Last summer I went to Amsterdam with my sister (read about it here). As we wanted to spend as little money as possible (we’re both students), we decided to stay at a hostel instead of a more expensive hotel. I was excited – I’ve never been to a hostel before and the idea was both terrifying and thrilling. Am I going to love it? Or hate it? I didn’t know!
Turns out I quite enjoyed it. The hostel we stayed in (ClinkNOORD Amsterdam) was stylish, clean and had this amazing vibe to it. The rooms were nice and cosy and overall it was a great experience. However, there are some things that made my stay a bit less enjoyable – things that could’ve been easily prevented, had I known I needed to prepare for them. And since I am a nice person and everything, I decided to share with you what I’ve learnt: here are the top 5 must-have things for your next hostel stay.
This one is so important I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it. When we first arrived in Amsterdam (around midnight), we were exhausted. We picked up our keys, got into our room and decided we would go straight to bed. We unpacked our pyjamas and went to our assigned lockers when we realized: you needed a padlock to lock them! And, of course, we didn’t have one. Luckily the hostel sold us one at the reception, so we didn’t have to worry about our things getting stolen. However, we did have to pay around 5 euros for it which was annoying (we were on a low-budget trip, remember).
Lesson learned: next time, bring a padlock.
2) Flip Flops
Another thing we should’ve realized but didn’t. Communal showers can be disgusting. Especially when you’re sharing them with so many different people with different hygiene levels. The hostel was mostly clean, but it still felt kind of funny standing barefoot in the wet shower someone else was in not so long ago. Also, I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy to do that anyway. Next time, I will make sure to pack flipflops – they’re not heavy and they might save me from some unfortunate feet-related disease.
I am a light sleeper. I know what you’re thinking – why the hell would you share a room with 7 other people then? Well, to be honest, I completely forgot about the fact that some people snore. A lot. Loudly.
I had to spend every night sleeping with my headphones in, playing Amy Pond Theme on repeat. I survived but I did not enjoy it in the slightest. Seriously, if I forget to bring everything else on this list, I still need to remember to pack a pair of these. They are a real lifesaver.
4) Sleep Mask
A thing that would annoy me a lot when we were at the hostel was people coming in late at night and turning the lights on. I mean, I get it, they were a bit tipsy and needed to find their bed and take out their PJs and stuff but seriously… I am a really really light sleeper. So every time they turned the lights on, I was instantly awake. Argh! Sleep mask would’ve really helped then.
5) Small light
You know when you need to use the bathroom, but your phone is charging, and you can’t find your key card? Well, I do, and it’s not the best situation to be in. I resented people turning the lights on in the middle of the night but when I need to go, I need to go. Therefore, the last advice I’d like to offer you is this: bring a small portable light, like a keyring or something. It will make you the most considerate roommate there is.
And that’s it. There are, of course, many other things you need to remember to pack (toiletries, towel, …) but these are the top 5 things that I think would not necessarily occur to someone, but that are essential nonetheless. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been to a hostel – what was your experience like? Did you also forget to pack something absolutely essential?