- Do book your first night’s accommodation. While it is tempting to be more adventurous by finding a place to sleep when you arrive at your destination you might regret it if: 1) you have a hard time finding a place to stay since most establishments are fully booked, 2) those that are near or that aren’t full yet are expensive (read: hotels and motels), 3) you get there really tired or feeling unwell and checking in takes a really long time. I could go on and on about possible mishaps but the point is to just book your first night so that you’ll have a place waiting for you to relax and start your trip right.
- Do stay in hostels. Those new at backpacking might be tempted to check in at motels since motels, compared to five star hotels, is roughing it. You will bu surprised though how expensive motels can be, compared to hostels. For a true backpacking experience you should stay in hostels. There are plenty of choices that offer comfortable and clean accommodations.
- Do ask for a tour of the place before paying up. If you are staying in a hostel make sure you know what you are getting. While it is true that there are plenty of good hostels it is equally true that there are plenty lousy ones out there. Ask to see the rooms.
- Do use the communal kitchen. Self-cooked meals are good not only for your budget but it will also be good for your social life. You can even share meals with a new found friend.
- Do not stay in a motel. As I
have mentioned earlier it can be more expensive than you think it is. Spend the money you save on side trips and extra nights! Aside from the expense though motels are for loners. If you want to meet lots of people stay in a place where you will need to share rooms and where mingling in lobbies and other communal places (kitchens, game rooms, etc) is the norm.
- Do not stay in mixed sex dorms/hostels. This is especially true for women. It can be extremely uncomfortable having to share a room or at least bathrooms with the opposite sex. There are shared dorms though wherein men and women stay in different rooms, floors or on opposite wings. At the very least make sure that the only communal rooms are those that you feel won’t invade your privacy.
- Do not give your money to the receptionist and “bell boys”. Lots of people have had bad experiences with this. In the first place hostels almost never have bell boys. Pay at the cashier only. If the receptionist is the cashier ask for a receipt.