Accommodation is really important when traveling and many people prefer paying less for it and spend more on other things. Staying in a hostel is perfect for backpackers, those who want a less fancy vacation, for those who decided to stay for longer at their destination but couldn't find spare hotel rooms. This is a first-timer’s guide to staying in a hostel to have you prepared in time.
Make sure you get your discount cards for an even lower price. The International Hostelling card is one of the most popular of them and it can be used everywhere in the world. Some counties have issued their own cards that can only be used there. The discounts can be applied in select stores or even when booking a plane ticket, so check out the various offers.
There are backpackers who prefer to book ahead of time, and this sounds like a good idea for a first times as well. Other experienced travelers prefer just wandering around with a guide in search for a hostel. Before you decide, make sure to read the reviews and pieces of advice from previous guests, as they surely know better.
Expect to share the room with about 5 other people, but sometimes, you can find up to 20 beds per room. Choose this option if you want to pay the least per night. Some hostels have private rooms or suites, but do expect to pay more for those. Remember the primary goal of these locations is to offer a place to sleep at and somewhere to wash off. Some female travelers feel safer when sleeping in an all female room therefore do that extra research if you don't want to sleep with the opposite gender in the same room. There are many folks who simply forget the basic rules to courtesy and might just walk in on you when you're half naked, so make sure you have something to cover yourself with fast.
Be wary of alcohol because everyone staying at a hostel will be drinking. Alcohol can make people open up easier, but this is a double sided sword as you don't want to share too much. If you want to make new friends you are better off asking for directions and other useful information as many of them like to help others and this would make them feel better.
Think about securing your belongings anyway you can. Thieves are everywhere, even in the hostel's room. One way of securing what you own is by carrying it with you everywhere, or leaving it in a secure place like a safe or at the front desk.
Before you pay for your bed, see if you can inspect the room, if you get clear information on how secure the place is, if the are pets you should know about in case of an allergy, and so on. You should also know about the emergency exits, how secure the windows are, if you can open and close them freely. Your stay will be more pleasant with the most worries set aside.