Visiting new parts of the world is one of life’s greatest gifts and the best way for teens to get out and explore. While fear mongers might parrot online stories of negative experiences, remember that they are exceptions to the rule. Hostel safety exists and staying in one is an exciting way to meet new people while seeing the world.
That being said, one should not be careless when booking a stay in a hostel. People should weigh their options and make solid plans. After all, they will be living with strangers in a new city or while they are journeying across the globe. Here are 4 hostel safety tips for teens to help your trip go off without a hitch!
1. Find the best hostels
There are so many places offering different experiences in every city across the globe. It can be challenging to find the right amount of personal space when traveling in hostels because of the close proximity to other people at every waking moment of the day. Additionally, people may have hotel safety concerns for their personal items when traveling abroad. Is it possible to reconcile all these factors to find a safe hostel?
Yes! The biggest difference in finding the right hostel comes from whether one books a private room or not. Private hostel rooms provide a visitor with completely different energy from sharing a dorm with six to ten other people, mainly because of the distance you will have between yourself and others. Hostel safety is also higher in a single room.
Being in an open space with strange roommates can make people feel uncomfortable or unsafe, especially in mix-gendered situations. In that case, staying in a private room might be the best option. Following this hostel safety tip will provide you a different experience, but personal items and valuables will be in a safe location and there will be more personal security living by yourself. It is highly recommended to book a single room if you’re concerned about personal privacy and security.
If that’s not possible, ask the hotel staff to use one of the lockers at your accommodation.
2. Know what hostel experience you’re looking for
When booking a hostel, it is important to have an idea of what type of travel setting you want. Not everyone will be looking for the same experience while staying in a hostel. For example, some might want to explore a city’s nightlife and party scene. Some might desire to explore a city’s cultural heritage by visiting local museums and locations of interest. And others will want to enjoy another country by meeting friends and spending time in a low-key environment. How does one find what sort of experience they want in a hostel?
Glad you asked! Every hostel should have a complete description and reviews listed on whichever website you choose to book through. Reading these descriptions will assist you when choosing what you will find at each location. Knowing the type of experience you’ll find is important when it comes to hostel safety, as you will share the common space with other vacationers.
If someone doesn’t vibe with high-energy people and late nights out like in party hostels, then they should look for a cozy location to help them feel at home. Choosing a quality hostel that fits your needs will decrease the risk of social isolation and depression while abroad, and this will ensure that exploring the world will go off without a hitch.
3. Learn the surroundings of your hostel location
Take time to learn about your surroundings before you travel! One fabulous aspect of visiting new parts of the world are the sights and people you will encounter on your journey. However, with new surroundings comes a relative unfamiliarity with the city and how to securely navigate through the streets. If one plans to be out late at night drinking with friends, knowing your surroundings can make the difference between a good night and a bad night.
Hostel safety extends to when you leave your accommodation, as well. One of my personal safety tips is making sure to research the safe parts of town and understand where you may be at risk in your city. Every booking website will offer a map of the neighborhood in which your hostel is located, so use that information advantageously. When you arrive, take some time to walk through the surrounding neighborhoods. This hostel location research will introduce you to the city, all while giving you a feel of the town. It will improve your overall hostel safety level.
4. Stay connected
The final item one should look for in a hostel is free Wi-Fi. It is common that foreigners go without cell service while traveling because of the exorbitant prices of international cell service. When abroad, however, it is important for teens to stay connected with their families so that everyone is in the loop about the traveling experience. Parents often feel scared when their young solo travelers leave home for the first time and go to another country, and it is important that their children remain connected to message concerns about solo international travel and hostel safety.
For this reason, teens should always book hostels that have Wi-Fi included in the stay. Having access to the internet will allow teens to make informed decisions about what to do and where to eat while living in a new city, improving the overall hostel safety.
Hostels will be the home-away-from-home while visiting new cities, so having internet to communicate with parents is incredibly important. Some hosteling websites will list amenities in a clear manner; search for locations that offer free internet included in the price of your stay. This will ease parental worries and decrease the chance of culture shock while experiencing new locations in the world.
One final word on hostel safety for teens
Learning about the world through travel is one of life’s greatest joys. Often, the experiences one has while abroad will open the mind to new possibilities and conceptions of the self, allowing for improvement and actualization in ways never possible while at home. If one doesn’t consciously and thoughtfully for their trip, all these benefits could fly out the window.
Journey out of your comfort zone with hostel travel! Don’t forget to book smart and follow these hostel safety tips so you have a smooth vacation. There are so many awe-inspiring places to visit in the world, and I hope you will use these steps to have a safe and fun time encountering new hostel mates and ideas! Don’t be scared to join the hostel community on your next trip.
Who gave you these hostel safety tips
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers. As teenagers discover their love for traveling, but usually have a small budget, he considers these hostel safety tips vital.
You too can become a guest blogger on The Travel Bunny. Just submit a free guest post.
Travel articles with hostel tips on The Travel Bunny
Why traveling alone can be a life-changing experience
10 solo travel safety tips to explore the world
8 solo travel mistakes you need to avoid