Are Hostels Safe: A Few Tips For Staying In Hostels In Europe And Hostel Security

So are hostels safe to stay in? This is a common question, and the resounding answer in my opinion is YES – they are absolutely safe! I’ve stayed in a lot of hostels all throughout Europe, and I’ve never had a problem with my safety. Movies like Hostel I and II aren’t doing anyone any favours (apart from being mildly comedic of course) when they’re thinking about backpacking and whether to stay in hostels.

Let us discuss a few important points when it comes to general safety and some security tips you can follow to ensure you have a great time staying in hostels around Europe.

Hostel Safety

I’ve always found hostels to be a safe and friendly environment. They are often manned, runned and owned by other travelers just like yourself, or people who have travelled a lot in the past.

Here are some hostel safety tips:

  • If you ever feel uncomfortable with someone or something that is happening, then ask the staff or other backpackers for help.
  • Always trust your instincts.
  • If you’re going out for the night to party, then round up a group or go with a group from the hostel, and don’t leave anyone behind. As backpackers, it’s important to look after each other.
  • General common sense is needed in a hostel, if you have that, then you’ll be fine.


Hostel Security

Here’s a few tips and tricks when it comes to hostel security:

  • Always use the lockers (if available) for your passport and other valuables. Don’t leave them lying around on your dorm bed. You can trust almost all other backpackers, but don’t let that one backpacker out of a hundred ruin your trip by stealing something.
  • If there are no lockers available in the hostel, you can lock up your backpack with some simple combination padlocks and carry your passport around on your person, or leave it locked up at reception. At night I sometimes would put my cash and passport underneath my pillow whilst I’m sleeping.
  • Most hostels should have adequate security measures in terms of codes for getting in late at night and lockers too. Many hostels have a reception open 24 hours a day – so even if you do arrive late you won’t have a problem getting in.

A cat on a wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He looks like he could keep anyone safe - so I thought I had better include him in this article!


Things to Remember when Staying in Hostels

Hostels are generally populated with other travelers, just like you! So don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and meet new people – I’ve made some great friends that I’m still in touch with by staying in hostels all around Europe.

Use the review pages on the hostel booking site that you’re using to help you make a decision. Of course you cannot rely on those completely as they can be manufactured, but it’s a great starting point. Don’t forget to leave an honest review yourself to help other backpackers once you’ve finished your stay.

Hostels are not hotels. You may find that there are not as many amenities and comforts as in a hotel room, but on the plus side you are paying a fraction of the price. However, this rule does not ALWAYS apply – I’ve seen a hostel in Croatia that had a huge flat screen TV with a PlayStation 3 plugged into it and loads of DVD’s to watch on a comfortable couch. A lot of hostels will surprise you with what they offer!

If you’re coming in late and people are sleeping, try and make as little noise as possible. It’s no fun being woken up at 4am in the morning when you have a train to catch at 7.30am.
Other backpackers are your best source of information when it comes to finding the best hostels to stay in. So take and give honest hostel recommendations without hesitation!

There are many misconceptions when it comes to staying in hostels. Many people seem to have this impression that hostels are dirty and full of only young people that want to drink and fornicate all day long. This just simply isn’t the case.

Of course it is very dependent on which hostel you are staying in, as some hostels will have a party friendly attitude and are notorious in backpacker circles as a place to go for partying. If you are not after that atmosphere, then it’s simple, don’t stay in that hostel! There are also places that are quiet and homely, I’ve seen a whole slew of various hostels, and I can guarantee you that there I always one that will meet your needs – whatever it is they may be.

Check out my other huge post on Hostels, which should answer any other general hostel questions you might have.

Have fun hostelling!


3 Responses to “Are Hostels Safe: A Few Tips For Staying In Hostels In Europe And Hostel Security”

  1. Great tips! Staying in hostels can be a bit daunting the first time (and maybe a few times after that!). Personally, I wouldn’t stay anywhere but in hostels. For the most part they are a great place to be and to meet new people. Definitely worth the (very occasional) horror stories!

  2. doug says:

    I have never been to a hostel before. It seems to be for younger people. My wife and I are going to Europe for two months and need to save money. We are in our early 30s, is that too old to stay in a hostel?

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