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Staying at hostels as you explore new places is a great way to save some money or have extra to spend on those all-important experiences. Unlike hotels, hostels don’t come with all the expected amenities so strategic packing is required to make sure you’re not caught short without shower gel or a towel. So, we have created a travel essentials checklist so you don’t forget any necessities…

Ear plugs

Though some hostels, like many of YHA’s residences, have individual rooms to book, the majority are primarily sharing spaces. This comes with many social benefits but once you’re ready to sleep, you’re not likely to appreciate some chatty travellers getting to know each other. Pack ear plugs for guaranteed peace and quiet; you’ll really appreciated it when you have to wake up early for your next adventure. A must on a travel essentials checklist!

Sleeping mask

Following on from ear plugs, we advise packing a sleeping mask or two (you might want to share or have a spare). It’s almost impossible to know how far away you’ll be sleeping from a window and may need extra assistance to get good quality shut-eye. Eye masks take up no space and can guarantee a dark environment for when you need to catch up on precious sleep.

Travel towel

Another essential is a travel towel. Even if a hostel provides towels, sometimes it’s just that little bit nicer to bring your own. Look for compact, but still body size, towels designed specifically for frequent travellers. They may seem a bit pricier than regular towels, but they’ll usually have antibacterial properties and dry faster, too, so you don’t have to worry about a damp towel in your backpack.

Flip flops

However, clean a bathroom looks to the naked eye, it’s still smart to take precautions and wear flip-flops whenever you’re walking around communal areas and showering. In the long-run, it will work out cheaper to buy and carry a pair of flips flops than deal with potential discomfort and cost of treating an unsightly infection.


It’s always nice to have extra peace of mind when it comes to your possessions. Most hostels will provide some form of lockers and it’s good practice to bring your own lock. You can even use it to secure your backpack or suitcase overnight or as you’re heading out.

It’s a cheap little travel essential that’ll provide some extra security as you sleep or explore.

First aid kit

Don’t test your luck by travelling without a first aid kit. Hostels will have them available but having your own well stocked kit means that you can take care of any cuts and grazes, or deal with sudden headaches, as quickly as possible. Include basic items like plasters and antiseptic, along with hay fever medication and painkillers. Even if you don’t end up using it, you never know when a fellow traveller could need it.

Packing cubes

These don’t look like much, but they come in seriously handy when you need to pack smartly and separate your dirty clothes from clean ones. Packing cubes are reusable and multi-purpose (lightweight, too!) containers that help you organise all your things and keep track of them. Create a list of all the things you’ve packed for the trip to make organisation even easier.

Portable charger

We’re all pretty reliant on technology and whilst it’s safe to assume that any hostel you’re staying will have electricity, it’s still smart to bring a charger in case of emergencies. Thankfully, portable chargers are now compact and lightweight so bringing one won’t weigh down your pack back. Get into the habit of charging it at every stop you make and this way you’ll never panic over low phone battery again. Packing smart (and light) is the best way to guarantee that your travels are safe as well as fun. Now that you know all the basics you need for a stay in a hostel on our travel essentials checklist, its time to get planning your next adventure.

Book a memorable getaway with YHA today.

Written by Ruby Higton

Here is Ruby and she is a digital marketer at YHA. She looks after all things social media, as well as content writing for and SEO. Her favourite hostel is YHA Perranporth.

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