Solo travellers 40+ in hostels? Yes! Read all about it in this guide for hostels

If you travel alone, hostels are really a godsend. In the beginning of my travels, I didn’t go there but after a while, it is nice and cosy to be in the ‘hustle and bustle’ of a hostel. The prices, especially if you are travelling for longer, are a lot friendlier for solo travellers. Since hostels do require a different approach, I’m happy to share all about it with you in this hostel handbook for Solo travellers 40+ in hostels

In the title, I write solo traveller 40+ in hostels…. I could also have put 50- because this year I’m ticking 50. And I can tell you, I am by no means the oldest. So even for travellers over 50: You are welcome in a hostel.

Read all about it in this guide solo travellers 40+ in hostels

Solo travellers 40+ in hostels? Yes! Read all about it in this guide for hostels
In Nairobi – Kenia, Africa there are even dorms in safari tents

Modern hostels vs Ancient hostels

I think a lot of hostels are really luxurious… especially if you compare it to 10 years ago. Earlier, questions like ‘should I bring a sleeping bag to a hostel’ or ‘do they have towels in a hostel’ were quite normal. Now that is more the exception than the rule. In almost all hostels they have bedding, sometimes they still ask you if you want to collect the bedding after your stay. A towel is also often put on the bed free of charge.

One hostel is not the other but … often you can use a washing machine. Usually you have a kitchen at your disposal with lots of kitchen utensils in good condition though. If you are lucky, you can make coffee and tea and there will be snacks for you.

Still, there really are some handy things you would like to know in advance of your visit.

What do you need in a hostel?

  • A lock for your locker

Which is far from being settled anyway… A lock on your locker. It seems they often lose these locks and so hostels often choose that you have to bring a lock yourself. I must confess that I often forget lock and so put everything in that cupboard and don’t lock it. Not safe of course and you can be unlucky but also nice to mention is that I have never had anything taken from my closet. I obviously cannot recommend this and so just take a lock from home.

As a solo traveller, I often use hostels - Read all about it in this hostel handbook - Safe and Healthy Travel
Hostel in Singapore – Guide for hostels

In this hostel (The Pod Boutique Capsule Hotel) in Singapore, the cupboard under the bed was simply locked with a pass. Just such a pass I used to open the room and the front door. So here I didn’t need a lock.

  • Ear plugs against snorers

There’s no getting around it. You will always come across a dorm where there is a big snorer. But even if that is not the case but someone still decides to check social media and thinks they are quietly listening in…. That may seem quiet but in a quiet room, sound goes a long way. You hear this when you want to go to sleep and then earplugs are a godsend.

  • Earphones for your smartphone (headphones)

Do you like to use your social media in bed? Make a movie or put on some music? Connecting earphones or headphones to your device would be nice. You can go about your business and no one will hear you. Even if you want to watch Netflix or other films, it is of course nice.

  • As little luggage as possible which is noisy

If you carry a bag or a lot of stuff that creaks when you take something out or grab it, this can be very distracting. For example, a plastic packing cube or pressure bag. Or if you have a lot of metal with you. walking sticks / drinking bottles / carabiners on your bag. These can make a lot of noise against the side of a cupboard/bed or on the ground in the night or early morning.

Of course, if you can take it into account, that would be very nice for your fellow hostel users.

  • Quick-drying towel

Since a towel is not always quite standard yet, I always take a quick-drying towel with me. And those are of course more often handy when travelling. If you don’t have one with you, it’s often no problem and you can use one of their towels for a small fee.

  • Pyjama

You don’t always think about this right away if you’re only used to sleeping in hotels. But in a hostel, if you need to go to the toilet late in the evening / or in the night, it’s nice that you still look a bit tidy. Sometimes you have to cross a corridor or go through other common areas before you get to the bathroom or toilets.

  • Flipflops

Flip-flops are also nice to slip on quickly then. Slippers are also nice if you hate standing in a shower where others have stood just before you. Also to prevent foot fungus. If you want to use them for that, you have to take that into account on the rest of your trip. You will not be able to wear them outside.

As a solo traveller, I often use hostels - Read all about it in this hostel handbook - Safe and Healthy Travel
Zostel in Kathmandu – Nepal

Read all about the do’s and don’ts
in this handbook
Solo travellers 40+ in hostels

De do’s and don’ts for hostels

In hostels, you are really supposed to be considerate of your roommates. You don’t have the room to yourself which means you can’t unpack half your bag and leave it lying around. If you want to dry your laundry, you will have to do so in a special room, and yes, someone else’s laundry will also be hanging there.

A few points I would like to highlight in this hostel handbook. Just because they irritate me when someone does this without embarrassment while I’m already in bed on time after a long trip…or want to sleep a bit longer….

  • Packing your bag the night before you leave

Are you heading out early the next day? Then make sure you have already packed most of it. This is to avoid having to pack your big bag and all sorts of stuff. Of course, this makes quite a bit of noise in a quiet room.

As a solo traveller, I often use hostels - Read all about it in this hostel handbook - Safe and Healthy Travel

  • Don’t eat in bed

In many hostels, you are not allowed to take food into the sleeping quarters but not everywhere this is well signposted. And not everyone abides by this when the curtain is closed and no one can see you. But if you are then in your room/on your bed don’t go eating e.g. chips. You know the crunchy bag of course, but think about the eating sounds that come with it.

  • Being quiet in the sleeping area

In the sleeping area, you should actually be quiet at all times. Unless you are very sure you are there alone. There are travellers who might come from another time zone and catch up on their sleep. So don’t start talking on the phone in the shared sleeping area. But even if you set an alarm, don’t lie around snoozing!

And definitely don’t scroll through your social media with sound on without earphones in or headphones on. But also. turn off your phone’s vibrate function. You might not realise it yourself if you are already asleep but 1 or 2 beds down or below / above you might be felt or heard.

As a solo traveller, I often use hostels - Read all about it in this hostel handbook - Safe and Healthy Travel
Your own lockable cabin in a hostel – Kyrgyzstan

What does a room/bed look like in a hostel?

This can vary a lot. In recent years, the cubicle or capsule is very much on the rise. This can be along the long side along a wall, but also with your head end on the wall. So then you all lie next to each other and often there are fine walls between them.

I really like these hostels. You do have an enclosed bed either through a curtain or a sliding door. In the cabin or capsule there is often a lamp, charging facilities for your phone/laptop and a shelf to put your things on. If you are lucky, it even has a television, as I had this once in Kyrgyzstan!

Some hostels still have the old-fashioned beds or bunk beds. You still find these old-fashioned hostels on pilgrimages in Spain only there they are called hostels. Or they are the cheaper hostels, but even there they really make something of it.

Once, I also had a really small room of my own to myself. That was in Koh Lipe at the Seahorse Hostel. Only the top of the room was still open so you did get the fresh and cool air from the air conditioner hanging in the narrow corridor. I thought it was super place!

As a solo traveller, I often use hostels - Read all about it in this hostel handbook - Safe and Healthy Travel
TOC hostel in Barcelona even has a swimmingpool!

Solo travellers 40+ in hostels
What is your favorite hostel?

The main advantages of a hostel

  • Goede manier om mensen te leren kennen

In a hotel, you are a solo traveller and in hostels, you are part of a community. So things are organised, either by the hostel itself or by the people who are there. In most hostels, you will find a list of fun trips organised for visitors. From city walks and food tours to e.g. a nice yoga class. The nice thing about it is also that these often don’t cost much and are crowded with fellow solo travellers.

  • Nice communal areas to sit.

Because in a hostel you don’t have your own room where they expect you to sit there or be outside, in a hostel you can enjoy being in communal areas. There is often a kitchen and dining area, but also areas for working and relaxing. Nice seats, relaxing sofas and nice corners have been created. You don’t usually find this in mainstream hotels.

  • Book the best trips

I often notice that when I am in a hotel and ask what there is to do in the area people just don’t know. Hotels are focused on living within the walls of the hotel and making the guest comfortable there. They are not focused on the traveller who has yet to figure out what to do the next day.

That is one of the reasons I often stay in hostels I must confess. They know exactly for you what to book, what to do and also where to book it for a nice price.

As a solo traveller, I often use hostels - Read all about it in this hostel handbook - Safe and Healthy Travel
Fine spaces for general use in hostels – Greece – Solo travellers 40+ in hostels

How to find the nicest hostels?

Initially, I always searched on Hostelworld. It was the app to find hostels and other alternative stays with a nice price tag. Now you can also find hostels on the bigger sites like Booking.

To end on a positive note in this hostel handbook, I have some fun facts for you.

Did you know that? – All about hostels

  • Did you know that in hostels you can quite often book a private room too?

Did you know that hostels are really not just for the teenager or twenty-something anymore? I am 40+ and like them and also feel at home there because of the way I travel. You meet people of all ages and walks of life!

  • Did you know that hostels are often in nice places too?

Where hotels more often choose a location so that they are easily accessible for bus tours and larger groups, a hostel may choose to be in the small streets and just close to the places you want to be. This sometimes saves you a lot of travel and the costs that come with it. Very cosy when you walk out and are right in the centre. Do look for a place where it is still quiet at night… are nice I think.

Will you share this solo travellers 40+ in hostels handbook with your fellow travellers who are still in doubt?


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