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Hostel top tips for Cardiff University students looking to spread their wings

6 November 2023
Photo by Marcus Loke on Unsplash
Photo by Marcus Loke on Unsplash

Travelling at any age can be a life-changing experience, but travelling while you’re young and taking advantage of long summers from university is an opportunity that every university student should take up. To make this easier for the broke student, hostels are a great and affordable choice for accommodation, but they’re not for the faint of heart. This blog will guide you with top tips on how to enjoy the hostel experience (and make some awesome friends along the way).

Why you should stay in hostels

Staying in hostels is a great way to save money while travelling, letting you spread your budget to travel for longer. This is from sharing your space in a dorm room with multiple other people. These community-driven environments are not only more environmentally friendly than your average hotel room, due to the shared nature of the space, but also an amazing social opportunity to meet travellers staying in the same city. This can help you make longer-term friends or just give you an adventure buddy for the day.

You need a thick skin – staying in a dorm in Budapest

Hostel tips

  • Always wear flip-flops – Getting into the good stuff, hostels can be fun, community spaces but with the footfall (specifically in the bathrooms) of so many others before you, don’t take the risk of not protecting your feet. With varying hygiene standards of different people and just the number of people using the space, it’s best to wear flip-flops just in case. These are also good for just making sure that you don’t slip over. 
  • Foam earplugs – I personally don’t wear these but I know a lot of people who rely on them. If you’re a light sleeper, definitely give earplugs a try to block out any noise while you’re trying to snooze. As previously said, this is a communal space and there will likely be people coming back late from a night out or getting up early for a flight and you need to be prepared for that.
  • Be confident – Although being around so many different people from so many different places can be intimidating, just remember that everyone is in the same place as you are. Anyone staying in a hostel automatically signs up for a communal experience and is there to have an adventure and explore the city that you’re both visiting. Therefore, just be confident and friendly when you’re trying to make friends and I’m sure that it will happen in no time. 
  • Always start the conversation – There is usually a moment in a hostel dorm, right at the beginning, before anyone has started chatting, when you don’t know how, or when, to start the conversation. This moment has played out for me in different ways: I did not start it and left quickly, stressed out by the silence, I started the conversation and realised that the person didn’t speak English (obviously stunting our ability to become fast friends) and I’ve started a conversation, spent 3 days with someone and left that city with a friend for life. I say go for it and see where you end up – worst come to worse, in a backpackers’ world, you can always just leave the country.