Hostel Hacks in Australia

Hostel Hacks in Australia Image | East Coast Tours Australia

7 game-changing ways for backpackers to save money and make your hostel room a home away from home!

Hostels and backpacker lodgings are excellent ways to meet other backpackers, save money as you travel Australia and experience a quintessential, endless East Coast summer. However, we've all had a few hostel moments that we simply wish we... hadn't. From making new friends to getting a good night's sleep, learn how to hack your hostel stay to ensure a good time! 

Find the right hostel for you 

We know that as soon as you start searching for a hostel in Australia, you are usually met with an abundance of choices. Some of these hostels can be great, simple and affordable options, and others can be… not so great. From our experience, we recommend keeping your eyes peeled for rooms in Bunk Hostels, Bounce Hostels and Wake Up Hostels when looking for backpacker accommodation along the East Coast. Balancing quirk with an assured fun, clean and worry-free stay, these spots will provide you with everything you need from a hostel, with the little extras to suit your personality. 

Speaking of personality, make sure you know what kind of stay you’re looking for. Are you an incredibly light sleeper and don’t love sharing accommodation? Weigh up the pros and cons of a private room. Don’t feel comfortable sleeping in mixed dorms? Most hostels will have female-only and male-only dorms options. Simply looking to save money and don’t mind bunking with other travellers? Mixed dorms are your way to go! 

We also recommend checking multiple sites and platforms before booking to avoid pesky booking fees and make the most of competitive online pricing deals. Or, if you’re after a totally easy booking and lodging experience, let us know what kind of accommodation you’re after and we’ll book you directly with our tried-and-tested selection of hostel partners! 

Shared bunk room with double beds hostel

Know how to pack

While you don’t have to bring the kitchen sink (in fact, we advise that you pack light), there are a couple of small, simple items that make hostel living SO much more comfortable. Whether it’s the difference between getting a good night's sleep, or avoiding the ick factor, remember to pack smartly… you are in an ultra-communal space. So, chuck these goodies in your pack before check-in! 

  • Thongs 

And for anyone that just did a double-take, we mean flip flops! Call them sandals, jandals, pluggers, thongs, flip flops… whatever! Just don’t forget to wear them when it’s time for a shower, particularly if you’re in a large communal bathroom. If your mums taught you as ours did, it’s good form to wear thongs in public showers to avoid that ick factor. 

  • Earplugs 

Important for a restful hostel night’s sleep, and particularly crucial for any light sleepers out there, pack a pair of earplugs! Grab a cheap pack from a supermarket, chemist or hardware store and have them tucked away. Whether it’s a snoring neighbour, an inconsiderate drunk barging in at 3 am or city noise, these babies will let you rest your travelling bones! 

  • Sarong

If you’re lucky enough to snag the bottom bunk, hang up a sarong across the side of your bed. Providing privacy and a dark space, it feels overwhelmingly good to have your own little cocoon to relax in amongst a bustling room of other backpackers. Or, if you forgot a sarong, your towel should work pretty well too! 

  • Lock 

Necessary when leaving your luggage unattended for the day, make sure you have a good quality lock. Most hostels will provide a cage for bag storage, but you will require your own baggage lock to secure the door! 

Check out our full East Coast Tour packing list to ensure you bring everything you need!

Haviana thongs, cream colour

Make friends with the hostel staff

Rule of thumb, be friendly to the hostel staff! These guys, often ex-backpackers themselves, know what goes on in the hostel and town, and are usually pretty friendly if you put some good vibes out there! From possibly upgrading you to a better dorm, to giving you a discount for a longer stay, to telling you where the best places to eat, party and listen to live music are, these guys can be your ticket to the ultimate hostel experience. 

Hostel on K'gari with a couch and australian flag at the desk

Cook at the hostel 

Use. The. Kitchen. It’s super simple, yet easily forgotten. If you’re backpacking in Australia for a long-haul holiday, eating out three times a day (plus beers) can easily add up to cost you over $100 a day. So, if money saving is on the agenda and your hostel has a kitchen, head down to the supermarket or mosey through your local farmers market and pick up some cheap, fresh and healthy produce! Whether you’re showing off your inner chef or simply combining a jar of passata with a packet of pasta, cooking in your hostel can be both financially and even socially rewarding if you’re eating with new friends! Not to mention, you can save those hard-earned dollars for things like diving adventures, island sails and wildlife experiences. Check out our favourite, easy and low-cost meals to cook in hostels for a hand in the kitchen!

Another tip is to keep an eye out for hostels that offer a free breakfast. If you do find these gems, make sure you wake up to make the free breakfasts! While usually a simple continental situation, it’s a great way to fuel up (for free) before a day of adventure! 

Market produce, figs, carrots, radishes

Hostel etiquette

While often unspoken, there is a pretty obvious etiquette required when you’re living with many other travellers, all from different walks of life. Just because you're in a hostel, it does not mean that you're in a lawless land; common decency goes a long way. While it may be pretty clear that you shouldn’t come crashing into your dorm at 3 am after a big night on the town, there are other more subtle habits you should also avoid. Don’t set your blaring alarm for sunrise, only to let it ring for out before you snooze it twice. Don’t leave your belongings over the floor of your shared dorm.

Pretty much, just be mindful that you’re in a very communal, sometimes packed, space, and you should treat it as such! Trust us, those good vibes will come back around tenfold. 

Room in a hostel with three backpackers

Don’t be afraid to say "no"

Hostels along the East Coast of Australia are often buzzing with awesome people, seeking out adventure and fun! And, if that sounds like you, it’s really amazing when you meet new friends and can hit the many vibrant towns whenever you want! However, if you plan on doing a long haul spell in hostel accommodation, you will need to find a way to balance socialising and partying with downtime. The simplest way to do this isn’t always to splash out on private rooms, but to just say… no. While it may seem weird when you’re in a busy hostel environment, it’s okay to spend a night in and have an early one every now and then! And, if you're really feeling it, you can even treat yourself to a private room for a night or two! 

Private room, hostel

Get involved and make memories!

Our ultimate and most important hack to having positive hostel experiences is to get out there, immerse yourself in the magic and get involved with what’s happening around you! That can look like checking out your hostel’s planned events like pub crawls, making daytime plans with any new friends you’ve made and interacting with other travellers. Replace the “how are yous” and the “where are you froms” with “why did you come to Australia” and “what’s been your favourite experience here so far?” to have deeper interactions with the like-minded jet setters around you! So, let’s get exploring this stunning country and make those unique memories… the best kind of souvenirs there are! 

Three young backpackers watching the sunset at K'gari's maheno Shipwreck

Want us to sort the ins and outs of your hostel stays to ensure it's all smooth cruising along the East Coast?

Simply get in touch with our team through live chat, or design your very own itinerary today!

East Coast Tours acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.

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