Are you planning to stay in a hostel anytime soon? Well, you came to the right place because our ultimate hostel packing list includes everything you will need to take with you!
Hostels are hands down the best choice of accommodation for a trip around Europe. They’re budget friendly, have great social hubs, and are always centrally located, near the best attractions around. Unlike hotels, there are many things’ hostels don’t provide, so if you’re a first-time traveller, this guide will help you check everything you need off your list.
The Must-Have Hostel Packing List for Backpacking
Keeping your belongings secure is paramount and since you will be staying in shared accommodation with many different people, you should keep your property safe. The people you meet in hostels are always nice but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Most hostels (and all HostelPass partner hostels) will have security lockers for you to store your belongings, but they may charge you a fee for the lock. You can save lots of money by bringing your own padlock to every hostel you stay in.
Pro travel packing hack: Bring one universal lock or two different padlocks that fit every kind of locker. Avoid the thick ones. Padlocks are also very useful for securing your backpack while you’re on a bus or train and for securing your day bag while you’re wandering through a busy city.
2. Microfibre Towel
Packing a towel can take up a lot of space in your backpack or suitcase quickly, unless it’s a super compact microfibre towel. These towels roll up very small, dry extra quickly, and are lightweight, making it the perfect towel for travellers on-the-go. You can shower in the morning and pack up the dry towel by checkout! Like padlocks, some hostels will have regular (non-microfibre) towels available for you, but they’ll likely charge you a small fee.
Pro travel packing hack: Always bring your own microfibre towel as some hostels won’t provide towels and you will save lots of money.
Earplugs are your key to a good night’s sleep in a hostel. If you want to make sure that a snoring bunkmate, a loud busy street, or someone coming in or out of the room once you’re already tucked in won’t keep you awake, earplugs are the secret.
Pro travel packing hack: Get noise cancelling earplugs. They will level up your sleep!
4. Eye Mask / Sleeping Mask
Many hostels provide you with a little extra privacy by adding a curtain to bunk beds, which is awesome, but it won’t guarantee a great night’s sleep.
Your travel sleep schedule can be hectic at times. Whether you’re trying to get some rest on a plane, bus, or train, trying to sleep while your dorm mates have the light on, or when the sun is rising, an eye mask will be your life saver! With a sleeping mask, you can always go to sleep on your own terms, anywhere and at any time.
Pro travel packing hack: Find a moulded sleeping mask. It has a 3D design that is contoured around your eyes and provides a total blackout effect.
5. Travel Pillow
Having a travel pillow is a great idea as trying to sleep during a long journey can be rough. The more comfortable you can make it for yourself, the better!
Pro travel packing hack: Buy a pillow that you can either inflate or that comes with its own small storage pouch, to save a lot of room in your bag.
6. Mini Travel Toiletries
Some hostels may provide shower gel and shampoo, but don’t bank on it. We recommend grabbing yourself a set of travel-sized toiletries. Here are some essentials that you should consider getting: a shower gel, shampoo + conditioner (save space by getting a 2-in-1), toothpaste, travel toothbrush, deodorant, sunscreen, and hairbrush.
Pro travel packing hack: Get a small transparent toiletry bag to save space in your backpack and keep airport security a seamless process. Think about a waterproof one that you can take into the shower with you (hostel showers are usually big, with shelves and hooks to put your clothes and toiletries on!)
7. Universal Travel Adapter
This one’s an absolute must. There’s nothing worse than getting back to your hostel with 3% battery on your phone, and no means of charging it. There are many different adapters out there, but we recommend buying a universal power adapter as many countries have different electric power sockets.
Pro travel packing hack: Find a universal adapter with USB ports included its way more versatile.
8. Power Bank
Unsurprisingly, during your travels you will find that you are going to be travelling A LOT. Hopping around cities and countries is great… if you have all your gadgets fully charged to keep you entertained. If you’re lucky, some busses, trains, and planes have charging ports but usually this is where having a power bank is key! Make sure you fully charge your power bank in the hostel so you can use it during your journey for your phone, laptop, tablet, or earphones.
Pro travel packing hack: Buy two power banks (in different sizes) and make sure you always have at least one of them fully charged for your journey.
9. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is something that a lot of people don’t think about before embarking on their adventure. Accidents happen and medical expenses can be extortionate when you’re travelling, so you want to make sure that insurance can cover those bills and you’re not forking out of your travel savings.
Travel insurance is also great for protecting your valuables in case they break or get stolen and when unexpected flight cancellations happen.
10. Mini First Aid Kit
This is probably the number one thing that most people are likely to forget, but it’s one of the most important to pack. Accidents can happen very easily and your mini first aid kit should contain all the essential first aid items for a first medical response. Make sure it has things like plasters, blister plasters, painkillers, antiseptic solution, gloves, eyewash, thermometer… the more you can fit in your compact kit, the better!
Pro travel packing hack: Ensure you get your first aid kit from a trusted source, where the kit has been tested and verified.
Other Non-Essential but Very Useful Travel Packing Items
1. Shower Shoes
Hostels keep a very high standard of cleanliness, especially HostelPass hostels (see what to expect from a HostelPass hostel here), but we can’t speak for the other guests… We know we’re being overly cautious, but you can never be too safe! They are public showers after all, being used by many people every day.
2. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes have been the secret to organised and compact packing for a while now. They are great for backpackers because instead of having to empty your backpack every time you need something, packing cubes can easily help you locate what you’re looking for, and keep your backpack neat and organised.
Pro travel packing hack: A packing cube can double up as a pillow, laundry bag, shoe bag or cosmetics bag. We love a multi-use travel item!
Hostel Packing List: How To Pack for Backpacking
To fit all your hostel and travel essentials, you need to invest in a very durable, big, and functional backpack. Backpacking is all about efficient and light travel, therefore you want to be able to fit all your items in one sizeable backpack.
Pro travel packing hack: Think about getting a backpack that has a waterproof cover built in, so you can keep your things safe and dry if you are walking in the rain.
Did you find our ultimate hostel & travel packing list useful? Let us know in the comments below, and if you have any other tips or travel packing essentials you swear by, we would love to know!