Staying in a Hostel for the First Time

Never stayed in a hostel before? Here are some tips to help you plan a trip. Hostels can be a great and affordable way to stay in new and unique locations. Scotland has an amazing range of hostels around the country which give you exciting places to stay after going for long walks, exploring the landscape or visiting a new city.

Don't forget you can get free membership at Hostelling Scotland and 15% off with your Young Scot card!

Checking In and Out

Woman carrying a suitcase into a room

Youth hostel opening dates and reception times outwith the main holiday season can vary - for example weekend opening only. Make sure to check the website or call the hostel to confirm opening dates if you are unsure.

You will normally need a form of identification when you check in, this could be a driving licence, bankcard, passport, Young Scot card or other form of identification.

To check out just leave your room with all your belongings, and hand in your room key/card at reception, by the check out time on your last day. In most hostels you can still use the lounge areas after you check out, and there may be a storage room for your bags if you wish to leave and come back for them.

Room Types

Bunk beds in a hostel room

You can stay in a range of different rooms in hostels. There are both private rooms and shared accommodation (where you have a bed in a room you share with other guests). Shared rooms are often cheaper than private rooms. Your room may be ensuite, or the bathroom facilities may be shared. Your room type will be on the booking statement.


Young people get food in a dining hall

Hostels often offer breakfast which you can book, and some offer evening meals and packed lunches too. In addition many youth hostels have self-catering kitchens where you can take your own food, or drinks. They have all the mugs, plates or pans you may need, just remember to bring the ingredients.



Many youth hostels contain a small shop where it is possible to purchase a number of items including confectionery, crisps, soup, pasta and soft drinks. These shops also stock a range of essential toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste.

Staying Away from Home

Young woman sitting alone in the bottom bunk of a bunk bed

If it is your first time away from home, there are several tips to be more comfortable. Try to bring something from home – a soft toy or photo can make your hostel bed seem more familiar and comfortable. See if you can call home - if your hostel has phone reception or internet, give home a phone, it can be great to hear from loved ones and let them know you’re safe. Don't spend your whole time away on the phone but a specific time to ring can be a good idea.

If you’re worried about some aspect of staying in a hostel or away from home, ask questions! The hostel team will be happy to answer any questions about staying at their hostel.

Thanks for reading!

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