Skip to main content

Stay at a Hostel? Is it Safe? What to Expect When Staying in a Hostel Dorm Room

Many travellers spend their nights in a dorm room of a hostel to save money on accommodation. In a dorm room you will be sleeping together with several others and it can be a great place to meet fellow travellers in that part of the world. Dorm rooms can range from 4 to 16 people and sometimes even more.

If you are new to staying in hostels then you may wonder what to expect and what you should mentally prepare yourself for. In a room filled with people things do not always go as you expect and it will definitely not be the same as at home.

If your parents are worried about what you are getting yourself into then just tell them that you have at least read this article and you know what to expect!

Base Christchurch, New Zealand

Base Christchurch, New Zealand

What to expect in a hostel dorm room

  • The light will be on when you want to sleep. Some people stay up late to browse the internet or to do other things on their laptop. The main room light will remain on even when some of the people wish to sleep. You can either ignore the light or you can bring something to cover your eyes if you can only sleep when it is dark.
  • You might be woken up by loud noises in the middle of the night. People can come back from a party and they may not be as quiet as you would like. In one hostel I stayed in a room with a guy who talked as loud at night as during the day.
  • The room can be a mess. Guys in particular will make a mess of their stuff which will spread itself all over the room. Just kick their stuff aside and try not to get your stuff lost in their stuff.
  • Snoring. There is a good chance you'll share the room with someone who snores. In fact, while I am typing this someone above me is snoring. Just accept it, you will fall asleep anyway but I'm just saying it so you won't be irritated by it.
  • Housekeeping will do their work with you around. If you still happen to be in bed when housekeeping decides to clean the room then they'll simply do their work with you around. They will knock on the door but they will come in anyway.

Hostels in Europe

Good things about dorm rooms in hostels

Good, you now know what to expect. That was not so bad, right? Let's move on to the positive things about staying in a hostel dorm room:

  • Cheaper cost per night. The more people in your dorm room, the cheaper the price per night becomes. When you can handle the above situations it does not really matter whether you share the room with six or 12 people. Cut your costs and choose a large dorm room!
  • Obvious place to meet other travellers. Just enter the room, say hello and introduce yourself. It really depends on the room. Some people are willing to talk and may even introduce themselves before you have a chance to do so. Just ask for their name, where they are from and a bit about their previous travels in the region. You may find a fellow travel mate if you are both heading in the same direction. If you wish to travel alone then that's fine too but for daytrips it can be nice to have some company.
  • You will be there mostly for sleeping anyway. Your hostel dorm room won't be the place where you are spending a lot of time. You are travelling and you want to explore the world outside of the hostel. You are only in the dorm room to sleep and to keep your stuff somewhere when you are away. It is not a hotel so don't treat it as such. Just have fun and enjoy your travels!

Travel in Australia and New Zealand

Safely secure your belongings

A last tip: find a place to safely store your belongings. I could have had a lot of money if I had sold every laptop or phone that I had access to during my travels. Many people don't seem to care but it is not worth the risk. I have heard stories of people who lost their money and other belongings - I'm not saying they were careless but I have seen many who were indeed careless about their stuff.

Some hostel dorm rooms have in-room lockers - one for each person staying in the room. That is an ideal scenario but many hostels don't have this. In that case you should keep the most important documents and money with you while you are away and find a locker elsewhere to store your valuable electronics.

Things to consider when staying in hostels

I have also written an article about some decisions that you will need to make in a hostel. Should you book ensuite facilities or shared facilities? Should you sleep on the top bunk or the bottom bunk of a bunk bed? Have a look at that article as well so you know what to expect in hostel dorm rooms.

Concerned about safety in hostels?

Scroll to Continue
  • Staying in Hostels in Australia
    Should you stay at a particular hostel in Australia or not? I'll share my thoughts on the hostels that I've stayed in during my travels through Australia.
  • Staying in Hostels in New Zealand
    My personal opinion on various hostels in New Zealand with excellent information on where to stay and what to expect. I've travelled in both islands and stayed in many hostels, including Base hostels and Nomads hostels.

This article was written by Simeon Visser. I am earning money online by writing here at Would you like to earn money online as well? Read the success stories and sign up today to get started!


J-Nevil on June 25, 2012:

This is an excellent hub, thanks!

simeonvisser (author) on January 10, 2011:

@H P Roychoudhury: Being flexible is indeed a good way to handle this.

@edelhaus: That can be true yes, it is all part of the life experience of a traveller!

edelhaus from Munich, Germany on January 10, 2011:

I remember that- But some of the worst nights will become some of your best memories. I wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad I had the experience. Good job!

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on January 10, 2011:

It is better adjust under all circumstances.

Related Articles