Tips for Staying in a Hostel as a Couple

When Lee and I travelled across Europe this spring, visiting Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Austria and Germany, we mostly stayed in hostels. Why? Because they were the cheapest option by far and we love the social atmosphere. Hostels are a great place to meet other travellers and they also usually have kitchens, which allows us to cook and save money on eating out. Some people think that staying in a hostel as a couple is strange, but it’s not as weird as you might think. If you and your special someone are going on a backpacking trip and you want to save money, it’s definitely worth considering.

Tips for Staying in a Hostel as a Couple – What We’ve Learned

Here are some of the things that we have learned  while staying in a hostel as a couple:

Take One Bunk Bed – Top and Bottom

Whenever Lee and I  are staying in a hostel as a couple, we try to take one bunk bed between us, usually with me on the top bunk and Lee on the bottom. There are a number of reasons for this. For one thing, it helps us to keep our stuff (shoes, coats, bags) concentrated in one area so that they don’t end up spreading all over the room and making a mess. Lee and I both have a tendency to be messy, so when combined our messiness is absolutely super human – the least we can do is to try to keep it contained.

Our hostel in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo
Our hostel in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo – surprisingly not very messy (yet)

Another reason why we take one bunk bed is so that we never have to jostle another sleeping stranger when crawling into bed late. No matter how well build hostel bunk beds are, they always seem to rattle and creak when you are getting in and out of them, but waking up your significant other is not as rude as disturbing the sleep of a stranger.

Also, when I need to pass Lee the headphones for the iPod or when I just want to touch hands to say goodnight, all I have to do is reach over the edge of the bunk and he is right there.

You Don’t Have to Be Joined at the Hip

When you are travelling with your significant other, it is easy to spend all of your time talking to them and doing activities together. However, if you do this too much you will miss out on the opportunity to meet other travellers, which is one of the major perks of staying in a hostel. Instead, take the time to chat with other guests at the hostel and make friends. An added bonus is that you will not get annoyed with each other so much if you aren’t spending 24/7 by each other’s side.

Cool it On the PDA

I know you love each other and you want to snuggle-wuggle each other all the time, but some people feel a little bit weird around couples that are too cuddly. I’ve never understood it, because public displays of affection have never bothered me. However, staying in a hostel as a couple is all about being considerate toward the others you are sharing a space with.

"Love Locks" - Permanent displays of affection, seen on a bridge in Berlin, Germany
“Love Locks” – Permanent displays of affection, seen on a bridge in Berlin, Germany

Of course, feel free to gauge the attitude of your fellow room mates – if they are another couple who are also quite touchy-feely then they might not even notice or mind. If you want to be able to have tickle fights and spoon each other to your heart’s content but you don’t want to offend – you might want to spend the extra and book a private room.

Keep Your Fights Private Too

We completely understand. It’s impossible to travel with someone 24/7 and not want to kill them some days – no matter how much you love each other. However, no one wants to hear you bickering and whinging at each other and it doesn’t make either party look good. If you are having a disagreement about something, go somewhere private to talk about it.

Take Your Food With You

As I mentioned before, staying in a hostel gives you the huge advantage of a kitchen – which will cut down the expenses of your trip significantly. I’m happy whenever we end up in a hostel with a kitchen, because I know that I have Lee’s famous Chili Con Carne to look forward too – a great budget friendly meal on the road!

Lee enjoying some red wine in a hostel in Vienna, Austria
Lee enjoying some red wine in a hostel in Vienna, Austria

If you want to save even more money, leave some room in a separate section of your backpack for non-perishable food items such as peanut butter, Nutella, rice, instant coffee, tins of vegetables and pasta. If you are only staying in a city for 2-3 days, you don’t have to buy a brand new jar of peanut butter or tub of margarine every time you go to the next city, just carry it with you until you use it up!

Look Out for Each Other

One of the nice things about staying in a hostel as a couple is that you have each other’s back and you can help each other out. If your partner has forgotten to wash their dishes after breakfast, you can run them through while washing yours. If you have accidentally left the locker unlocked, your partner will lock it up for you before they leave the room. One of you can look at train schedules and plan your route while the other gathers up the sheets and goes through the checkout process. You can share the responsibilities of travel and take care of each other, making the trip easier for both of you.

On the ferry from Manila to Boracay in the Philippines - it was like a floating hostel!
On the ferry from Manila to Boracay in the Philippines – it was like a floating hostel!

Have Fun!

Staying in a hostel as a couple while travelling the world can be a wonderful experience and your epic travel adventures can be one of the most exciting things that you do together. Have fun, get out there and explore and enjoy your adventure.


Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

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One Comment

  1. When I backpacked Europe, I ran into many couples that were staying in the same hostels as me. They were pretty chill about it… And I’m grateful that I didn’t witness any PDA (from the couples at least). 🙂

    These are pretty good tips to follow if a couple is thinking of staying at hostels.

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