How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Staying in a Hostel or Airbnb

Going on holiday is great. Getting out of the office and exploring a new town or city can do wonders for our stress levels. That is until it comes to the bedtime of course. Why is sometimes when we are away from home, no matter how tired we feel at the end of the day we still can’t get to sleep?

Well, the answer to that pickle of a question is manyfold. Humans are creatures of habit, our bodies and minds love a good routine. When we travel our tried and tested daily routines are more often than not left at home with the cat.

Add to this the different foods, bewildering smells, discombobulating new languages, the heat, the constant bargaining, the hectic traffic, and even all the extra smiling that occurs when we are abroad and it’s no wonder we head to bed massively overstimulated.

On top of that, we have to take into account where we are sleeping. Hotels, hostels, and even Airbnbs are all great in their own ways but they all have their quirks that can conspire to prevent you from getting to sleep.

Fortunately, as a relatively seasoned traveler and notoriously bad sleeper, I’ve developed some tried and tested tips that should help you get better sleep no matter where you are. Read on below to find out…




1. Always Bring Accessories

Sorry girls I’m not talking about earrings here. I mean sleep accessories. This is probably my top tip, just because of how ridiculously simple it is and how big of an impact it can have. Add them to your list of packing essentials.

Hostels are amazing places but obviously, for such a cheap bed you are going to have to sacrifice a few comforts, such as privacy and a quiet night. In a dorm room, anything can happen.

So, if you’re fed up of pretending those weird snores aren’t sex noise, or just fed up of listening to Harmony tell yet another traveler that they, “just have to have to go to Ubud for the Buddha Bowls!” – then earplugs are the solution for you.

Equally fed up with your slumber being snatched away from you the constant on-off of the lights. Well, then get yourself a sleep mask.

This super-cheap and super-lightweight pair of accessories are worth one thousand times their weight in treasure. Popping them on is like entering your own sensory deprivation chamber. I never leave home without them and neither should you.

And they don’t just come in handy in hostels, I’ve been in many an Airbnb with paper-thin walls and even thinner curtains. A sleep mask and earplugs are great to have wherever you wander.



2. Do your Research

My number two tip is to get better at your pre-trip research. In this day and age of information saturation, it is quite easy, with a little leg-work on your behalf, to find out a little more about where you will be staying.

Before you book your Airbnb read the reviews carefully and be sure also to read between the lines. If a former guest mentions the ‘lively neighbors’ or ‘loved that the bar was just downstairs’, have a think to yourself if you would love that too.

Make use of Google Street View, and take yourself on a virtual drive of the street, if you can count more than one or two bars, then chances are you might have a noisy night ahead.

The same goes before you book a hostel. Maybe the reason that bunk is so cheap is that it’s located next to an all-night bus station or at the end of runway three.

Always check a hostel’s own website, if their homepage is covered in shirtless men and bikini-clad women and they proudly boast of being the “most badass party hostel in town”, chances are you won’t be getting a quiet night.

Doing that extra five minutes of research could quite literally save you five hours of lying awake in bed fuming!



3. Get Tired

Nothing helps us sleep better than being genuinely tired when we go to bed. By this I don’t just mean tired of drinking cocktails, I mean physically tired too. Yes, I know going on holiday is about relaxing and not getting up going for a jog or hitting the gym. But you can balance the two.

Creaking hostel bunk beds or a sagging mattress in your Airbnb aren’t going to keep you awake if you are genuinely exhausted. And you can’t really go out and buy a new bed for somewhere you are just staying for a few days, can you? Although, the Sleep Advisor gang has reviewed some great futons if you fancy one.

So take matters into your own hands. Get out there, wherever you are, and go exploring. Today could be your last day on the planet so make sure you do and see everything possible!

Skip the sun lounger, go dancing, climb to the top of that hill for sunset, cycle to that beach, and join the locals doing Tai Chi. Do whatever, I don’t care. Just ensure you’re tired when your head hits the pillow. Oh, and have the fun of course!



Happy travels and sweet dreams!
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