scorecard5 things I'm glad I brought with me the first time I stayed in a hostel, and 2 things I'll be sure to bring next time
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5 things I'm glad I brought with me the first time I stayed in a hostel, and 2 things I'll be sure to bring next time

Marielle Descalsota   

5 things I'm glad I brought with me the first time I stayed in a hostel, and 2 things I'll be sure to bring next time
LifeThelife2 min read
I brought disinfectant wipes over a disinfecting spray gun.    Marielle Descalsota/Insider
  • I stayed in a hostel for the first time in Singapore's backpacking district.
  • I'm a last-minute packer, and for this overnight trip I decided to only bring the essentials.

Earlier this month, I booked an overnight stay at a capsule hostel in the heart of Singapore's backpacking district.

As a first-time backpacker, I wasn't sure what to bring with me. Many of the articles I read online focused on long-term backpacking, and had extensive lists of must-bring items.

While I'm usually a last-minute packer, it ended up working in my favor for this overnight trip: I packed light and only brought the essentials.

Things I'm glad I brought for my first hostel trip

From top left to right: Disinfecting wipes, dental kit, backpack, wired earphones, AirPods, and portable charger.
From top left to right: Disinfecting wipes, dental kit, backpack, wired earphones, AirPods, and portable charger.      Marielle Descalsota/Insider
  1. A dental kit: I figured hostels wouldn't have the same luxuries as hotels, so I packed a dental kit. The hostel I stayed at only provided dispensers filled with shampoo and body wash, so it was a relief I brought my toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.
  2. Portable charger: I spent most of my time working from a cafe near the hostel, so I wasn't always able to charge my phone or laptop. Having a portable charger was handy, as I could work uninterrupted and not worry about my devices' batteries running low.
  3. Earphones: One of the hostel rules was to be quiet at all times, so when I watched YouTube videos or listened to music, I had to plug a headset into my phone. I brought my wired earphones and AirPods, just in case the latter had connection or battery issues.
  4. Disinfectant wipes: Anti-bacterial wipes are a backpacking must-have. When I first settled into my sleeping pod, I found black dirt all over my bed and even in the sides of the unit. Thankfully, the wipes made for an easy clean up. I thought about bringing a disinfecting spray gun, but I was glad I didn't, as there was little ventilation in the hostel.
  5. Sneakers: The most practical choice I made was to wear sneakers — and to not bring another pair along. I usually like wearing fancier footwear like boots or heels, but staying in a hostel called for shoes that were made for walking around town.
What the inside of my backpack looked like.
What the inside of my backpack looked like.      Marielle Descalsota/Insider

What I wish I'd packed

  1. Flip-flops: The biggest packing mistake I made was not bringing a pair of flip-flops. I would have been more comfortable when using the bathroom, showering, or even when doing a late-night run to the convenience store.
  2. Portable fan: The air-conditioning in my sleeping pod was barely working, which I could not have known to prepare for. I ended up keeping my door open for most of the night to ease the stuffiness. I would have enjoyed more privacy if I'd had a mini fan to cool down the unit a bit.

Overall, packing light is the way to go when staying in a hostel. But a pair of flip-flops and a portable fan would have not taken much space, and would have made my stay much more comfortable.

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