Are Hostels Safe? And we mean: Really safe? This is a collection of 13 safety tips so you can travel without fear.

So, we are assuming you concerned about the safety in a hostel?

In this guide we will share how you and your belongings can remain safe while enjoying the time of your life.

Well, first of all, you are not alone with this doubt. The question about the safety situation is quite a popular one. Even among experienced travelers, it is always important to keep your shield up.

Whether you are in a hostel in Europe, in Thailand, somewhere in South America or Africa; the question goes for all hostels:


We love to introduce you to the world of hostels. Although we clearly love the concept of hosteling, we will give you (as always) our honest and transparent view.

This article is part of the big guide to hostel. It is a collection of hostel-related answers to your questions.

The safety is here involved, for instance with buying a proper padlock for hostels. On this note, always bring a padlock with you when traveling.

Answer: Are Hostels safe? Yes, but…

When people get together, there are always endless variables.

Here is the thing:

It always came down to the people you are staying with.

Think about it: What are travelers doing at a hostel in the first place? It is an affordable place to stay at and meet people. Traveler (usually) do not come to hostels to steal from the other.

However, we have heard a lot of stories. Please read this guide until the end. We promise, it will be helpful.

There are some basic rules you can apply.

13 simple tips to stay safe at a hostel:

  1. Stay at a quality hostel with a secure hostel location – The first rule to stay safe at hostels is choosing a quality hostel – all 5 Star Hostels are safe!
  2. Trust your gut and use your head
  3. Use the lockers (even in private rooms)
  4. Ask staff for security advice – Is there something to know about the city, scams, areas to skip?
  5. If in doubt, travel in a group
  6. Drink responsibly (and in a group you are familiar with if possible)
  7. Don’t open the hostel door for strangers
  8. Don’t bring shady friends to the house
  9. Watch your belongings you care about
  10. Copy your Passport and email it to you – Remember: Your passport is crucial!
  11. Hide some backup money in a different pocket – Put some money away, just in case you lose your wallet.
  12. Arrive to the hostel the first time before dark
  13. For Female Traveler: if in doubt, many hostels offer female-only dorms as well. There are even complete hostels only for female traveler.

Please don’t get us wrong.

We are not claiming any romantic idea of all hostels in the world are filled with rainbows and unicorns. In fact, there are many negative hostel stories and experiences. A laptop was stolen, a DSLR camera, shoes, or only the tooth brush. (There are some odd stories, really!)

Now, there are always exceptions in life – and so is here!

You will find stories from hostels like the girl who lost her camera in Berlin and got it back. And from a friend, who lost her MacBook in Nicaragua forever.

A hostel is safe, when…

A hostel can take a lot of actions to become a safe place!

This starts with the location of the hostel itself, secure doors, and ends with secure lockers and trusted staff. A safe hostel always offers lockers, and takes more steps to ensure a safe environment for the traveler.

If a hostel has no locker, it is usually a red-flag for us for not staying here.

A safe hostel always offers lockers!

Hostels do even more. For instance?

A common action hostel workers take, is exchanging information about rude or shady guests. If there is a thief or trouble-making guest around an area or country, hostels share names of the person to warn other accommodations. This is something you as a guest normally do not see, but behind the scenes hostels take many actions to ensure a safe stay.

Think about it, a hostel has no interest in getting into a stealing issue. Imagine the damage it can cause for a hostel if people get mugged in the area or thing stolen.

There are still “honesty boxes”!

Do you know what’s as o-called honesty box?

For instance, you can take a cold drink out of the fridge, and you leave the payment in the honesty box right next to it. The fridge is not locked or anything. Anyone can take a drink. And you do not pay at the reception or anything.

The payment is based on, well, trust!

We LOVE honesty boxes at Hostels!

Why do you think that is?

There is a certain level of trust the hostels puts into their guests. The first time we came across such a box was in Porto, Portugal. WOW! There were over a 50€ in that small, ceramic piggy bank – and nobody even dared to steal.

You see, sometimes this system works. But again, truth be told, other hostels removed their honesty-payment system due to bad experiences.

Always bring Padlocks

Again, only choose hostels with lockers. This is key to stay safe.

We always, always, always travel with two different padlocks.

The padlocks will help you to lock up your stuff in the locker; obviously. You can also buy or rent one at the hostel, but this ends up costing more.

Plus, here is another smart tip. You can use the padlock to actually lock your day bag as well while walking through the city, or at the airport or train station. It will reduce the chance of someone pick-pocketing you.

Important: get a padlock that fits all sizes. I recommend this padlock with a thinner lock on top. It will fit all sizes.

Hostels with Technology

Many many hostels, especially in Europe, now offer a a bit of technology to keep you safe.

You will receive a check-in card. This card will be your key to the hostel, your key to your dorm and even the key to your own locker.

Hostels using this technology are for instance The Passenger Hostel in Porto and Hostel Celica in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

These hostels are obviously taking another step in the safety-game.

Yet, always remember to bring your own padlock anyway. As stated, your own padlock helps you as well with your day bag and during transportation.