Tag

solo travel

Browsing

Staying in hostels can be a great way to travel the world, and many backpackers prefer to stay in this kind of accommodation, especially when they’re doing Budget Travel. Not only are they often cheaper, but they can also be more sociable, safer, and practical. However, staying in a hostel is not everyone’s idea of a dream holiday, and they certainly range from the good to the terrible. However, a stay in even the worst of hostels on the surface can easily turn into the trip of a lifetime at just the blink of an eye.

Pssst… did you know that a lot of families also consider staying in hostels during their trips? There is a bunch of good reasons to stay in one. Which ones? Find out here – how to handle the imperfect coupling, Family vacation and hostels.

The Advantages of Staying in Hostels

  • Price: Hostels are often much cheaper than hotels and they can be a great way to enable you to travel without having to spend big bucks.
  • Social: Hostels offer a more sociable environment providing a great opportunity to make new friends as you see the world (no worries, if you are the shy traveler who has some issues making friends. This is the guide for those who struggle to connect with other travelers!)
  • Food: The ability to cook your own food means that you can eat what you like, and save more money in the process.

The Disadvantages of Hostel life

  • Noise: The noise can certainly be an issue, and if you are a light sleeper, you are likely to find this particularly challenging.
  • Privacy: Staying in a hostel can be eye-opening as it is common for bedrooms and bathrooms to be shared. If you need your alone time, it may not be the right choice. Sharing rooms is certainly not for everyone, but many hostels these days do have private rooms available for a few extra bucks.
  • Curfew: Some Hostels have a curfew to ensure the safety and sleep of everyone staying there. Whilst this benefits everyone, it does have the potential to put a dampener on your night out.

However, with the world of travel ever-changing, even if you are put off by the challenges there is still likely to be a hostel for you somewhere. In fact, there are many different types of hostels and the trick is to pick the right one for you!

What do I need to consider when choosing a hostel?

outdoor and indoor picture of a cosy hostel
Find the perfect spot for you and your needs! For example in this amazing brazilian hostel.

Reviews, reviews, reviews: The most important thing to do before making your choice is to read the reviews online. Simply Google the hostel’s name and read their reviews to get an honest overview of what you are likely to expect. Even if there are minimal complaints, these reviews often also contain great nuggets of information regarding local attractions, getting around and even the best places to eat. What’s more, this will ensure that you can choose wisely to pick a hostel that is most suited to your needs.

The price

Obviously, the hostel that you pick will need to fit into your budget as a traveler. However, even if you are on a tight one, the cheapest room rates are not always actually the best deal. Sometimes for just a couple of dollars more, you can find a hostel that provides free breakfast, laundry service or places to cook and it can even work out cheaper in the long run.

If you are doing Budget Travel and your piggy bank is a little on the empty side, you can still have amazing vacations! Where and how? In Europe in these 10 super amazing cities (for example in Kiev!). Just check out our two-piece article series about cheap European holidays.

Aaaand this one on how to save some extra cash in Europe! Maybe you’ll even learn a few hints on the right season to go – or getting there in style *cough Eurail Pass *cough*

The location

Hostels are pretty much ubiquitous in this day and age, and the internet has made it so easy to find the closest and best option. If you are looking for a city break sightseeing, you may prefer a more central location or perhaps one nearer to the coast for a relaxing beach getaway. If you look at hostels on the outskirts of this city, they are often more affordable; even when you include the extra cost of public transport.

Mixed or same-sex dorms

This is a matter of personal preference, with same-sex dorms being increasingly popular. If shared rooms are not for you, many hostels offer single rooms if you are concerned about privacy.

As a female solo traveler on a budget travel mission maybe you feel like sharing a room with other ladies only? Eaaasy, a lot of hostels have same-sex dorms! Get 5 cool and easy tips to become a fabled badass solo female traveler here. Your next travel destination? Right around the corner 🙂

Safety and security

Hostels are particularly great for solo travelers as the social environment provides a lively atmosphere and a sense of safety that a hotel cannot.  At a hostel, you are likely to meet like-minded travelers who are often more than happy to join you as you explore. However, there are some precautions you can take just to be on the safe side. For example, not all hostels will have somewhere you can securely store your luggage and it might be wise to take a padlock for extra security. Another helpful (although impractical) option is a travel safe.

Facilities

You also need to think about the facilities that your hostel has available, and what is included in the room rates. Things like laundry service and a shared kitchen can be invaluable for a traveler on a budget. Remember, bathrooms may not be quite as spotless as what you are used to, take flip flops to wear in the showers.

Type of hostels

There are around 8 common types of hostels including cheap hostels, party hostels, action or adventure hostels, boutique or independent hostels, family hostels, youth hostels, eco-hostels, and 5-star options. The names are pretty self-explanatory, so just check the reviews online to ensure a perfect match.

Making friends

Hostels are a great way to make new friends, and they can provide you with the opportunity to stay in a social environment whilst you are traveling. They are ideal for making friends with other people in a similar situation, all you need to do is just go over and say hi!

What Should I Pack for My Hostel Stay?

Woman with packed backpack on a budget travel trip
Of course, your pack list depends on the destination, activity, duration, etc. But here are some essentials you’d better not forget!

Well, that will depend on your trip but some basic hostel essentials include:

  • Earplugs (believe us, get ’em packed!)
  • Headphones
  • Eye Mask
  • Travel Mug
  • Towel
  • Flip Flops (never forget them)
  • Electrical adaptor (remember to research which adaptor is right)
  • Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Hanging Wash Bag
  • Laundry detergent (it could always come in handy)

Any Other Tips and Tricks on Budget Travel?

Clique playing a game in a hostel
Photo source: Shutterstock.com / GaudiLab

Ask the staff: The staff in hostels are often a font of wealth and knowledge about the local area and are bound to know the answer to your question.

Respect others: If you’re in a shared dorm, it is important to be considerate of the other guests. Making loud noises late into the night or first thing in the morning is not going to help you make friends.

Keep your belongings safe: If you are carrying cash, split up your money and store it in separate areas of your luggage and on your person.

Embrace the nap life: Getting your 40 winks in during the day will help you keep feeling refreshed, and most of the other guests will be out being a tourist at this point anyway.

Our extra tip for anyone who is on a really small travel budget? Why not travel and get paid for it? Find four tips on what could be right up your street (interested in working with photography or language?… here you go!).

Seeing the world solo can be really fun – but, as women travelling alone, we are often on the receiving end of more than one… let’s say uncomfortable situation. 

But the experience of a life time (not to sound dramatic, but it really is something to brag about) is within reach. To get a little bit cliché, travelling solo will ‘broaden your horizons’ and ‘change your life’. But like, it actually will. Not to mention it’ll load you up with anecdotes to fill up any future awkward pauses for any situation (blind-dates, meet the parents, bad interviews – you name it!)

And really, why should you sit around waiting for friends to commit to travelling when you can pick them up on the trip (cheeky, not like that). If you honestly need any more persuasion, I’m here for you – with 5 reasons (and tips) on why to become a badass solo female traveller.  

So where are the best places to go? The safest? Surely asking for the best and the safest places isn’t too much to ask? Nope, it’s not and here they are. All you need to do is go for it (and save up). 

Women travelling alone in Europe

I’m guessing Europe already seems like a pretty safe set of destinations. But even in Europe, there is safe and safer. Try getting an interrailing ticket for a month, so that you can hop on and off any trains at your leisure. That’s the beauty of travelling alone after all. Alternatively, you can see the world by bike – and here are the best bicycle routes in all of Europe!

Avoid falling asleep on the train alone though – check out our TOP safety tips for women travelling alone for more ways to stay safe. 

Here are our top 2 faves:

#1 Berlin, Germany 

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Berlin
A view from the Victory Column in autumn. Every season is a highlight in Berlin. Let’s discover the capital city of Germany!

Ja, ja – this is indeed a classic – Berlin should be on any Europe-themed travel bucket list. (Not that we’re based or anything ☺ Hello, we’re MyPostcard, we live here, nice to meet you). 

Germans are famously good at English, which’ll probably make you feel more at home already. Although if you’re ready to wack out your ‘Sprechen-Sie-Deutsch’ skills, we’re behind you all the way. Way, way behind, letting you do all the talking ☺

What’s more, Berlin, as an international cultural hotspot of Europe has plenty of guided tour trips, along with tons of fellow travellers waiting to meet you. If calling the shots by travelling alone, but touring in a group is your thing, you’ll definitely pick up some friends here. 

Here’s the best kept secret spots of Berlin to get you going…

#2 Ghent, Belgium 

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Ghent

The hidden gem that is Ghent needs to be uncovered! Although Belgium in general in relatively low on serious crime, Ghent as a less commonly visited spot than, say, Brussels ranks lower on petty crime too (but we’re not suggesting you start waving your iPhone X around either!) 

That being said, there are also plenty of tourists here, so the city is pretty tourist friendly. Police are friendly, and public transport is great – so ideal for women travelling alone really!

You’re going here for the all-round beauty and history. Think medieval castles and guildhalls… So romantic, there’s a knight on a white horse at every traffic light. 

Out and about in The Americas

#3 Montreal, Canada

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Montreal
Photo source: Shutterstock.com / mat277

We’ve all heard rumours about Canadians being insanely friendly – and it turns out its true, hurrah! 

Not only are the locals friendly, but the crime rate is relatively low. 

Settled by French colonists in the 17th century, this place has got more than a touch of Parisian about it, making for a lovely walk around the Old Montreal or through the Jean-Talon Market. If I had to describe it in one word? Yum!

#4 Buenos Aires, Argentina

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Buenos Aires
A flea market for everybody: Check out the versatile Feria De San Pedro Telmo! Photo source: Shutterstock.com / Lux Blue

This is definitely one where you should take off all jewellery and keep anything precious in a locker not on you. But, as a massive tourist destination, this is one of Argentina’s safer – and incidentally, cooler – cities. 

Must visit: the Recoleta Cemetery. It may sound like an odd entry for a safety-wary traveller, but this place is seriously atmospheric. Home to the rich and powerful (dead) of Argentina, there was no expense paid on these tooms. And it’s free. Hopefully poltergeist free too.

For all the coffee lovers: In Buenos Aires, you can find one of the most exciting TOP Cafe Spots worldwide.. the Fiii Fun House.

Women travelling alone hints for Asia

#5, Hong Kong, China

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Hong Kong

Hong-Kong just so happens to be one of the safest destinations in the world, with very low violent-crime rates. Just avoid typhoon season and beware of people selling you fake ‘brand’ products as the real thing. 

If you would like to avoid avid male attention in China, then research any night clubs you would like to go to carefully. As a tourist city however, most clubs in Hong Kong will cater to you and your safety as a tourist. 

While you’re here: shop ‘till you drop. Then get up and do it again. Underneath that jaw-dropping skyline are some amazing shopping opportunities. Temple Street Night market is a very good shout – keep your valuables close!

#6 Kep, Cambodia

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Kep
Photo source: Shutterstock.com / Thanapanitsakul Tee

After all your travelling through cities, you might be needing a rest by now? Head to Kep in Cambodia, a seaside resort which used to be exclusively for the star-studded rich and now opens its arms to the star-studded you. 

Kep is all about the sunsets and the sea, so expect to be hiking, relaxing or drinking in the view (or a cocktail).

It’s a pretty quiet area and tends to be very safe for travellers – but look out for medical issues. Health care here is in the way of basic, so you’ll need to head back into Phnom Penh for anything that looks serious. And while you’re there, make sure to avoid Phnom Penh’s isolated areas, particularly at night. 

Solo female travel in Africa

#7 Marrakech, Morocco

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Morocco
Colourful markets, mystical dreamy places and so much more – Morocco is a paradise, especially for people who looove to take pictures and enjoy the colourful locations!

Oh, Marrakech – I can’t imagine a bucket list without it. Bright colours and busy vibes to wow you and an amazing culture to match. Remember to respect that culture though – I’m all for a mini skirt, but for this trip it’d be wise to leave it at home. Avoiding male attention means covering up legs, arms and chest.

Like many places in Morocco, there are however some things to keep in mind while travelling here. One, avoid demonstrations which could (although most do not) get violent. Two, road safety is low so try to stick within the Marrakesh catchment area. As a tourist destination, Marrakesh tends to be more safe than other areas within Morocco and we’d not recommend this destination for isolated hikes. Stick to the city!

You’re still not 100% convinced? Then it’s time to read these 10 magical reasons to visit Marrakech!

Oceania as a perfect place for women travelling alone

#8 Port Douglas, Australia 

The safest places worldwide for women travelling alone - Port Douglas

Port Douglas is a gorgeous little coastal town with the added bonus of being bang on the Great Barrier Reef. If the fact that it is situated on “Coral Sea” doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. 

There’s an enclosed area for swimming at the beach to keep you safe in the water, while conditions out of the water become unsafe during the marine stinger season – so stay away between November and May. Other than that, this town is one of the safest travel destinations that Australia has to offer. And one of the coolest!

Under blue skies and surrounded by turquoise seas there are opportunities abound. I’d start with a guided trip into the rainforest…

For some more great travel tips on Australia, click here!

Can’t get enough of having an absolute ball and feeling safe while you’re at it? The top three countries in the world for safety are Iceland, New Zealand and Austria – so make sure to fit them on your list!

In the meantime, dive into these 10 budget-friendly beauties in Europe…