How to get a good night’s sleep in a hostel
Sharing a dorm in a city centre hostel? Here’s how to make sure you get some solid rest whatever your fellow backpackers get up to…
1. Get a private (or nearly private) room
Pretty obviously, private rooms give you a touch more control over noise, lighting and so on - though unless you’ve managed to find a hostel with soundproof walls, you’ll still be able to hear what’s going on outside. Going private is less expensive than you might think, particularly if you choose a less central hostel or club together with friends to get a mid-size en-suite room. Basically, if sleep really matters to you don’t just plump for the cheapest dorm bed on offer - weigh up your finances and the hostel’s rates and see what you can realistically afford.
2. Tool up
What do you do when you’re trying to get some kip on an overnight flight? You grab the amenity kit and break out the earplugs and eye-mask. Do the same in the dorm. If you know you’re a crazy light sleeper and you can’t afford private rooms, invest in some good reusable earplugs before you hit the road - it’ll be much less hassle than constantly re-upping on disposable foam or silicone plugs. As for eye-masks, you kept the one from the flight, obviously…
3. Get a good routine
‘Routine’ sounds like the kiss of death for a backpacking trip. But we’re not talking about every single night - just the ones where you aren’t out partying and you want to catch up on your kip. Take a shower before you turn in; make yourself a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate (no caffeine, obvs); read quietly for an hour. Whatever works.
4. Make the place your own
Some travellers can sleep pretty much anywhere with a mattress, but if you’re a bit of an insomniac you might find a few home comforts help. Do what you can to make your sleeping space feel familiar – line books up against the wall, tie beads or scarves round the bed-frame… we’ve even seen travellers festoon their bed with favourite cuddly toys. Again, whatever works. You can put up photos too, but be careful of using tack; you don’t want to leave greasy marks on the dorm walls.
5. Be persuasive
Hostel dorms are shared spaces, and shared spaces mean negotiation. Make friends with your fellow travellers and try to be accommodating to them – you might find that in turn they’re willing to give you some peace and quiet if you ask nicely (or firmly). Just don’t steam in with a bunch of demands as soon as you arrive!