Hostel Life: 6 underrated things missing from life on the Road

Hostel life is great, there is no doubt about that. It is an entertaining, social, and economical way to go about traveling which many people enjoy. Among all the good, there are some underappreciated things that are missing from hostel life that after a while I personally start to yearn for. Here are 6 underrated things missing from hostel life that perhaps you may have noticed or not.


  1. A Big Bath Towel

There is nothing like using the same towel for the pool, the beach, and the shower. This is exactly what I want after a long day. To FINALLY get clean and then proceed to dry myself with a chlorine saturated, salt covered, sandy towel that I spent the day sitting on at the beach…so much for being clean. How nice would it be to get out of the shower to a nice, clean big warm towel? So nice!

bath towel

  1. A Clean Frying Pan

How about those days where you try to be a healthy, economically motivated traveler and do your own cooking. Only to find that there are mysterious black flakes attached to the bottom of your fried eggs. I have no idea what they are or where these black flakes come from, but they are on the bottom of the pan and the only way they come off is by cooking not by washing, so I eat them anyways. Remember the days of cooking with your own clean pots and pans, without having to worry about mysterious, and possibly carcinogenic flakes. Yeah…I miss that too.

clean frying pan

  1. Shampoo in the Shower

My favorite part of the day is when I get to have a hostel shower. You know, you take your well used towel into the shower, with fresh clothes to sling over the door and a handful of shampoo bottles and soaps, dropping a few as you tip-toe to the shower. Nothing like taking off your clothes with wet feet from the shower before you, and then when you start to wash you realize…damn you forgot your razor/soap….looks like those legs are staying furry for another day. Throwback to the days of hoping into your shower and having everything already present, organized and ready for you to groom yourself. Oh yeah….following your shower, you get to take all the wet bottles out and place them back in your backpack. Three cheers to the smell of wet bottles in a bag.

Hotel shampoo bottles

  1. Outlets, Outlets, Outlets

We are modern travelers! We come with iPods, phones, tablets, computers, and cameras to say the least. Occasionally you arrive at a hostel and after you find there are no outlets in the room, you take your handful of electronics to the common areas only to find them jam packed with chargers of every country. Sometimes charging your items takes strategy. I mean staking out your outlet, and waiting within view to see if someone is leaving, or checking to see if someone’s phone is fully charged and unplugging theirs to sneak in yours. I may even be found sitting while my things charge making sure no one unplugs it for that same reason. The charging outlet is a selfish game and it takes time. I always miss having all the outlets I need, charging everything at once, and even having my phone charge at night safe and secure beside my bed. Ahh those were the days.

wall outlet hostel

  1. Hooks and Hangers

Perhaps you are traveling in a cooler environment, or maybe you find yourself in a hot and humid environment and have some damp clothes you’d like to dry. Wherever it is, I must say I miss having hangers. In addition to missing hangers, I miss having the security to hang my jacket at the door, or on the foot of my bed and not having to worry if it will be there when I get back. Instead, we here enjoying hostel life, have the pleasure of attempting to jam our coats and other clothing that may need a little TLC, into our already pre-stunk backpacks, among both clean and dirty clothes, and then, if we are lucky, and only if, we then have the pleasure of squishing that into a locker somewhere in the room. After all this time, a nice convenient hook or hanger in a safe spot would go a long way…for me and everyone around me.

hostel clothing hooks

  1. Cooking Supplies

One of the perks of hostel life is having access to a kitchen where you are able to cook your own healthy and cheap food. Never do I mind heading to the local market to grab some rice, chicken, veggies, pasta, etc. Unfortunately I immediately miss my home spice rack. Hostels occasionally come equipped with salt and oil that someone left behind, but few other tasty ingredients inhabit their cupboards. I miss cooking with flavour. Most often I just eat bland food because carrying spices and cooking supplies: a) Takes up room in my pack that I don’t have and b) No matter how hard you try, they will spill into your bag and make a mess. Remember the days of having a well-stocked kitchen full of oils, spices, sauces and everything you need to create a delicious meal.

hotel spice rack

things missing from your hostel life

First Published by Thought Catalog @



  1. Love this post Kimberley – although I definitely did REGULARLY fantasise about my big bath towel while travelling. I took one of those hideous travel towels with me that just smell like wet dog. Urgh. Nothing beats a good, dry, fluffy towel. Small things aye! Totally agree with all of these – especially the plug socket one. There’s never enough! But packing a multi-plug cable is a life saver. Great post 🙂


    1. Bath towels are just to big to pack eh? And hostels charge an arm and a leg for them! Occasionally tho…a hostel gives out towels with the room and it’s just THE BEST

  2. Great post! You really don’t appreciate these things until you’re missing them! A big bath towel is something we always daydream about when we don’t have one! And it seems coat hangers are always missing in action when we travel!

    1. Every time I go out on the road now I take these things into consideration and it helps me pack for the next time

  3. Hi Kimberly!
    While reading your post so many memories came to my mind… I think the shower situations are the worst!
    Last year we travelled Spain North to South carrying a Black Pepper grinder and a bottle of olive oil 😉

  4. Many of these are the reasons why I typically skip hostels, although I have been fortunate to travel in places where there are just as cheap alternatives. Thank you for reminding me. Haha!

  5. Forget a clean frying pan, at one point we struggled to find a hostel that had handles on their pots and pans.

    In the absence of oven mitts, this can be a hot exercise! 😉

    1. Ohhh my god, that’s true! We should defo add that one to the drink…ahaha, I always use the sleeve of my sweater because I am not tough enough to use the dirty washcloth aha

  6. I’m with Gabby, I hate travel towels. They just stick to you! So much of this rings true, we are currently in one place (Sunshine Coast, Canada – I see a .ca in your weblink…) and it is a dream after four months on the road dealing with no spice rack and the fight for sockets! Although the blog often brings the perks of a private room 😉

    Great post, really enjoyed it!

    1. Ahaha welcome to Canada :). Every once in a while I get a private room for luxurys sake. Oooooh an ode to a room key ahah

    1. ahaha I HAVE at some points splurged on the hostel towel and those days were sooo special and glorious. ahahah

    1. Aha If your doing the beach thing, the Sand, its everywhere, you have no chance, sand is the herpes of travel gear, once its on your stuff, its on you for life.

  7. I feel you on these. Those hostel kitchens are tease…because you’ve got ways to literally cook food but not the ways to make them taste good. One trick we used on on our RTW, was to take a pill box and fill each slot with a different spice for our own little mini spice rack. Ones with a twist off caps are ideal to prevent spilling.

  8. Haha I never stayed at a hostel (I know what you’re thinking) but this made me laugh and realise all the important things in life – like the large towel and the unlimited power supply! Great read

  9. I guess I’ve been pretty spoiled since all of the hostels I stayed at offers most of these on the list. I will keep this in mind for future references though!

  10. This is a great post. Especially for those who have never stayed in a hostel or only a few times. I myself have only stayed in one once and noticed some of these things instantly!

  11. I can seriously relate to every single one of these!! Sand covered towels are THE WORST, omg! 🙁 There has been so many times I’ve gone out swimming with hairy legs because the darn razor that didn’t make its way to the shower, haha. (Thankfully I’m very light haired so it’s not very noticeable xD ) I’ve never brought spices with me but I have brought vitamins, though I was super smart bringing them in a double ziploc bag…. until I was in Central America and saw a line of ants crawling to and from my bag… they had gotten into my vitamins which were littered with tiny ant carcasses. :/

  12. So true about the shower! Especially when it’s late at night and I don’t want to wake anyone and then….goddamit…I have to go back and forth into the dorm to get that shampoo haha.

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