Hosteling 101: Securing Your Belongings

Going traveling soon?  Worried about the possibility of having your stuff stolen from a dorm room while you’re out exploring?  Short of losing the yogurt I stored in the hostel fridge, I’ve never had property go missing while I’ve been backpacking.  Maybe it’s because nobody wants to steal my ten pairs of bejeweled flip-flops and my travel straightening iron, but it’s more likely because I take a few simple precautions to keep my stuff safe.  Here are a few hostel safety tips that explain how I’ve managed to avoid hostel thievery (so far!).

hostel theft 1

First, consider your safety when making a reservation.  Smaller dorm rooms might mean fewer people have access to your stuff, while lockers are an extra layer of security.  Read reviews written by other travelers to see if the hostel has a history of theft, and avoid hostels with reviews like the one above.

Second, be friendly.  Get to know the other people in your hostel.  It’s similar to walking down the street and making eye contact with the people you pass.  Being aware of your surroundings, and other travelers, is key.

hostel safety tips

Third, use the lockers!  Some hostel lockers have keys, while others require your own combination lock.  I always travel with a basic combination lock (the kind you used in high school) like this one by Master.  (I also painted the lock with nail polish to make it easier to pick out of a row of lockers.)

hostel safety

Finally, bring a cable lock!  You might find yourself in a dorm room without lockers, or you might want to leave your luggage in a storage room after you’ve checked out on your last day.  In those cases, loop a simple cable lock through the zips on your bag (to keep them together) and then onto something sturdy, like the railing of your bunk bed or a shelf in the storage room.  My preferred lock is by Pac-Safe, though it’s very similar to this model (which is a way better price) from Master.

If you follow these simple hostel safety tips, chances are pretty good that you won’t lose anything more than your yogurt!


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