I’m trying to remember the first time I stayed in a hostel, and I believe it was in December, 2004. My most recent hostel stay? February 2020 (just weeks before everything went crazy!). That means I’ve been hosteling for a full fifteen years, and in that time I’ve perfected my personal hostel packing list. I know exactly what I need to bring to have a clean, comfortable, safe hostel stay, and I know exactly what I need to leave at home (either so that I can pack light, or so that I can have more room in my bag for shopping!).
If you’re new to hosteling, or if you haven’t stayed in a hostel in a while, you’ll want to make note of the travel essentials I’ve listed below. These products are inexpensive, multi-purpose and often useful at home or abroad… but they’re especially important in the shared living environment of a hostel.
I should mention that in this post I’m not going to talk about the obvious stuff you need, like a backpack or suitcase and a passport (and a positive attitude… this isn’t the first day of kindergarten!). That being said, if you want to know more about the backpack I took on my eight-month around-the-world trip, you can read my full review of the Deuter Traveler 60 + 10 backpack. I’ve been using that Deuter pack for a few years. Before I took it around the world, I also used it for two two-month Europe trips, and it has suited my travel style well. I pack toiletries and shoes in the separate bottom compartment, use the main compartment for clothes and books, and use the detachable daypack for hikes and day trips.
Hostel Dorm Room Packing List
Let’s start with the things on your hostel packing list that you’ll need in a dorm room, whether it’s a cute little four-bed dorm with an attached bathroom, or a massive twenty-bed dorm with more people than you can count.