Solo Travel Tips for Hostels
If you’re planning to take the hostel route when travelling solo, check out these useful tips. You can also see which global hostel locations were rated the best in the HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2012. Hostels so gorgeous they might make you change your travel plans…
When you’re travelling solo you should give a little more thought to your choice of accommodation. If you stay in the centre of town you won’t have to walk in quieter areas alone at night and can usually rely on public transport to get you home.
You can check the location of potential hostels as rated by past customers in the ratings & reviews tab on HostelBookers.com. In the HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2012 there were a few ‘Best Location‘ awards given out to hostels scoring a perfect 100%: Qianmen Hostel in Beijing, Chilton 2 in Belgrade, and Times Square Dream Hostel in NYC were just a few of them. These are all ideal if you’re travelling by yourself.
You can also choose your hostel depending on the rating that’s been left by previous solo travellers by clicking on ‘Traveller Type Solo’ in the ‘ratings & reviews’ tab. For example, in the HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2012 the Living Lounge Hostel in Lisbon got the top mark in the ‘Best for Solo Travellers‘ category with 97%. This is closely followed by Hola Cairo in Cairo, Egypt, and Link Hostels, Lima, Peru, both with scores of 94%.
Starting out in the world as a solo backpacker may seem a little daunting. But travelling solo can be one of the most liberating ways to do it. You can do what you want, when you want and how you want, so long as you keep legalities and common decency in mind of course.
If you do decide to travel solo there are always a few extra precautions you should bear in mind:
- Stay in hostels rather than hotels: this way you can meet more people in the common areas and join the social events in the evenings.
- Think carefully about who you approach to ask for directions: it can be a bit risky to show that you don’t know where you are and where you’re going. Even better, try and ask in a local tourist information centre instead.
- Leave all your flash possessions back at the hostel locked up or preferably at home. Don’t walk around flaunting your wealth.
- Join tours. This is the best way to get to know people, and chances are there will be plenty of other people on them travelling solo too.
- Ignore unwanted attention as much as possible, don’t respond to it. Remember that in some cultures it’s standard to stare at people, even if it does seem rude.
- Have confidence in whatever you’re doing. As long as you look like you know what you’re doing, everyone else will think you do too.
- Dress like the locals, well as much as possible/necessary. I’m not saying you should lose your identity, but just have some respect for the local customs – if they’re wearing long trousers or headscarves you should too.
- Try to arrive at your destination at a good time of day. It can be scary arriving in the middle of the night to somewhere you’ve never been before.
- Be careful when you go out with the new people you’ve met, especially if they all already know each other. Make sure you know where you’re accommodation is and how to get to it, don’t get in the car with strangers and if you’re going out with them, stick to public places and don’t get too drunk!
Although you’ve set off alone, you won’t stay that way for long, especially if you stay in hostels. Enjoy every moment of freedom.
Hostel award: Mama’s Hostel, Krakow, Poland
Hostel award: Sevilla Inn, Seville, Spain
Hostel award: Chillton 2, Belgrade, Serbia
Hostel award: Qianmen Hostel, Beijing, China