Hostel Packing List – 23 Smart Things to pack + free download!

A hostel packing list comes always pretty handy, right?! Ahh, the eternal travel question – what on earth should I pack for traveling and staying at Hostels? We had a look around and all those packing lists for hostels we found, were pretty outdated. Nothing to do with the modern backpacker, the new generation with SmartPhones, Cameras and Tablets.

This article is part of the big full guide to hostels – packed with everything you need to know about hostel-typed accommodation! You can also find all 5 Star Hostels, the best hostels in the world, with Hostelgeeks.

So, here it is: The Hostel Packing List

Whether you’re the type of traveler who flings everything in their suitcase half an hour before leaving the house, or you have a meticulous packing list ready weeks in advance. At some point you’re going to have to make some decisions about what goes into that suitcase of yours. Oh wait, should it be a suitcase or actually a backpack? That is a different topic though…

Aaaalso, very interesting for you: The NO-GO, NEVER-EVER hostel packing list – items you should leave at home!

Hostel Packing List - 23 Smart Things to pack + free download!

* this article may contain affiliate links

If you’re planning on staying in hostels during your adventures, there are some travel items that you definitely won’t want to leave at home. We’ve complied this hostel packing list of our geeky must-have items to stay at a hostel to help you figure out what to take with you. You can get an idea of all facilities and services a Hostel offer in our Full Hostel Guide.

One last question before we start – did you remember your passport?

Free Download Hostel Packing List

You can download the Hostel Packing List as a PDF. Simply open the .pdf and save it on your device. We also added a few more points so you can add your own items to the list.

Hostel Packing List Download

1. Earplugs – snooooor

You never know who you could end up sharing a room with in a hostel. Now, most people are genuinely nice – we’re not trying to scare you here. But you might find out in the wee hours of the morning that your super sweet new friend has some supersonic snoring abilities.

Or maybe the friendly girl you met downstairs spent her evening getting to know the city’s bar scene. You’ll become painfully aware of this fact when she crashes into the room at 5 a.m.

Earplugs are actually always a good idea, not just only for hostels. Many guesthouses may have old doors, hotels directly next to a busy street, in the plane to rest, and so on. Pack ’em, you will need them!

You can buy earplugs cheaply with Amazon here.

2. Eye Mask

More and more hostels add the little privacy to a dorm by adding a curtain to the bunk beds. And we at Hostelgeeks really like this. So simple and effective!

However, an Eye Mask is always a good idea to add to your hostel packing list. You can use it as well for long flights, or taking a nap during the day.

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4. A Small Light (or simply your SmartPhone)

Lots of travel websites recommend bringing a key chain flashlight. That’s so you can find your way around the room in the dark without having to disturb your roommates by turning the lights on.

Yes, we mean you, friendly girl who stumbled into the room at 5 a.m.!

OK, nowadays you can use your phone for this, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind. And yes, even the iPhone doesn’t require an extra App anymore for having a flashlight. BUT: the battery is still an issue. We would recommend getting a small head lamp with LED. This way the battery lasts almost forever.

5. A Padlock – not the love ones…

Again, this isn’t intended to scare you. Like we said, most hostel guests really are nice, normal people (we promise!). But when you stay in a hostel, you’ll be sharing space with people you don’t know. Be sensible and don’t leave your stuff lying around.

If you’re traveling with something you don’t want to lose (like that passport we reminded you to take – you’ve still got it, right?), then it’s a good idea to keep it locked up somewhere safe. Better to be safe than sorry!

Read this article on “Are Hostels safe? A complete overview

If you forget a padlock, most hostels will be able to sell or rent you one. Some of the 5 Star Hostels offer a techy solution to this.

And btw: Do you know this trend to put love locks on bridges around Europe? Well, don’t do this…remember our 14 worst travel tips!

Pack a lock for your Hostel Packing List

6. Sandals or Flip Flops

You will definitely want these for the shower no matter how clean the hostel is, trust us. They also come in handy when you plan to hang out in the hostel garden or to hit the beach in destinations like Lisbon (5 secret tips Lisbon here including the best beaches around Lisbon).

Again: PACK sandals or flip flops!

Pack some Flip Flops when staying at Hostels!

7. Travel-Sized Toiletries

Unlike at a hotel, hostels don’t provide toiletries. Okay, many of the 5 Star Hostels do, but in general Hostel don’t offer that.We recommend getting a few travel-sized bottles and reusing them for all your trips. You can avoid checking a bag on a flight that way, too!

Basic Toiletries for the Hostel Packing List

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap/shampoo
  • Comb or brush
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine Products
  • Razor (maybe skip shaving cream for saving space)
  • Sunscreen
  • Contact lens solution (if necessary)
  • Spare contact lenses

Important: When you plan to buy small-sized toiletries, make sure their size is maximum 100ml! This is the max size of liquids you can bring on a plane with your hand-luggage. We have seen bigger “travel-size toiletries”, so have a look on that before you buy!

Travel Toiletries to pack for Hostels

This a photo from Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage, 5 Star Hostel in London. They offer travel-size toiletries at the rooms.

8. Tupperware

For your left-overs from your lunch or dinner you cooked in the hostel kitchen! You can close it properly, put it in the fridge and tag it super simple!

Another big advantage: Depending where you are, you can prepare your lunch for the next day, take it with you and eat wherever you want. We had lunch in national parks in Croatia, cliffs in Ireland, and beaches in Spain.

Also, it saves you some coins, and gives you the freedom not to worry about your food when wandering around!

9. A Power Adapter

Depending on where you’re traveling, you may need to change plugs. Don’t get stuck with all the stuff to charge up your electronics but no way to plug them in!

On that note – have you packed all your chargers?

We Bologna Hostel - detailed and useful design

The photo shows the We Bologna Hostel in Bologna, Italy.

10. USB Multi Charger

Flashpacking anyone? A USB Multi Charger is great to charge your camera and smart phone at the same time.

11. Packing Stuffable Bags

Actually, this one we underestimated a lot, but it’s pure gold!

It’s super easy to stick in your bag and it doesn’t weight a lot. Eco-friendly and Multi purposed! Use it to separate your clean and dirty clothes while you’re traveling. You’ll really appreciate this as you get towards the end of your trip! Really.

Also, you can use it for shopping and cut down the usage of plastic bags.

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