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The Essential Hostel Packing List


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Annabel Washington



When it comes to traveling on a budget, staying in hostels is a popular choice for many adventurous globetrotters. Hostels offer a fun and sociable atmosphere, as well as affordable accommodation options. Whether you’re planning a solo backpacking trip or an exciting group adventure, it’s essential to pack wisely to make the most of your hostel experience.


In this article, we will provide a comprehensive packing list to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay at hostels. We’ve categorized the items into different sections, including clothing items, toiletries, electronics, travel accessories, bedding essentials, practical items, and miscellaneous items.


Before diving into the packing list, it’s important to note that each hostel may have different amenities and rules, so it’s a good idea to check their website or contact them directly for any specific requirements or restrictions.


Now, let’s get started with the essential items you should consider packing when planning your hostel adventure!


Clothing Items

When it comes to packing clothing items for your hostel stay, it’s important to strike a balance between comfort, functionality, and style. Here are some essential clothing items to consider:

  1. Comfortable and versatile clothes: Pack a mix of t-shirts, tank tops, and long-sleeved shirts that can be layered and worn in different weather conditions. Opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics.
  2. Pants/shorts/skirts: Depending on the climate, pack a mix of pants, shorts, and skirts that can be easily mixed and matched with your tops.
  3. Undergarments and socks: Don’t forget to pack enough underwear and socks to last throughout your trip. Consider quick-drying options if you plan on doing laundry on the go.
  4. Sleepwear: A comfortable set of pajamas or loungewear is a must for a good night’s sleep in a hostel dormitory.
  5. Jacket or sweater: Regardless of the destination, it’s always a good idea to have a lightweight jacket or sweater for cooler evenings or air-conditioned hostels.
  6. Swimwear: If you’re heading to a destination with beaches or pools, pack a swimsuit or swim trunks.
  7. Comfortable walking shoes: Invest in a quality pair of walking shoes that are comfortable and suitable for exploring the city or going on hikes.
  8. Flip-flops or sandals: Useful for walking around the hostel, visiting communal shower areas, or heading to the beach.
  9. Accessories: Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, and a scarf or shawl for added style and protection from the sun.

Remember, when packing clothes for a hostel stay, it’s best to pack light and choose items that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Laundry facilities are often available at hostels, so you can wash your clothes and re-wear them during your trip.



When it comes to packing toiletries for your hostel stay, it’s important to be mindful of space and weight restrictions. Many hostels provide basic toiletries like hand soap or shower gel, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own. Here are some essential toiletries to consider:

  1. Shampoo and conditioner: Pack travel-sized bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair clean and manageable.
  2. Body wash or soap: Bringing a small bottle of body wash or a bar of soap is essential for maintaining personal hygiene during your stay.
  3. Toothbrush and toothpaste: Don’t forget to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste to keep your teeth clean and fresh.
  4. Deodorant: Stay fresh throughout the day with your preferred deodorant or antiperspirant.
  5. Razor and shaving cream: If you prefer a clean-shaven look, bring a razor and shaving cream.
  6. Hairbrush or comb: Keep your hair tangle-free with a compact hairbrush or comb.
  7. Skincare products: Bring your skincare essentials like face wash, moisturizer, and sunscreen to keep your skin healthy and protected.
  8. Menstrual products: If you menstruate, don’t forget to pack an adequate supply of tampons, pads, or menstrual cups.
  9. Medications: If you take any prescription medications, be sure to pack them in their original containers.
  10. First aid kit: It’s always a good idea to carry a basic first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic cream, and any necessary medications.

Remember, if you’re traveling with carry-on luggage only, be sure to comply with the airline’s liquid restrictions by packing travel-sized toiletries or decanting them into smaller containers.



When it comes to packing electronics for your hostel stay, it’s important to prioritize the items that will enhance your travel experience and keep you connected. Here are some essential electronics to consider:

  1. Smartphone: Your smartphone is a versatile travel companion. Use it for navigation, communication, language translation, and capturing memorable moments.
  2. Laptop or tablet: If you need to work or stay connected during your trip, consider bringing a laptop or tablet for productivity or entertainment purposes.
  3. Chargers and adapters: Don’t forget to pack chargers for your electronic devices and any necessary power adapters to ensure they can be charged in different countries.
  4. Portable power bank: Bring a portable power bank to keep your devices charged on the go, especially if you’ll be out exploring for long periods without access to a power outlet.
  5. Earphones or headphones: Invest in good-quality earphones or headphones for your entertainment needs and to block out noise in shared dormitories.
  6. Camera: If you’re passionate about photography, bring a camera to capture your travel memories. Alternatively, you can use your smartphone as a convenient camera.
  7. E-reader: If you enjoy reading, consider bringing an e-reader to have a selection of books at your fingertips without taking up space in your luggage.
  8. Travel adapter: A universal travel adapter is a handy accessory that allows you to charge your devices in different countries effortlessly.

Remember to consider the weight and space limitations when packing electronics. It’s important to find the right balance between staying connected and carrying unnecessary items that may weigh you down.


Travel Accessories

When it comes to packing travel accessories for your hostel stay, it’s all about convenience, organization, and enhancing your overall travel experience. Here are some essential travel accessories to consider:

  1. Travel backpack or suitcase: Choose a sturdy and lightweight backpack or suitcase that suits your travel style and meets airline size restrictions.
  2. Travel locks: Keep your belongings secure by bringing a couple of travel locks to lock your backpack or suitcase.
  3. Travel wallet: A travel wallet is perfect for keeping your passport, ID, credit cards, and cash organized and easily accessible.
  4. Travel towel: Opt for a quick-drying and lightweight travel towel that takes up minimal space in your luggage.
  5. Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated and eco-friendly by bringing a reusable water bottle to refill throughout your trip.
  6. Travel-sized laundry detergent: If you plan on doing laundry at the hostel or on the go, pack a travel-sized laundry detergent for convenience.
  7. Travel-sized toiletry bottles: Use travel-sized bottles to decant your favorite toiletries and save space in your luggage.
  8. Travel-sized sewing kit: A small sewing kit can come in handy for any unexpected clothing repairs during your trip.
  9. Travel pillow and eye mask: Ensure a comfortable rest by bringing a travel pillow and eye mask to help you sleep during long journeys or in noisy environments.
  10. Universal sink stopper: If you plan on washing clothes in the sink, a universal sink stopper will come in handy.

Remember, the key is to be organized and pack only the travel accessories that will truly enhance your experience and make your hostel stay more comfortable and convenient.


Bedding Essentials

When staying in a hostel, it’s important to be prepared with the right bedding essentials to ensure a comfortable and restful sleep. While most hostels provide bedding, it’s a good idea to bring a few items to enhance your sleeping experience. Here are some essential bedding items to consider:

  1. Travel sheet or sleeping bag liner: A lightweight travel sheet or sleeping bag liner can provide a hygienic layer between you and the hostel mattress.
  2. Pillowcase: Bring your own pillowcase to cover the hostel pillow for added comfort and hygiene.
  3. Earplugs: Dormitory-style accommodation can sometimes be noisy, so bring a pair of earplugs to block out any disruptive sounds.
  4. Eye mask: If you’re sensitive to light or have trouble sleeping in a well-lit environment, an eye mask can help create darkness for a more restful sleep.
  5. Portable fan or mini-fan: If you’re staying in a hostel without air conditioning or in a hot destination, a portable fan or mini-fan can provide some relief during warm nights.
  6. Portable humidifier: If you’re traveling to a dry destination or during the winter months, a portable humidifier can add moisture to the air and improve sleep quality.

These bedding essentials, such as a travel sheet or sleeping bag liner, can also come in handy if you decide to go camping or stay in budget accommodations that may not provide bedding. Remember, the goal is to make your sleeping environment as comfortable as possible during your hostel stay.


Practical Items

When packing for your hostel stay, it’s important to include practical items that will make your trip more efficient and hassle-free. These items will help you stay organized, handle potential challenges, and make the most of your travel experience. Here are some essential practical items to consider:

  1. Travel adapter: Bring a universal travel adapter to ensure you can charge your electronic devices in different countries.
  2. Multi-purpose tool: A versatile multi-purpose tool, such as a Swiss Army knife, can come in handy for various situations, from opening bottles to fixing minor issues.
  3. Travel-sized sewing kit: Pack a small sewing kit with needles, thread, and buttons, as it can be useful for small clothing repairs during your trip.
  4. Travel insurance: Ensure you have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen items.
  5. Reusable shopping bag: Bring a foldable reusable shopping bag for convenience when shopping or carrying items during your travels.
  6. Travel guidebook or map: If you prefer analog resources, bring a travel guidebook or a map to help you navigate and discover the best attractions and places to visit.
  7. Document organizer: Keep your passports, travel documents, boarding passes, and other important papers organized and easily accessible in a document organizer.
  8. Laundry bag: Separate dirty laundry from clean clothes by packing a lightweight laundry bag to keep your luggage organized.
  9. Portable luggage scale: Avoid overweight baggage fees by bringing a portable luggage scale to weigh your luggage before heading to the airport.
  10. Lockable storage bag: A lockable storage bag or pouch can provide an extra layer of security for your valuable items.

These practical items will help you stay prepared and organized throughout your hostel stay and ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. Remember to tailor your packing list based on your personal needs and the specific destination you’ll be visiting.


Miscellaneous Items

When packing for your hostel stay, there are a few miscellaneous items that can come in handy and make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable. These items may not fit into specific categories but are still worth considering. Here are some miscellaneous items to include in your packing list:

  1. Travel pillow: A compact and inflatable travel pillow can provide extra comfort during long journeys or when relaxing at the hostel.
  2. Travel-sized umbrella: Be prepared for unexpected rain showers by packing a small and lightweight travel-sized umbrella.
  3. Reusable cutlery and container: If you plan on preparing your own meals or reducing waste, bring reusable cutlery and a container for leftovers or snacks.
  4. Outlet splitter or power strip: In hostels where power outlets may be limited, an outlet splitter or power strip can be useful to charge multiple devices at once.
  5. Reusable earplugs: If you’re a light sleeper or want to block out noise, reusable earplugs can help create a peaceful sleeping environment.
  6. Travel games or deck of cards: Pack a deck of cards or travel-sized games to enjoy with fellow travelers and make new friends.
  7. Language phrasebook: If you’re traveling to a destination with a different language, a pocket-sized phrasebook can be helpful when communicating with locals.
  8. Waterproof bag or dry sack: Keep your belongings dry and protected by packing a waterproof bag or dry sack for any water-related activities or unexpected rain.
  9. Ziplock bags: Pack a few ziplock bags of various sizes for organizing small items, keeping electronics or documents dry, or storing snacks.
  10. Travel-sized laundry detergent: If you plan on doing laundry during your trip, a travel-sized laundry detergent can be convenient for washing your clothes.

These miscellaneous items can add convenience, entertainment, and practicality to your hostel stay. Remember to personalize your packing list based on your own preferences and travel plans.



Packing the right essentials for your hostel stay is key to ensuring a comfortable, organized, and enjoyable travel experience. By considering the various categories we’ve discussed – clothing items, toiletries, electronics, travel accessories, bedding essentials, practical items, and miscellaneous items – you’ll be well-prepared for your hostel adventure.


Remember to pack versatile and lightweight clothing items that can be mixed and matched. Don’t forget essential toiletries, electronics to stay connected, and travel accessories that enhance your convenience. Bedding essentials, such as a travel sheet or sleeping bag liner, will contribute to a good night’s sleep, and practical items like a travel adapter and multi-purpose tool will come in handy in various situations.


Lastly, include some miscellaneous items that may not fit into specific categories but can add extra comfort and entertainment to your trip. With these items in your luggage, you’ll be prepared to make the most of your hostel stay and create lasting memories.


Remember, each hostel and destination may have specific requirements, so it’s always a good idea to check their website or contact them directly before finalizing your packing list.


Now, it’s time to pack your bags, embark on your hostel adventure, and embrace the excitement of budget travel!