Do Hostels Have Towels And Toiletries

Written by: Chris Richardson

As you run through your never-ending packing list trying to stuff everything into your backpack, you might ask yourself do hostels have towels and toiletries you can use. Do they provide soap or shampoo? Will there be a hair dryer to use? Can I fit all this in my suitcase?

The short answer to that is no. The longer answer is that it depends on your expectations. Hostels aren’t hotels, so you must bring everything you’ll need in your luggage.

Hostels don’t provide many luxuries as they are considered budget traveller accommodation, so it’s a good idea to make a list of what you need to bring so you don’t forget the bathroom necessities before you travel.

Do Hostels Provide Towels?

Generally, you can count on hostels to offer towels, just not for free. While it’s common for hostels to have towels these days, you almost always have to hire them for a fee or pay a deposit to get one. So bring a towel to save a few dollars and keep dry.

You can check before you book a hostel to see if they have towels available. Under the list of included items on most booking sites, you’ll see a complete list of what is and isn’t going to be included in your stay.

Do hostels provide towels? Usually only for hire so best to bring your own.
Towels are not provided, but you can hire them.

The best hostels will provide free towels or offer them via a refundable deposit. But assume everywhere you go, they don’t, so be sure to pack a good-sized quick-dry travel towel in your bag.

What I like to do when backpacking for more than a few days is hire a towel every second hostel I stay in. So if I’m in Paris for a few days, then onto Amsterdam and finally Berlin. I’ll use my towel in Paris. Then I’ll hire a towel from the hostel in Amsterdam and use my towel again in Berlin.

This allows me time to wash my towel on a semi-regular basis. Nobody wants to get stuck with a wet towel in your bag. Even the dry quickly travel towels need a little time to air and dry, especially if travelling in winter.

Do Hostels Provide Toiletries?

As for your toiletries, always pack soap and shampoo to stay in a hostel. While some hostels may provide soap and shampoo in bulk dispensers on the wall of a shower or miniature versions for sale, it’s best to take your own.

When it comes to keeping clean, having a supply of soap and shampoo is just a given for me. I’m not taking a gamble and hoping the hostel will have me covered.

If you’re travelling for an extended time, supermarkets are everywhere, so it’s easy to stock up if you run out or to buy some if you forgot to pack it. If you have sensitive skin or long hair, you’ll want your products, not some random option.

You can even get refillable bottles to take with you, allowing you to bring your favourite soap and shampoo from home with you in a travel-sized bottle that won’t spill or leak.

Do hostels provide toiletries? I'm afraid not, always pack soap and shampoo when staying in a hostel.

Make sure to pack your toothpaste, hand sanitiser, sunscreen if going to a warm destination, deodorant and anything else you might need in the bathroom.

You sometimes want a few comforts on the road. Hostels can be hit-and-miss regarding your experience, especially if you’re on the road for a bit. So not relying on hostels to have towels and toiletries like soap and shampoo, which are essential items, in my opinion, is best. Not everyone wants to be the stereotypical smelly backpacker.

And at the end of the day, you only need to pack the minimum you need. Unless you are planning to travel to remote locations, shops are everywhere, and many hostels sell items or can direct you to the nearest place you can buy shampoo or soap or whatever it is you need.