You’re getting ready for your trip and this will be the first time you will ever stay at a hostel. The accommodations are booked and now you just need to decide what you need to bring with you. Even though you have traveled before, there may be some things you haven’t considered bringing that you should.

As someone who has stayed in multiple hostels around the world, I have made this list to help you bring the right things for your first hostel stay. I hope you find it helpful!

staying in a hostel for the first time
Bodhi Hostel in Anton Valley, Panama

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Shower Sandals

Shower sandals​​ are a must have in your suitcase when staying in a hostel. Although the showers are cleaned, I personally feel more comfortable using sandals instead of standing directly in the shower. 

The sandals should be sturdy so you’re not slipping around but lightweight so they don’t take up space or put on too much weight in your bag. It’s also helpful if they are quick dry in case you are showering the same morning that you’re leaving and don’t want to carry around anything wet.

These SheValues sandals are everything that you’re looking for and they come in a variety of colors.

Quick dry towel

A towel is a must for staying at hostels. Some hostels do offer towels, most don’t. The ones that do charge a fee either per towel or per day to use them. It’s much easier to have your own, especially if you’ll stay at some places that do have them and some that don’t.

Quick dry, microfiber towels are great as they aren’t as bulky as regular towels and will dry quicker if you need to be on the move often. Many come with little bags to keep them clean and protected from your other things.

Lock and Key

A necessity is a lock and key. Many hostels give you a locker to keep your things. Some only offer small ones which would fit a backpack and anything valuable. Others will give you a large one that could fit a carry-on suitcase or backpacker backpack.

Most won’t give you a lock and key to go with it though. Although I have seen some hostels now have electronic type locks where your room key will double as your locker key. This isn’t always the case, and you don’t want to be left without a lock in some situations.
I recommend a long lock because I’ve stayed at hostels with lockers that only long ones fit. And because I didn’t have one like that, I had to leave my things unlocked which makes me paranoid. Don’t make my mistake and get a long lock.

Long Charger Cable

Not all hostels are made the same and so not all outlets are placed in the same spots. I’ve stayed at hostels where each bed had access to one or two outlets in the same area and others where there was one place for all outlets. Reviews sometimes only mention so much so it’s better to have a long cable charger to be prepared. This is more of a better safe than sorry type of item that you should have. 

Android users, click here! This one’s for you.

Noise Canceling Headphones

If you’re a light sleeper, then this one is for you. Noise canceling headphones will definitely be your go to if you’re staying in hostels. It can get noisy especially with people on their own schedules. Some are early risers and don’t leave their things prepared the night before. Others come back late, a bit tipsy or drunk and aren’t aware they’re making much noise. Your headphones will keep you from dealing with the noise.

Eye Mask

Another must have for light sleepers is an eye mask (, especially one that provides full coverage. Because in addition to people sometimes being noisy, they can also be a bit inconsiderate and turn the lights on in the middle of the night or early morning. If the light may wake you up, it’s better to be prepared and have your eyes protected from a potential abrupt awakening.

During my travels, these are items I’ve made sure to always have on hand or suggest to others when they mention they’ll be staying in a hostel for the first time. I hope these are useful for you or you can share them with someone who may need this. Please let me know if there’s any I missed that I should add to this list in the comments below.

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Latina Traveler

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