Hostels are always thought to be everything filthy with a high chance of getting your luggage stolen. I had had this perception for many a year so I never dared to give them a chance until last year. Granted if I had to choose my own accommodation last year I would have {and did} chosen a hotel. I went to a youth conference in Hamburg and everything was arranged by the church including the hostel accommodation. I was slightly dreading it for the hygienic side but was excited because I would be with my fellow congregants.

Disclaimer: NOT every hostel will be the same, this post is based on my personal experience.

the essential hostel packing list

Hostels are not always the first choice for many a traveler but for two reasons: cheaper and company. When you choose to stay in a hostel, you also are willing to do without some hotel essentials but then again hostels differ. In one hostel you would be without hair dryers or even towels in others you have it all but lack something else. Generator Hamburg was my first hostel experience last year, as mentioned it was booked by the church. I will say this was a great introduction to the hostel community and the many benefits. Whilst I was there with fellow church members the vibe alone of the place was electric.

Though I loved Generator Hamburg enough to book Generator Stockholm, it had its own issues. Like most hostels the bedding is always a little on the light side, it does keep you warm but not like home. The recent hostel I stayed in Happy Go Lucky in Berlin was everything interesting, I will do a separate review. Whilst I am happy to being a hostel convent I still feel you need the essential hostel list to survive your stay.


As I have mentioned, every hostel is different but they also have something in common, they are not a hotel. Your expectations of what should be in a hostel should not match your hotel expectations. Whilst I don’t comprise on clean sheets and bathrooms, I do compromise on what not to expect from a hostel. The following items I feel are an absolute must have when staying in a hostel.

Ear plugs. I have learnt this the hard way and I truly mean the hard way. Upon arrival late at night in Berlin, I quickly allocated my bed, made and proceed to take a shower. I came back to a room with what could only be described as a bull crying. It was late, I was tired and no ear plugs so I resorted to wearing headphones and cranking up the volume. That was not a good idea, my ears are still hurting from too loud music and sleeping on headphones.


Towel. I know what you’re thinking, hostels should {and do} provide towels but so far I have been given guest towels. Seriously like, how you gonna give me a kiddie bath towel? I suggest if you have a light but big towel, pack that luxury as you will need it.

Toiletries. This is a no-brainer but the amount of people who forget toiletries and have to purchase at the hostel is ridiculous. Bring your own everything especially if you will want to wash your hair, bring your own. Some hostels provide shower gels but honestly I trust that stuck as far as I can throw it.

Padlocks. Every hostel offers lockers and storage spaces but almost none offer them with locks free. Whilst some hostels are safe enough and if it’s a group you might not need it but solo travelers do. I enjoy traveling around the world alone but I also get paranoid when it comes to keeping my stuck unlocked. Best pack a couple different ones just to be on the safe or even call the hostel in advance so you know what you need.

Tip: Bring your own padlock as some hostels can charge extortionate amounts.

Portable charger. This goes without saying, as travelers we are at the mercy of the location we are when our gadgets die. It’s there paramount to ensure you carry your portable charge everywhere you go including the hostel. I found myself in an unfortunate situation of an 8 bed dorm with all power outlets in use for hours. Thanks to my portable charger and cables I lasted longer with my gadgets than would have otherwise.

House shoes or slippers. Whilst I am NOT saying bring your fluffiest I am saying carry some flip-flops for the retched bathroom floors. The amount of times I have stepped on what I do not even want to describe is enough to ponder this point. Though I belabor the point I am also a culprit at forgetting and end up using my socks as flip-flops.

Whilst the list is endless of essential hostel packing items one needs in a hostel the above are my essentials. I could also add another item to the list and that’s packing your ‘comfiest pajamas’. I am not a fan of sleeping non-pajama closes so I always ensure I have packed mine every single time.

What would you include on your essential hotel packing list? From my list what would you exclude?