of an emergency. An important yet overlooked item needed for a hostel packing list.

Games

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Games can be a great way to keep entertained while at a hostel. This is usually on my hostel packing list and oftentimes on my regular packing list. Many hostels have communal areas where guests can gather and play games. This can be a fun way to meet new people and make friends. Additionally, playing games can help you pass the time on days when you’re feeling bored or restless.

There are a number of different games that are perfect for bringing to a hostel. Some popular options include card games, board games, and dice games. Card games are a great option because they are compact and lightweight. Board games are a good option for groups, as they often involve a lot of players. And dice games are perfect for those who want a quick and easy game to play.

Bringing games with you on your trip can help make your stay at the hostel more enjoyable. Not only will you have something to do when you’re bored, but you’ll also have the opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

My recommended hostel packing list games

Items I don’t recommend bringing on your Hostel Packing List

  • Money belt – A money belt is a bad idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are often uncomfortable to wear. They can be tight and constricting, which makes them difficult to wear for long periods of time. Additionally, they are often visible under clothing, which can make you a target for thieves. Another reason why money belts are a bad idea is that they are not very secure. Many people forget to wear them or forget to bring them with them when they leave their room. This can leave your money and passport vulnerable to theft. Lastly, money belts are often difficult to access when you need them. This can cause problems if you need to get your money quickly in an emergency situation.
  • Valuables such as jewelry or expensive watches
  • Too Much Stuff
  • Large sums of cash
  • A Negative Attitude
  • A Giant Fluffy Towel
  • Heavy Guidebooks – You may want to pack these, but packing guidebooks will add weight and will be inconvenient. I’d suggest getting the digital ones or highlighting what you want to see in a list the most before your trips.

Hostel Packing List FAQs

Should I bring a towel to a hostel?

A towel is necessary when staying in a hostel. Most hostels do not provide towels for their guests. However, keep in mind when packing they should be travel towels that dry fast. Bringing a fluffy towel from home can be bulky and absorbs a lot of water leading to bacteria and funky smells when not dried.

What should I bring for an overnight stay?

The items you’ll need for an overnight stay will depend on the type of hostel you’re staying in and the amenities that are available. However, there are a few basics that you’ll need regardless of the hostel you’re staying in. These include toiletries, a change of clothes, and a set of sheets or a sleeping bag.

Toiletries are a necessity for any trip, but they’re especially important for an overnight stay. Be sure to bring items like toilet paper, shampoo, soap, and a toothbrush. If you’re staying in a hostel with shared bathrooms, you’ll also need to bring your travel towel.

What amenities are most important to you in a hostel?

The amenities that are most important to me in a hostel are a quiet room, privacy, and a lock on the door. I prefer booking a hostel with a private room vs a communal room, but that’s my preference. It can be a little more expensive to go this route.

I also appreciate hostels that have a kitchenette so that I can cook my own meals. Other amenities that are important to me include Wifi, air conditioning, and an elevator. Some hostels have included tours as well like food tours, drinking tours, etc. which is a great way to make new friends.

What are the Types of Hostels?

There are a variety of different types of hostels that cater to different types of guests. Some popular hostel types include party hostels, boutique hostels, backpacker hostels, and eco-hostels.

  • Party Hostels – Party Hostels are designed for guests who are looking to have a good time. These hostels often have a lively atmosphere and nightlife scene. They typically have a bar on site and offer drink specials. Party Hostels are great for those who want to meet new people and make friends.
  • Boutique Hostels – Boutique Hostels are often smaller than other types of hostels and offer a more personal experience. They typically feature unique decor and design elements. Boutique Hostels often have fewer amenities than other hostel types, but they often offer extras like breakfast or dinner included in the price of your stay.
  • Backpacker Hostels – Backpacker Hostels are designed for budget-minded travelers. These hostELS offer the most basic amenities, like shared bathrooms and dorm-style sleeping arrangements. Backpacker Hostels are great for those who want to save money on their trip.
  • Eco-Hostels – Eco-Hostels are designed for guests who are looking for a more sustainable option. These hostels often use recycled materials and energy-efficient appliances. They typically have environmental initiatives in place, like using solar power or composting. Eco-Hostels are great for those who want to minimize their impact on the environment.
  • 5 Star Hostels – While most hostels are more basic, there are some that offer a luxury experience. These hostels often have private rooms, en-suite bathrooms, and on-site restaurants. They typically cost more than other types of hostels but offer a higher level of comfort and service.

What are the hostel room types?

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Hostels offer a variety of different room types, including private rooms, shared rooms, and dorm-style sleeping arrangements. Hostel life isn’t always easy, but it can save you a lot of money.

  • Private Rooms – Private Rooms are exactly what they sound like – private rooms that are not shared with anyone else. These rooms typically have a bed, desk, and closet for storing your belongings.
  • Shared Rooms – Shared Rooms are rooms that are shared with other guests. These rooms usually have two to four beds and sometimes come with lockers for storing your belongings.
  • Dorm-Style Sleeping Arrangements – Dorm-Style Sleeping Arrangements are sleeping arrangements where you share a room with other guests. These arrangements usually have between four and eight beds per room.
  • Family Rooms – Family Rooms are rooms that are designed for families. These rooms typically have two to four beds and come with amenities like a mini-fridge and a microwave.

You’ll often find hostels listed as the following: 

  • 4 Bed Dorm
  • 6 Bed Dorm
  • 8 Bed Dorm
  • 10 Bed Dorm
  • 12 Bed Dorm
  • up to 20-30 Bed Dorms

Hostels may also be separated by sex. You may find your hostel stay has a men-only dorm or women-only dorm and some are COED dorms.

What is the average cost of a hostel?

The average cost of a hostel varies depending on the location, season, and type of hostel. In general, you can expect to pay between $15 and $30 per night for a bed in a dorm room. Private rooms typically cost between $50 and $100 per night.

What is the difference between a hostel and a hotel?

The main difference between a hostel and a hotel is the price. Hostels are typically much cheaper than hotels, making them a great option for budget-minded travelers.

Hostels also typically have more of a social atmosphere than hotels. You can expect to meet new people and make friends at a hostel. A hostel stay may not equal privacy and many things are communal whether that is the bathroom, bedrooms, or kitchenettes.

What are the benefits of staying in a hostel?

The main benefit of staying in a hostel is the price. Hostels are typically much cheaper than hotels, making them a great option for budget-minded travelers. A hostel stay may typically have more of a social atmosphere than hotels. You can expect to meet new people and make friends at a hostel.

What should I look for when choosing a hostel?

When choosing a hostel, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, consider your budget. Hostels vary in price, so you’ll want to choose one that fits your budget. Second, think about the location. You’ll want to choose a hostel that is located in a safe area and close to the attractions you want to see. Finally, read reviews of the hostel before you book. This will give you a good idea of what to expect from your stay.

What are the best hostels in the world?

The best hostels in the world vary depending on your individual preferences. However, some popular options include Hostel One Paraty in Brazil, Surf Hostel Bali in Indonesia, and Casa Hostel in Scotland.

No matter what your travel style is, there’s a hostel out there for you. So don’t be afraid to give them a try on your next trip. With their affordable prices and social atmosphere, you’re sure to have a great time.

Do Hostels have bed bugs?

Hostels, like any other type of accommodation, can have bed bugs. However, there are a few things you can do to avoid them. First, make sure to check for bed bugs before you settle into your room. Second, keep your belongings off the floor and away from the bed. Third, don’t put your luggage on the bed. Fourth, use your own sleeping bag or sheets. And finally, don’t forget to check for bed bugs when you leave.

To avoid ensure a safe hostel stay, it’s recommended to stay in quality hostels, and checking the reviews is essential for picking out the best hostel for you to prevent bed bugs.

What do hostels provide?

Hostels provide a bed in a shared room, sometimes access to a shared kitchen and access to shared bathrooms. Some hostels provide private rooms and laundry facilities.

What would you add to this essential hostel packing list?

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