Hostel Apostles

Hostel Packing List


Last month, I posted an article called Backpacking Essentials to give both new and experienced travelers an idea of some of the “tools-of-the-trade” that I always make sure I have with me on my international jaunts. That list could have just as easily been called “Hosteling Essentials,” though don’t think for a second that someone staying in a four-star hotel wouldn’t also benefit from a 3-inlet extension cord or non-descript, custom guidebooks.

While that list dives deep into some of the “you-probably-didn’t-think-to-pack-this-until-you-got-there” items, below is a comprehensive checklist of everything I pack when going abroad. Many of you probably have most of these on your mind, and to be honest this list doesn’t even touch on clothing and apparel.  However, this is the same list I look at every time I’m preparing for a trip, and I’d encourage you to utilize and customize it as you see fit for your journeys:

Hosteling / Backpacking Checklist:

  • Passport
  • Hidden Pocket/Money Belt
  • $150 in the foreign currency to start the trip – See if your local bank can order some foreign currency of the country/first country you’ll be visiting in advance of your trip. It’s always nice having a bit of spending cash from the get-go to cover your cab from the airport, hostel payment, etc. and not have to pay the outrageous exchange rates at the airport currency exchanges.
  • $300 emergency USD – I always keep this in my hidden pocket throughout the duration of my trip. If for whatever reason I loose my wallet, have to cancel my credit cards, etc., it gives me additional piece of mind.
  • Wallet with fake debit cards and expired driver’s license (optional) – Haven’t needed it yet, but if I ever get pick-pocketed or am the victim of petty crime, I keep my actual ID and debit cards in my hidden pocket. I’ll be a lot less heartbroken if I only have to part with a small amount of immediate spending cash and a credit card I can easily cancel.
  • Guidebook
  • Translation book
  • International phone (optional, depending on the length of trip)
  • Day pack
  • Tablet/small laptop w/ movies and foreign language mp3s – In this day and age an iPad or other tablet will keep you in touch with the world and give you access to email. I like having the movies and language mp3s to make use of long train and bus rides.
  • Big pad lock
  • Small lock
  • Foreign travel adaptors
  • 3-inlet extension cord
  • HeadlampThis is great if you’re staying in a multi-person dorm. I feel a lot less guilty getting in late, reading, or packing for an early morning flight if I don’t have to turn on the room’s main light (and disturb all others that are sleeping in the process)
  • Sleeping Mask – …since the other 3+ people in your dorm didn’t pack the aforementioned headlamp
  • Ear Plugs – …or had the courtesy to do so quietly! But seriously, some hostels are livelier than others, and I’d prefer to be prepared to block out any background noise
  • Basic First Aid KitAt the very least pack the following:
    • Band-Aids
    • Neosporin
    • Mole skin
  • Allergy/Diahrria medicine – I’m all for exploring the local drug stores (it’s part of the international immersion experience after all!), but if I need these, I’d rather have them immediately handy
  • Sowing kit (optional, depending on length of trip)
  • Tide-To-Go pen
  • Pen, pencil, and highlighter
  • Index cards or notepad – These are always good to have for writing down the key terms you’ll want to remember in each language.
  • Quick-Dry, Compact Camping Towel
  • Shower shoes
  • Pocketknife – Only pack this if you are checking luggage.
  • Utensils
  • Sunscreen
  • Plastic travel mug
  • Zip-locks (dry bags)
  • 2 garbage bags – Mainly in case you need to cover your pack in the rain or for an emergency poncho

Chris Luecke

Chris Luecke is the Chief Travel Officer at Hostel Apostles and aspiring digital nomad. He lives in San Francisco, California, where he spends his time as a marketer and blogger in the tech and travel industries.

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