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How Not To Get Stolen In A Hostel


by Jessie Jahnke



Welcome to the exciting world of hostel travel! Staying in a hostel is not only a budget-friendly option but also provides a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers from around the globe. However, with the communal living environment, it’s important to take precautions to ensure the safety of your belongings. In this article, we will guide you on how to avoid getting your valuables stolen in a hostel.


Hostels are known for their vibrant atmosphere and social interactions, but unfortunately, they can also attract opportunistic thieves. The last thing you want is to lose your passport, money, or other valuable possessions when you’re away exploring the city or simply taking a shower. By implementing a few simple strategies and being vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft and have a worry-free stay in your chosen hostel.


Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first hostel experience, this article is designed to provide you with practical tips and techniques to ensure the safety of your belongings throughout your stay. From choosing a secure hostel to securing your personal items, we’ve got you covered.


Remember, prevention is key. By taking proactive measures and being mindful of your surroundings, you can minimize the chances of becoming a victim of theft. So, let’s dive in and discover the best practices for keeping your belongings safe and secure during your hostel adventures.


Choosing a Secure Hostel

When it comes to selecting a hostel, safety should be one of your top priorities. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a secure hostel:

  1. Location: Opt for hostels located in safe and well-populated areas of the city. Research the neighborhood and read reviews to get a sense of its safety record. Avoid hostels in sketchy or isolated areas.
  2. Security Measures: Look for hostels that take security seriously. Check if they have 24-hour reception, surveillance cameras, and secure entry systems. A hostel that implements key card access or provides personal lockers for each guest can be a good indicator of their commitment to security.
  3. Reviews: Read reviews from previous guests to gauge their experience with safety. Look for positive comments about security measures, staff attentiveness, and incidents of theft. Negative reviews mentioning stolen belongings or lack of security should raise a red flag.
  4. Staff Training: Inquire about staff training in safety procedures and emergency response. A well-trained and attentive staff can play a crucial role in maintaining a secure environment.
  5. Online Research: Utilize online resources such as travel forums and websites to gather information about the hostel’s safety reputation. Look for recommendations from fellow travelers who prioritize security.
  6. Price: While budget is important, don’t compromise on safety. Keep in mind that a slightly higher price tag may offer you a more secure accommodation option.

By considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and choose a hostel that prioritizes your safety and provides you peace of mind during your stay. Remember, it’s better to invest a little more in a secure hostel than to risk your valuable belongings.


Securing Your Belongings

Once you’ve chosen a secure hostel, the next step is to take proactive measures to secure your belongings. Here are some tips to ensure the safety of your personal items:

  1. Use a Padlock: Invest in a sturdy padlock to secure your luggage, backpack, or locker. Choose a padlock with a combination or key lock that is difficult to tamper with.
  2. Lock Your Locker or Cabinet: If your hostel provides individual lockers or cabinets, make sure to use them. Lock them securely with your padlock and avoid leaving them unlocked or unattended.
  3. Secure Small Valuables: For smaller valuable items such as cash, passports, or electronics, consider using a portable travel safe or a secure pouch that can be locked and attached to a fixed object in your room.
  4. Divide and Hide Valuables: Instead of keeping all your valuables in one place, divide them and store them in different locations. This way, even if one item is stolen, you won’t lose everything.
  5. Keep Cash and Cards Separate: Avoid keeping all your cash and cards in one wallet or bag. Split them up and keep them in different pockets or bags. This will minimize the impact of theft and ensure you have a backup.
  6. Keep Valuables Out of Sight: When you’re not using your personal belongings, keep them hidden from plain sight. This includes laptops, cameras, and expensive gadgets. Use a cover or bag that doesn’t attract attention.
  7. Avoid Sharing Sensitive Information: Be cautious while sharing personal information or your room number with strangers. Keep sensitive data like your passport number or credit card details discreet.

In addition to these precautions, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of who has access to your belongings. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft and enjoy your hostel experience without worrying about your valuables.


Locking Techniques for Cabinets and Lockers

Locking your cabinets and lockers properly is crucial to safeguarding your belongings. Here are some effective locking techniques to ensure maximum security:

  1. Inspect the Locker or Cabinet: Before using a locker or cabinet, check for any signs of damage or tampering. If you notice anything suspicious, report it to the hostel staff and request a different one.
  2. Secure the Padlock Properly: When using a padlock on a locker or cabinet, make sure it is tightly secured. Test it to ensure it cannot be easily opened or removed. Double-check that the bolt completely fits into the lock and cannot be manipulated.
  3. Consider a Secondary Lock: For extra security, consider using two padlocks on your locker or cabinet. This makes it more difficult for thieves to break in, as they would need to tackle both locks.
  4. Lock Multiple Compartments: If the locker or cabinet has multiple compartments, lock each one individually. This way, even if someone manages to open one compartment, they won’t have access to the others.
  5. Adjust the Locking Mechanism: If possible, adjust the locking mechanism of the locker or cabinet to ensure it is tightly secured. Some lockers have adjustable hooks or bolts that can be tightened to enhance security.
  6. Secure the Door Hinges: Check that the hinges of the locker or cabinet are secure. If they appear loose or damaged, inform the hostel staff immediately and request a different storage option.
  7. Keep Spare Keys Safe: If the hostel provides you with a spare key for your locker or cabinet, keep it in a secure and discreet location. Avoid carrying it with you, as losing it could potentially compromise the security of your belongings.

Remember, it’s important to practice these locking techniques consistently throughout your stay. Regularly inspect your lockers or cabinets for any signs of tampering or damage. If you notice anything suspicious or if your lock is not working properly, report it to the hostel staff immediately.


By following these locking techniques, you can add an extra layer of security to your belongings and enjoy peace of mind during your hostel stay.


Additional Security Measures to Consider

In addition to locking techniques, there are several additional security measures you can take to further protect your belongings and enhance your overall safety in a hostel:

  1. Use a Portable Door Stop Alarm: Consider investing in a portable door stop alarm. This small device acts as an extra barrier to prevent unauthorized entry into your room and will alert you if someone tries to open your door.
  2. Carry a Personal Safety Alarm: Carry a personal safety alarm with you at all times. These small, compact devices emit a loud noise when activated, drawing attention to your situation and potentially deterring potential thieves or attackers.
  3. Mark Your Belongings: Engrave or mark your personal belongings with a unique identifier such as your initials or a distinctive symbol. This makes it easier to identify and recover your possessions if they are stolen.
  4. Utilize the Reception Safe: Some hostels have a reception safe where you can store valuable items such as passports, extra cash, and important documents. Take advantage of this additional layer of security when needed.
  5. Use a Room Safe: If your hostel room has a safe, make use of it to protect your valuables. Follow the instructions provided to set a secure code and store your items inside.
  6. Travel Insurance: Purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers theft and loss of personal belongings. This provides financial protection and peace of mind in case of any unfortunate incidents.
  7. Be Mindful of Room Selection: When selecting a room in a hostel, opt for one on a higher floor or closer to the reception area. These areas tend to be more secure and less accessible to potential thieves.
  8. Stay Vigilant: Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. If you notice any suspicious individuals or activities, report them to the hostel staff or authorities immediately.

By considering these additional security measures, you can further enhance the safety of your personal belongings and minimize the risk of theft during your hostel stay. Remember, staying vigilant and proactive is key to a secure and worry-free experience.


Keeping an Eye on Your Belongings

While taking precautions and securing your belongings is essential, it’s equally important to actively keep an eye on your possessions. Here are some tips to help you stay vigilant:

  1. Keep Essentials with You: When you’re out and about in the hostel or exploring the city, only carry essential items with you. Leave any unnecessary valuables locked securely in your locker or cabinet.
  2. Use Bag Theft Prevention Techniques: Practice bag theft prevention by wearing your backpack on your front in crowded areas, using a cross-body bag with a secure closure, or using a money belt to keep your cash and cards safe and hidden.
  3. Stay in Visible Areas: When using common areas of the hostel, such as the lounge or kitchen, try to place your belongings within your line of sight. Avoid leaving them unattended or in isolated areas.
  4. Watch Out for Distractions: Be cautious of anyone attempting to distract you while someone else may be trying to steal your belongings. Stay alert and focused on your surroundings.
  5. Utilize Surveillance Cameras: If the hostel has surveillance cameras in common areas or near lockers, make use of them. These cameras not only act as a deterrent but can also assist in identifying potential thieves.
  6. Form Relationships with Roommates: Establish a rapport with your roommates and build trust. Look out for one another and keep an eye on each other’s belongings when necessary.
  7. Engage with Staff: Interact with the hostel staff and build a friendly relationship. They are more likely to keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior if they know you and your fellow travelers.
  8. Be Aware of Socializing: While socializing and meeting fellow travelers is a great part of hostel life, be cautious about revealing too much personal information or displaying valuable items that may attract unwanted attention.

By staying proactive and aware of your surroundings, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft and keep your belongings safe in the hostel environment. Remember, it’s better to be cautious and take preventive measures than to face the inconvenience of stolen or lost items.


Protecting Valuables When You Are Away from the Hostel

When you’re out exploring the city or participating in activities, it’s crucial to take steps to protect your valuables in case of any unforeseen circumstances. Here are some measures to keep your belongings safe when you’re away from the hostel:

  1. Carry Only What You Need: Before leaving the hostel, assess what you need for the day and leave any unnecessary valuables behind. The less you carry with you, the lower the risk of loss or theft.
  2. Consider Using a Hidden Pouch: Invest in a hidden pouch or money belt that can be worn discreetly under your clothing. This keeps your cash, cards, and important documents safe and secure.
  3. Use a Portable Safe: If you’re carrying valuable items that you don’t want to leave behind in the hostel, consider using a portable safe. These compact safes can be anchored to fixed objects, such as furniture, to deter theft.
  4. Utilize Lockers or Luggage Storage: If your hostel provides storage lockers or luggage storage facilities, take advantage of them. Keep your belongings locked away instead of leaving them in the room unattended.
  5. Keep Valuables Concealed: When you’re out and about, make sure to keep your valuable items concealed and out of sight. Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to them.
  6. Use Hotel Safes or Concealed Compartments: If you’re visiting attractions or engaging in activities, check if they provide lockers or safe storage facilities. Utilize these options to secure your belongings temporarily.
  7. Stay Mindful of Your Surroundings: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid leaving your personal items unattended, even for a short period of time. Thieves can take advantage of a momentary lapse in attention.

By implementing these strategies, you can minimize the risk of loss or theft when you’re away from the hostel. Remember, it’s always better to be cautious and take proactive measures to protect your valuables, giving you peace of mind to fully enjoy your explorations.


Building Trust with Roommates

When staying in a hostel, you often share a room with fellow travelers who may be strangers to you. Building trust and fostering a positive relationship with your roommates is important for the overall safety and security of your belongings. Here are some tips on how to establish trust with your roommates:

  1. Introduce Yourself: Start off on the right foot by introducing yourself to your roommates. Greet them and engage in friendly conversation to establish an initial connection.
  2. Communicate Openly: Foster an environment of open communication by sharing your travel plans and any concerns you may have regarding the security of your belongings. Encourage your roommates to do the same.
  3. Mutual Respect: Show respect for your roommates’ personal space and belongings. Avoid touching or using their items without permission and expect the same in return.
  4. Set Ground Rules: Discuss and agree on some basic rules for the room, including expectations for security. This could include locking the door, not leaving valuable items unattended, and keeping noise levels to a minimum.
  5. Share Security Tips: Exchange knowledge on security practices and share any tips or tricks you have learned during your travels. This creates a sense of camaraderie and helps everyone stay vigilant.
  6. Offer Assistance: Be willing to help out your roommates if they need assistance with securing their belongings. This could be as simple as lending them a lock or showing them how to use the lockers provided by the hostel.
  7. Report Suspicious Activities: If you notice any suspicious behavior or individuals in the hostel, make sure to inform your roommates and the hostel staff. Look out for each other’s safety and well-being.
  8. Be Considerate: Practice common courtesy in the room by keeping noise levels down during quiet hours, keeping the room tidy, and respecting each other’s sleep schedules.
  9. Build Friendships: Take the opportunity to get to know your roommates beyond just being roommates. Engage in conversations, join them for activities, and build friendships that can further enhance the trust and security within the room.

By following these tips, you can create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect within your hostel room. Building positive relationships with your roommates not only enhances your overall experience but also contributes to a safer and more secure environment for everyone.


Reporting Suspicious Activities

When staying in a hostel, it’s important to be observant and vigilant for any suspicious activities that may compromise the safety and security of yourself and your fellow travelers. Here are some guidelines on reporting suspicious activities:

  1. Trust Your Instincts: If something seems off or makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so don’t hesitate to report any suspicious activities.
  2. Observe Carefully: Pay attention to your surroundings and be mindful of any unusual behavior or individuals in the hostel. Take note of any signs that indicate potential theft or other criminal activities.
  3. Document Details: Gather as much information as possible about the suspicious activity. This may include descriptions of the individuals involved, their actions, and any other relevant details that can assist the authorities or hostel staff.
  4. Inform the Hostel Staff: Report any suspicious activities to the hostel staff immediately. They are trained to handle such situations and can take appropriate action to ensure the safety and security of all guests.
  5. Contact Local Authorities: If the situation appears to be serious or poses immediate danger, contact the local authorities, such as the police, and alert them to the suspicious activity. Provide them with the necessary information and cooperate fully with their investigation.
  6. Do Not Confront Alone: If you suspect criminal activity, it is essential to prioritize your own safety. Do not confront the individual(s) involved in suspicious activities on your own. Leave this to the trained professionals.
  7. Cooperate in Investigations: If asked to provide a statement or assist with an investigation, cooperate fully with the authorities and hostel staff. Your cooperation can help keep the hostel environment safe for all guests.
  8. Encourage Fellow Guests to Report: Encourage fellow guests to report any suspicious activities they may observe. A collective effort can help identify patterns or individuals involved in illegal or harmful activities.
  9. Follow Safety Protocols: Familiarize yourself with the safety protocols and emergency procedures of the hostel. Be aware of the locations of emergency exits, fire extinguishers, and alarm systems in case of any emergency.

Remember, maintaining a safe and secure environment in the hostel requires the active participation of all guests. By promptly reporting any suspicious activities, you contribute to the well-being of yourself and your fellow travelers.



When staying in a hostel, taking proactive measures to protect your belongings and ensure your personal safety is paramount. By following the guidelines and tips provided in this article, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft and have a worry-free experience during your hostel stay.


Start by choosing a secure hostel in a safe location, considering factors such as security measures, staff training, and positive reviews. Once you have selected a hostel, take precautions to secure your belongings, such as using a padlock, locking cabinets and lockers properly, and keeping valuables out of sight. Utilize additional security measures like portable door stop alarms and personal safety alarms to further enhance your safety.


It is also important to build trust with your roommates by communicating openly, setting ground rules, and reporting any suspicious activities. Stay vigilant by keeping an eye on your belongings, especially when you’re away from the hostel. Utilize storage options, concealed compartments, and hidden pouches for added security.


Remember to report any suspicious activities to the hostel staff and, if necessary, local authorities. Follow safety protocols and encourage other guests to do the same.


By adopting these practices and staying proactive, you can enjoy your hostel experience to the fullest and minimize the risk of theft or loss. Prioritizing your safety and the security of your belongings allows you to focus on creating lifelong memories and connecting with fellow travelers in the vibrant atmosphere of hostels around the world.


So go ahead, embark on your hostel adventures with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to protect your valuables and ensure a safe and enjoyable stay.