Hostel Essentials: List of 20 items that will make your travels even better

Before my first time staying in a hostel I had no idea what to expect or what to bring! Since then I’ve researched and experienced first hand what has made my hostel experiences the most pleasant. So I decided to make a list to of hostel essentials to hopefully help you out incase you’re having a difficult time trying to figure out what to bring! I’ve included some links from Amazon so you can see what I brought on my trip, just click the pictures of the products you’re interested in to be taken to them.

Security Essentials

1- Bring a Lock for your backpack or suitcase. I wish I could say you won’t need to lock up your stuff but since you will be staying with strangers you can never be too sure. Try to limit the valuables you bring if you can it will be less to worry about. These are the locks I used to keep my backpack locked up when I wasn’t with it, with the osprey backpack I have you can just loop the locks through the zippers to keep them secure.

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2- A Backpack that you can lock. This goes hand in hand with my first item, if you’re going to lock your bag then you’ll definitely need a bag you can lock.This bag is my favourite for staying in hostels or for any backpacking adventure

Osprey Farpoint Travel Backpack for Hostels
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I love this backpack because it fits in the overhead bin on planes so you don’t have to worry about checking a bag.To make things even better this bag opens like a suitcase, meaning you don’t have to dig to the bottom of your bag when you’re looking for something. Osprey is one of my favourite luggage companies because their products are good quality and their customer service team is very helpful!



3- Padlock: I know I’ve already mentioned locks for your suitcases but bring a combination or padlock that is able to fit onto a locker. Often times hostels will have a locker for each person staying in the room, therefore you can feel free to put your belongings in the locker and secure it with your own lock.

Sleep Essentials

4- Another major one is Earplugs+Headphones. Wearing earplugs to bed in a hostel is a must, you constantly have your fellow roommates coming in and out of your room, people talking while you’re trying to sleep or just plain ruckus in the hallways.

There will be times when earplugs are not enough to block out the noise, so for these times I like to wear my headphones. I plug my headphones into my phone and play a white noise app. The app I use is called “White Noise Free” you can find it in the Google Play Store! All I do is play a soothing noise on the app and put my headphones in and fall fast asleep. If you do decide to use this method please be careful of the strangling risk that your headphone cords pose. To avoid that risk I linked to some wireless headphones for safety!!

wireless headset, headset to bring to a hostel
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5- Eye MaskEye masks are great for when your roommates decide to turn on the light at 2 a.m, to find their toothbrush while you are trying to sleep! Or if you feel like blocking out the early morning sun a mask is a smart thing to have.

eye mask, sleep mask, hostels
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6- Pillow Case– Yes I bring an extra pillow case with me while I’m staying in hostels. If you book into one hostel for the whole week you’ll most likely be sleeping in the same sheets and on the same pillowcase.Hostels will only replace them after you leave. Sleeping on the same pillowcase can be irritating to your skin if you are acne prone.

silk pillow case for hostels, travel, hair and skin
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Shower Essentials

7- Flip-flopsI’m not a person who usually wears Flip Flops on a regular basis but when I’m staying in hostels I make an exception. When it comes to showering in a public place such as hostel showers you will want to be wearing flip-flops.

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It’s easier than you think to get some nasty foot fungus from a public place. Plus flip-flops are nice to have for a spontaneous beach day or they’re even useful to wear as slippers in the hostel.



8-  Quick Dry Towel– Quick drying towels seriously rock! Whether your towel is wet from a shower or wet from a fun day at the beach it doesn’t matter. Quick drying towels dry incredibly quick. I’ve had situations where I only had a small amount of time for my towel to dry before it needed to be packed and it’s never a problem with these towels. This is the one I took to Australia:

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9-Packing Cubes– These are seriously a godsend. I have to say these are incredibly helpful for keeping you organized, and helping you save space. I like to roll my socks and underwear into one of the little laundry bags and then my pants, shirts and other items into the bigger cubes. The Laundry bags also make great bags for storing your cosmetics or storing your electronics

packing cubes for hostels, laundry bags for packing
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10-Playing Cards– Cards are a great way to entertain yourself and some of your new friends from the hostel. A game of Crazy 8’s is the perfect way to break the ice with those new friends, cards are also handy for drinking games as well. Cards Against Humanity is another favourite game for drinking.

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11- Scarf I mentioned this in my “Plane Essentials List” but I figured it was worth mentioning again. Having a scarf with you during your hostel adventure can make all the difference. If you bring a big enough scarf you can wrap yourself in it when your hostel sheets aren’t cutting it or you can wrap it around your neck in the traditional sense on a chilly day while you are out for a walk.

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12- Notepad +Pen It’s nice to write about your adventure, and keep track of what you’ve been up to on a daily basis or a weekly basis if daily is too much for you. I found writing was a nice way to unwind at night and to help me reflect on whats been going on. Notepads are also useful when you need to make a list of things to buy/things to do.
notebook for travel writing




13- Tissues– I found while I was traveling certain hostels made my allergies bad, so I appreciated having some tissues with me. Plus it’s easy to pick up a cold in a hostel since you’re in close quarters with many people.

14-Hand Sanitizer This kind of goes hand well with my last point about colds going around in hostels, a little hand sanitizer in your backpack is useful for a quick hand cleaning. You really don’t want to get the hostel “cough” everyone seems to pick up lol!

15- Hand Lotion– When you’re constantly cleaning your hands they tend to dry out a bit. A nice smelling lotion can make all the difference ti have for your hands and for the rest of your body. I like these hand creams by Cake Beauty they seriously smell like cake and they’re cruelty free!

hand cream for travel, travel essentials, dry hands
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16- Snacks– Before your trip it is well advised to bring a snack like protein bar with you in your luggage incase you get into the hostel late and are in need of something to eat. Once you are settled in your hostel take a walk to the grocery store and buy some snacks incase you feel like munching. Sharing snacks may seem like a grade school way to make friends but hey if it works then why not?

protein bars, vegan, snack for hostels, snack for travel


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17- Hair straightener Now I know this isn’t necessary to bring at all but when you wake up with your hair standing up every which way a hair straightener is nice to have. Plus when you and your friends from the hostel are getting ready for a night out they will appreciate the fact that you have a straightener. Even my guy friends were happy to have a straightener with them.

mini hair straightener, travel friendly
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18- Tablet/Ipad–  If you’re debating whether to bring your tablet or whether to bring your laptop than choose your tablet! It’s much easier to pack a tablet and way easier to go through security with one versus a laptop. There are so many restrictions on flying with a laptop now that unless it’s truly necessary for you to have it I would say save yourself the bullsh*t and skip it. Plus tablets have attachments that you can buy that make them comparable to a laptop, such as a keyboard attachment.

tablet, travel electronics
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19- Small Flashlight- Having a light is so helpful to have in the middle of the night, for the times when you wake up to pee and you need to find your hostel key so you can get back into your room. A mini flashlight is also ideal to have on a late night hike so you can see where you’re going. This Flashlights pretty cool because it’s also a bluetooth speaker as well:

mini flashlight for travel, bluetooth speaker
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20- Camera- Lastly this one seems a bit obvious but I can’t say how much I regret not taking many pictures with my new hostel friends. It’s kind of nice just to go back through photo’s and reminisce about your travels and the people you met. Yes cell phones have cameras too but they’re not always the same quality.

camera, camera for travel, point and shoot
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I hope my list helps you figure out what to bring when staying in a hostel and helps you have the best adventure yet! What do you think of my list? I’d love to hear your thoughts and I would love to know what you bring when you stay in hostels!