Visiting new parts of the world is one of life’s greatest gifts, and these places are the best way for teens to get out and explore. While fearmongers might parrot stories of negative experiences online, remember that these stories are exceptions to the rule. Hostel travel is a secure and exciting way to meet new people and see the world.
That being said, one should not be careless when booking a stay in a hostel. People should weigh their options and make solid plans; there should never issues while living with strangers in a new city or while one is journeying across the globe. Here is an easy step-by-step guide to booking a safe hostel and ensuring your trip goes off without a hitch.
Find the Right Space
There are so many places offering different experiences in every city across the globe. It can be challenging to find the right amount of personal space when travelling in hostels because of the close proximity to other people at every waking moment of the day. Additionally, people may have security concerns for their personal items when travelling abroad. Is it possible to reconcile all these factors when finding a hostel?
Yes! The biggest difference in finding the right space comes from whether one books a private room or not. A private room will provide a visitor with a completely different energy from sharing a dorm with six to ten other people, mainly because of the distance you will have between yourself and others.
Being in an open space with strangers can make people feel uncomfortable or unsafe, especially in mix-gendered situations. In that case, staying in a private room might be the best option. This space will give a different experience, but personal items and valuables will be in a safe location and there will be more personal security living by yourself. It is highly recommended to book a single room if one has concerns about personal privacy and security.
Know what Experience you want
When booking a hostel, it is important to have an idea of what type of travel setting you want. Not everyone will be looking for the same experience while visiting a hostel. There are many different circumstances one might look for while abroad; for example, someone might want to explore a city’s nightlife and party scene. Some people might desire to explore a city’s cultural heritage by visiting local museums and locations of interest. Still, others will want to enjoy another country by meeting friends and spending time in a low-key environment. How does one find what sort of experience they want in a hostel?
Glad you asked! Every hostel should have a complete description and reviews listed on whichever website you choose to book through. Reading these descriptions will assist you when choosing what you will encounter at each location. Knowing what type of hostel is important because of the common space that will be shared with other vacationers. If someone doesn’t vibe with high-energy people and late nights out, then they should look for a cosy location to help them feel at home. Choosing the right location will decrease the risk of social isolation and depression while abroad, and this will ensure that exploring the world will go off without a hitch.
Learn the Surroundings
Take time to learn about your surroundings before you travel! One fabulous aspect of visiting new parts of the world are the sights and people you will encounter on your journey. However, with new surroundings comes a relative unfamiliarity with the city and how to securely navigate through the streets. If one plans to be out late at night drinking with friends, knowing your surroundings can be the difference between a good night and a bad night.
Be sure to research the safe parts of town, and understand where you may be at risk in your city. Every booking website will offer a map of the neighbourhood in which your hostel is located, so use that information advantageously. When you arrive, take some time to walk the surrounding neighbourhoods. This will acclimate you to your surroundings and will introduce you to the city, all while giving a feel for the town.
The final item one should look for in a hostel is free Wi-Fi. It is common that foreigners go without cell service while travelling because of the exorbitant prices of international cell service. When abroad, however, it is important for teens to stay connected with their families so that everyone is in the loop about the travelling experience. Parents often feel scared when their teen leaves home for the first time and travels to another country, and it is important that their children remain connected to massage concerns about solo international travel.
For this reason, teens should always book hostels that have Wi-Fi included in the stay. Having the internet will allow teens to make informed decisions about what to do and where to eat while living in a new city. Hostels will be the home-away-from-home while visiting new cities, so having the internet to communicate with parents is incredibly important. Some hosteling websites will list amenities in a clear manner; search for locations that offer free internet included in the price of your stay. This will ease parental worries and decrease the chance of culture shock while experiencing new locations in the world.
One Final Word
Learning about the world through travel is one of life’s greatest joys. Often, the experiences one has while abroad will open the mind to new possibilities and conceptions of the self, allowing for improvement and actualization in ways never possible while at home. If one doesn’t consciously and thoughtfully for their trip, all these benefits could fly out the window.
Journey out of your comfort zone! Don’t forget to book smart while in hostels so you have a smooth vacation. There are so many awe-inspiring places to visit in the world, and I hope you will use these steps to have a safe and fun time encountering new people and ideas!
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviours. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.