What to Pack When Staying at a Hostel

It’s been over 2-months since we’ve embarked on our grand world trip and with our time comes wisdom! There are endless niche items that could serve you well while backpacking a country.

Here is a list of 5 more things that could aid your stay while in the most classic backpacking setting: a hostel.

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#1 Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is much more common overseas than it is in the states. We actually did bring a can with us as a backup in case we were on the go and there was no “real coffee” available. We were surprised to find instant coffee is the more common homemade option.

Drip, or ground coffee, is very hard to come by and coffee makers are all but extinct. Instant coffee is a dehydrated dissolvable ground coffee that instantly melts into any water and tastes about the same as drip coffee. It’s an easy on-the-go option and a good addition to your backpack.

#2 Extra Deodorant Sticks

Something I was not expecting was the high preference for aerosol deodorant spray instead of solid deodorant sticks in New Zealand. If you are partial to U.S.-style deodorant, stock up before you go. After trying the aerosol cans, I found that I am not much of a fan. The only ones I could find were the travel-sized minis for about the same price as a two-pack back in America.

#3 Waterproof Shower Caddy or Bag

Having a cosmetic bag is a given but after staying at over a dozen hostels something I wish I had was a “shower bag” of sorts. There’s not always a shelf or space in the showers to put your things and shared bathrooms aren’t always the cleanest. This means putting all your stuff on the ground isn’t always a good idea.

You won’t want to bring your whole cosmetic bag with your non-water-proof toiletries into the shower. Likewise, you don’t want to have to fumble with carrying everything individually to the showers. A waterproof bag, that’s hangable via the faucet or door, and that you can put specific toiletries in.

Things like your shampoo and conditioner bar, soap, face wash, and razor all fit in a nice little bag is something that would’ve helped me a lot. I ended up using a small packing cube and taking that to the showers with me, but something more specifically made for a shower would’ve been ideal.

#4 Scented Plug-In

Hostels are not always the cleanest places to stay. Even if they are well kept, you can’t always count on your roommates being the nicest smelling folks. Some backpackers seem to be allergic to taking showers or wearing deodorant, but confronting them can be a recipe for disaster.

Instead, a nice smelling room spray or wall plug in can be a perfect passive-aggressive solution. Candles unfortunately, are typically not allowed for fire safety reasons. We went with an Air Wick vanilla scented plug in.

Bonus tip to using these: if you use the scent later at home it will remind you of your travels, or vice versus if you’re feeling homesick!

#5 A Robe

This is something that I ALMOST packed. I removed it last minute to try and save on some space in my backpack. After a few months of traveling, it is definitely something I wish I had.

If you are lucky enough to afford a private room, but share a bathroom a robe is a good in-between wearable. It’s more modest than just wrapping a towel around yourself, but its okay to get wet. Rather than changing immediately into your clothes or pajamas, and risking them getting wet, or dropping them on the floor, a robe can be a helpful transition.

I hope these suggestions were helpful in creating your perfect backpack packing list! For more on packing check out Lawrence’s posts on what he packed for a year of traveling, and 5 Items That Will Make You Friends at Any Hostel. And for some more female-centric tips on what clothes to pack checkout my article now too!


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