10 Hostel Essentials You Always Need to Pack

I’ve stayed in my fair share of hostels. I’ve probably stayed in more hostels than any one person should. I mean they’re cheap and great when you’re a poor student who can’t afford the luxury of a hotel room.

Hostels are unlike any other travel accommodation you will ever stay in. You’re in a dorm with a bunch of other travellers with different schedules, interests, and levels of respect (I’m talking to everybody who has ever thrown on a hostel light at 4am when coming home from a bar.

The ten things on this list should always be in your luggage when you’re staying at a hostel. They will help you have a better experience and be a good dorm mate!

1. A Reading Light or Torch

You will want to have a reading light, travel light, torch, or something similar in your bag when you’re staying in a hostel. A reading light is able to be used in multiple ways in a hostel.

It can be used for reading when other hostel dorm mates are trying to sleep, of course. But it can also be used to guide you to the washroom in the middle of the night, find something that has fallen behind the bed, or to check for bed bugs and overall cleanliness.

A reading light is so small that it won’t take up much space in your bag, so there is no reason not to bring one! You’ll be surprised how often you use it. I sure was.

2. Locks

You need to bring locks with you to the hostel. They are essential.

You should bring more than one lock. You’ll need one for each bag (so two if you have a backpack and a day bag), one for a locker you may be allowed to use in the hostel, and one more just in case you lose a lock somewhere.

A lock that comes with a cable is even better, so you can wrap your bag around your bed and be extra-secure. It is probably a bit extra, but it is nice to have a cable just in case the hostel you chose is a little bit sketchy.

3. External Battery

Plug-ins are in short supply in hostels, and there often won’t be one near your bed. An external battery is absolutely essential. You should never travel without one, but they are even more essential when you’re at a hostel.

I like external batteries that have more than one USB port, so I can charge multiple devices at once or be a hero and help another hostel mate out by sharing my external battery.

External batteries can be a little heavy, but you can also get a “lipstick chargerr” to pack in your day bag or purse. They are lightweight and are extremely helpful in a crisis.


4. Flip Flops or Sandals

Hostels aren’t the cleanest places no matter how hard the staff works at keeping them clean. Your bare feet should never touch anything. You need to pack a pair of flip flops or other cheap sandals to shower and walk around in.

You may want to bring a small bag to put your sandals in, so they don’t get your bag (and the rest of your stuff) wet or dirty.

Sandals will make your hostel experience infinitely better. The first time I stayed at a hostel I didn’t think so bring sandals, so I showered in a pair of socks. It was not a very pleasant experience, so don’t make the same mistake I did!

5. Ear Plugs

Hostels are loud no matter how quiet everybody tries to be. People are talking, snoring, moving around, and just being people. You have 4-12 people in the same room, so things are bound to be noisier than you’re used to.

Earplugs make a huge difference in hostels. You get a much better sleep, and if you’re anything like me and get headaches if you sleep in a loud environment, earplugs do a lot to benefit your overall health.

I love using silicon earplugs. They are far more comfortable than the traditional foam earplugs, and they are better for the environment because they are reusable. You just have to rinse them off every so often, and you’re good to use them for the rest of your life!

6. Laundry Bag

Whether you’re travelling long-term or just for a few days, a laundry bag is a great addition to any hostel packing list.

A laundry bag is handy because it can be used for both storing clothes and doing laundry. You can put all your dirty clothes in your laundry bag each day and then throw the entire bag into the washing machine when it is full.

Laundry bags are super lightweight and easy to pack, so you have no excuse for not bringing one. They make long-term travel where you have to wash clothes so much easier. You will never lose a sock again with a laundry bag!

7. Universal Power Adaptor

Universal power adaptors are so much smaller, lighter, and more convenient than they were just five years ago! It is amazing how much better they have gotten!

Gone are the days where you have to bring a huge power adaptor and multiple different plugins for each region you are travelling to.

Nowadays universal power adaptors are tiny and have all the different plugins built into one single items, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing each individual plugin or bringing the wrong one.

Power adaptors are an essential part of any international travel so make sure you pack one!

8. Book

You will undoubtably have a lot of downtime in hostels while you are travelling. You could spend hours watching Netflix or YouTube, or you could spend hours reading a great book.

Books are a great form of entertainment. You can easily carry them around with you while you’re out exploring a city, they don’t take up room in your bag, and paperbacks aren’t heavy.

Most hostels have a library where you can exchange one book for another. Once you’re done reading one book, you can add it to the hostel’s library and take another book that interests you.

You can easily travel for months with only packing one book by exchanging in libraries, so you don’t have to worry about carrying dozens of books that you’ve read on your travels.

Prague Cechia Czech Republic

9. Sleeping Mask

Hostels are bright. They often have cheap curtains that don’t keep the light out very well and people are always turning on the light when you’re trying to sleep. It is one of the downsides to hostels.

If you want to get any decent sleep, you need a sleeping mask. I like the 3-D sleeping masks. They do a better job at contouring to your face, keeping the light out, and being overall more comfortable.

It is amazing how well a good quality sleeping mask can keep the light out while you’re sleeping. They make a huge difference in hostels (especially when paired with ear plugs).

10. Quick-Dry Towel

You need to bring your own towel when staying at hostels, and the best towels for hostels are quick-drying microfibre towels.

They are amazing! They soak up the water from your hair and body so quickly and dry just as fast. I’ve showered and used a quick-dry towel on my hair and then packed it an hour later, and it was dry.

Quick-dry towels are a travel essential no matter where you’re staying when you travel, but they are even more essential when you’re staying in hostels. Space is so limited in hostels that having something that dries quickly and doesn’t need to hang out all night to dry makes all the difference.

I like to pack two towels when I travel. One for my hair and one for my body. The towels are so small that it doesn’t take up much room in your bag to pack multiple towels.

Quick-dry towels actually take up far less room than traditional towels, so there is no reason not to pack one!


Staying in a hostel is a unique travel experience, and you need to make sure you pack properly in order to have the best experience in hostels.

These ten items will make your hostel experience so much better and easier. You will get a better sleep, be able to make sure all your electronics are properly charged, and be able to use the communal bathroom without worrying too much about germs.

10 Travel Essentials to Never Leave Home Without

There are certain travel essentials you always need no matter how short your trip is. Even if you are only gone for a day or two, you will be happy to have these 10 travel essentials in your bag!

Trying to decide what should go in your carryon? Check out this article.

1. Camera

How are you supposed to take beautiful pictures of your trip and make your friends jealous if you don’t have a camera? Your smartphone can take pictures, but the pictures you get from a camera will be a lot higher quality.

The Cannon PowerShot SX730 is a great option if you want to take high-quality photos without lugging around a huge DSLR camera. It is an easy camera to use, and doesn’t take up much space in your bag. The zoom feature is incredible, and the pictures always come out clear.

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is the perfect option for people on a budget. This is the camera I used when I first started travelling, and I loved it. I still use it from time to time. You can’t beat the quality you get with this camera at this price point. The only thing I don’t like about it is the zoom. The zoom feature is not the best, so you won’t be able to get a clear picture of things a long ways away.

Copenhagen Denmark 10 Travel Essentials to Neve Leave Home Without
Camera help you snap high-quality pictures

2. SD Camera Card Reader

This is probably my favourite item on my list of travel essentials. It is simple to use, and it is perfect for getting photos onto your phone. This makes posting high-quality images on social media a breeze.

An SD camera card reader allows you to take pictures directly off your SD card and download them onto your phone. This means you can share all your best pictures with family and friends without having to take pictures on your phone. You take pictures with your camera, download them to your phone, and send away.

3. Microfiber Towel

I never leave home without a microfiber towel. Even when I’m staying hotels that I know provide towels, I always pack my own towel.

Microfiber towels dry quickly, so you can shower right before you leave, and your towel will be dry. They are also good for your hair because they do not pull as much as a regular towel does.

Disneyland Paris Donal Duck 10 Travel Essentials
Donald supports the use of microfiber towels

4. External Battery

An external battery is essential on any trip. It charges any electronic that uses a USB port. You can charge your phone, tablet, and some cameras with it.

Anybody that uses electronics often needs an external battery. It will save you when your phone is almost dead, and you need to get directions to your next destination.

External batteries are light, compact, and can charge multiple devices at once. They’re inexpensive as well! I normally have at least 2 external batteries with me whenever I travel.

5. Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are at the top of my list of travel essentials. Travelling is hard on the skin, so you need to take care of it.

Sheet masks are so small and light to pack that you won’t even notice they are taking up space in your suitcase. You can pack a few individual sheets, or you can buy a pack of 36 for longer trips.

Your skin will thank you after your trip because you took care of it while you were away. Trust me.

6. Books

Reading is the best way to kill time while travelling. Or at least I think it is. Books are a great way to make plane, train, and bus rides go by quickly.

I love reading paperbacks, but I also love audiobooks. Audiobooks don’t take up any room in your bag, so you don’t have to worry about packing and carrying a heavy book.

Prague Cechia Czech Republic 10 Travel Essentials I Never Leave Home Without
Reading by the river in Prague

7. The Perfect Pair of Shoes

You walk a lot when travelling, so you need a good pair of shoes. If you have a comfortable pair of shoes, your feet will thank you at the end of every day.

I walk at least 10km a day when I travel, so I need a good pair of shoes. I always wearing hiking shoes even though they aren’t the most stylist. My feet being comfortable and free of blisters is more important than wearing cute heels.

8. Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a game changer for travellers. They make every travel essentials list out there for a reason.

They make packing simple, and they maximize space. You put your clothes into the cubes then put the cubes in your suitcase, and you’re good to go! They are hassle-free and extremely convenient.

Galway Ireland Statue 10 Travel Essentials I Never Leave Home Without
The feeling when packing is a breeze because you use packing cubes

9. Headphones

Headphones are a must-bring while travelling. If you’re listening to music or videos, you need headphones, so you don’t disturb the people around you.

I prefer the earbud-style because they don’t take up much space in my bag. I find them comfortable, but a lot of people don’t.

Large headphones that cover the ears are very popular. Most styles are noise cancelling, so they are ideal for plane and train travel. They keep out the background noise, so you can relax and enjoy your travel in silence.

10. Travel Insurance

You need travel insurance. Even if you’re only gone a couple of days, you still need it. You never know what is going to happen, so travel insurance needs to always be on your list of travel essentials.

I know people like to be frugal when they travel, but not getting travel insurance as a way to save money is not a good choice. It is always better to be safe and have insurance than be sorry you don’t if something goes wrong.

You feel secure when you know you have insurance, so you know you can try everything you want to without the worry of not being insured. Going skydiving is scary enough, but it is even scarier when you don’t have health insurance.