Tips for long-term hostel living

Somewhere in between partying 24/7 and all that (hungover) sightseeing during your travels abroad, you’ve managed to secure yourself a job in a new and exciting city that you have fallen in love with. You think you’ve hit the jackpot, as you can self-fund your travels, while on your travels (the dream!). Now, you’ll need to find a semi-permanent place to stay, but there are a few things that don’t tickle your fancy during your search for accommodation. After checking the rent prices for apartments, you’ve decided to afford one you could either sell a limb or rob a bank (both don’t jump out as feasible to me). Not to mention living alone in an apartment, in a new city, doesn’t seem as sociable as you’d have hoped. But, thankfully I have a solution for you, so don’t go chopping off your arm, just yet…

Long term hostel living? What’s that you might ask?

Firstly, yes, it’s a thing and secondly, it’s a rather great option for multiple reasons. From free food and entertainment around town, such as free entry into clubs, attractions and tours, to meeting like-minded backpackers who are passing through and the satisfaction from being able to help them with suggestions on things to see and do while they’re in town (because, after living in a hostel you’re a local bank of knowledge).

So, if you’re planning on, or, already are living in a hostel, read on to discover my top tips!

1. Bulk pay your rent

By paying your rent weekly it allows you to budget your money better. You’ll know that you have a roof over your head for the next week and how much money you’ll have left over, but the BEST reason to do this is… WEEKLY RATES! Many hostels will offer a discount to backpackers that are staying long term or book week by week, which will end up saving you a good chunk of money over time.

Tips for living long term in a hostel - traveller - backpacker

2. Ask about a long-term dorm

When possible speak to the manager and ask if there are any long-term dorms available. They will never be listed as such when you check-in, but often, you’ll find a 6-bed dorm tucked away on one of the floors that has long-termers (as they are affectionately called). If you’re going to be staying in a hostel for a while there are many benefits of staying in a long-term dorm, such as, your fellow long-termers understanding that you are there for work and not to party all night (as they will most likely be there for the same reason).  Plus, it will also allow you to switch off a little by knowing who is in your room when you get back, after a long day/night at work. Not to mention you won’t have to continuously go through the formalities of meeting new people every. single. day.

3.  Remember you don’t actually live there…

It’s still a shared space after all, and other people are paying the same money as you to be there. So, remember, keep your belongings to yourself and the communal areas clean. It’s not your house back at home and your Mum isn’t going to clean up after you. Now’s the perfect time to show off your ‘adult’ skills.

4. Check in to a smaller room

When I first moved to Australia, I lived in an 18-bed dorm for 3 months and it was great. No really, when I say I had a blast, I mean it! With that being said, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. In fact, when I mention it to most people, they’re in disbelief. If you value privacy over socialisation, a great option is getting yourself a smaller room. That way, you’ll still have the perks of a shared dorm, but with just an extra bit of privacy. Yes, it might cost you a little more but it could be worth your while if privacy is ranked higher on your list than most things.

Tips for long term hostel living - group and guitar

5. Organise communal dinners

If you’re lucky enough to have a few long-termers around you, a great idea is to get a system going where you each take turns to cook for each other. ‘Come dine with me’ style! It’s a great way to split the costs of dinners, plus you don’t have to cook every night and you’ll get to try new foods from around the world, a win-win if you ask me! I should mention, this was one of the highlights of living in a hostel, for me.

6. Don’t stay too long

There’s no limit as to how long you can live in a hostel, but don’t forget the reason why you travelled to a new part of this wonderful planet…to explore! Don’t allow yourself to get too comfy by watching Netflix in bed every night and frequenting the same places. Once you have saved enough money or just feel like it’s time to move on; move!

Long term hostel living - pool and volleyball

7. Ask about a job

If you’re going to be staying for a while, you might want to cut down on the rent you pay by working at the hostel. I worked two nights per week at my hostel, and in return, I got free rent. I had pretty much no expenses other than food (and drinks!), which allowed me to save money a lot faster. Working two jobs can be tiring but, it’s definitely worth it.

8. Be welcoming to newbies

Don’t forget how scary it can be walking into a dorm room for the first time. The uneasy feeling you get in your stomach when walking into the unknown and not knowing who you’re about to meet (and if they also love binge watching Love Island). So, just because you’ve been there for 2 months and have seen a hundred different people come and go, try to remember to always be welcoming and friendly towards new travellers! Strive to be the long-termer who knows everything about the hostel or area and share it. You’ll be a hit among your fellow travel-lovers in no time!

Tips for long term hostel living - table tennis

9.  Figure out the hostel’s ‘routine’

What I mean by this is, pay attention to the little things that may make your life easier. Are you in a town where everyone wakes up early and showers at 8 am because a popular tour starts at 9 am? Or where, everyone does their laundry on a Sunday, because the bus leaves on Monday? Learn this insider information, so you know when the showers are going to be free, or equally, so you don’t have to wait hours for a laundry machine. Trust me, it will make your life much easier and it’ll help ensure that you don’t turn up to work un-showered and in yesterday’s clothes!

10. Make local friends

This is a great opportunity to meet the locals. People who can show you their way of life, what they spend their time doing and hopefully, some local secrets! During my past adventures, I’ve been shown the best hot-springs, surf spots and restaurants, all from people who either lived or grew up in the area.

So, there you have it. Living in a hostel is an experience unlike any other and I say you should absolutely embrace it and dive straight in!

Do you think you can you live in a hostel? My answer would most definitely be YES!

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