This is the first thing on the list because it is ESSENTIAL above all else. You’re backpacking because you want to have the experience of a lifetime but how can you enjoy your experiences if you haven’t slept in days? And what’s the one thing all aspiring-sleepers hate more than anything else? Snorers. Hostels are full of snorers. There is always at least one who can make the walls vibrate with their chainsaw snoring. In the moment it can be frustrating as hell, but some of the best friends I’ve made while traveling were either the snorers who I teased mercilessly the next morning or other backpackers who I’ve bonded with while comparing our worst snorer encounters. It’s all part of the experience, but to reiterate, you need to get a good night’s sleep (at least one every few days, between benders) to really make the most of your experience. Don’t let snorers ruin your trip. Invest in a few sets of earplugs (because you’ll lose them pretty easily) and rest well! Do yourself a favor and splurge a bit on good quality earplugs. You can get a pack of silicone earplugs that will form to your ear to block out more sound and they’re generally more comfortable than the cheapo foam ones. If earplugs aren’t your thing, headphones can work just as well, with the small inconvenience of risking strangulation in your sleep.
Pro tip: If there isn’t a snorer in your room, it’s probably you. You might want to go out and get some anti-snoring nasal strips just in case.
Snoring isn’t the only thing that can impair sleep. When you’re living in a hostel, you’ll be sharing your room with at least two other people but on average 11-13 other people. (I once stayed in a room with 24 beds. That was excessive.) Of those, there will almost always be That Person who comes in drunk at 4am and turns on all the lights. Everyone wakes up and groans and mutters curse words at That Person (who is generally too blitzed to care) but pair your earplugs with an eye mask and you won’t notice a thing!