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Staying in hostels - have you ever had stuff stolen? Watch

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    Going to be staying in a hostel abroad soon, and in conversation my mum was all 'oh be careful of your posessions, PEOPLE STEAL Y'KNOW. KEEP YOUR PASSPORT SAFE AND MONEY IN DIFFERENT PLACES blarblarblar'

    for those of you that have stayed in a variety of hostels, ever had stuff stolen?/ever encountered any seriously weird/disturbing/worrying people? the hostel i'm staying at has won awards and all that, is modern and not backwards like some places you encounter, so i'm not too worried, but still, any incidences of theft?
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    Only my virginity.... :awesome:
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    I haven't stayed in any hostels. But my best advise is to be paranoid. It keeps people from stealing my stuff. Trust no one. Even that nice old lady is a potential robber. Yus.
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    I did have my passport stolen in Berlin. Everyone was like, 'oh no you just lost it', but I'd always been SO careful with it and ALWAYS kept it in a safe place in my bag, so i'm certain that someone was going through my stuff whilst I was asleep. Foolishly, I never used to check in the mornings that my stuff was still there, I just assumed that everything was okay.
    I've learnt from this mistake and will now ALWAYS keep my passport/money on me. Even in bed.

    Apart from that I've always had positive experiences when it comes to hostels. Met some awesome people. Even found 200 Euros under my mattress in Amsterdam. Don't let my experience put you off.
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    Well Ive never had anything stolen whilst Ive been staying in a hostel but there again Ive always had a private room, the ones Ive always stayed in had lockers that you could put your own lock on though....
    Have to admit the one I stayed in Amsterdam was pretty lush - Stayokay Vondelpark I think - better than some of the 'budget' hotels Ive stayed in, in London
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    I've stayed in a lot of hostels & never had anything taken. It does happen a lot though, I've heard so many stories. Best just to be ridiculously careful. Most hostels have lockers, always use them if they're available and take a padlock to use (combination best so you don't have to worry about losing a key).

    Always take two bags, one for valuables and another for everything else. Don't ever mix the bags, keep valuables separate. Don't ever ever leave the valuables bag alone (unless in a locker). Going to the toilet? Take it with you. Leaving the bus at a rest stop? Take it with you.

    If there are no lockers take a wire lock to secure your bag to the bed frame. Lock your zips closed. This is just mean't to be a deterrent, anyone who persevered could cut into the bag. When in a dormitory full of bags which bag do you think they're going to go for first? The one locked up or the one wide open? Most thieves are opportunists, they aren't going to risk someone waking up & the bag shouldn't be at the hostel during the day. The argument that using locks shows thieves you have valuables doesn't wash either, everyone has valuables.
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    (Original post by applemilk1992)
    Going to be staying in a hostel abroad soon, and in conversation my mum was all 'oh be careful of your posessions, PEOPLE STEAL Y'KNOW. KEEP YOUR PASSPORT SAFE AND MONEY IN DIFFERENT PLACES blarblarblar'

    [B]for those of you that have stayed in a variety of hostels, ever had stuff stolen?
    I've stopped in loads of different hostels and never had anything taken. I'm probably far too slapdash with leaving my stuff around but I've never had anything taken. Having said that, I always carry my passport and any large amount of money I may be carrying on me. I have left ipods, phones etc. and loads of other **** lying around and it's never gone walkabout though. Obviously you shouldn't get complacent but I like to think (probably slightly optimistically) that 99% of travellers in a hostel wouldn't steal from each other because they realise what a dickish thing it is to do to steal from people travelling often on a tight budgetand how ****/much effort it is if something like a passport disappears. I've heard stories of stuff being taken but equally I've heard some nice stories about items being returned. One girl I spoke to had somebody specifically travel to another part of the country just to return her passport to her. And another who has travelled all over the world extensively has never had anything taken in 11 years of globetrotting.

    (Original post by applemilk1992)
    ever encountered any seriously weird/disturbing/worrying people?
    Yeah, but no more so than I would generally encounter I guess. The majority of "weird" people I've encountered have been more eccentric and "off the ball" than genuinely worrying or troublesome.

    EDIT: A lot of hostels also provide lockers and if they don't there should be somewhere to store any valuables. I stopped in a lot that didn't have lockers though and just dumped everything under my bunk without thinking about it. But yeah, as I said, if you are worried then just ask the staff to put stuff in the safe (they should have one).
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    Most hostels will have a locker you can leave valuables in, and you should. Take a padlock (or several with you). Others will allow you to keep them in a safe behind the desk. TBH, you are probably better leaving passport etc locked up in a hostel than carrying it around when your bag could be stolen.

    If possible, hide a valuable bag in a locked bag in a locker. Leaving things on show is never a good idea!
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    TBH, you are probably better leaving passport etc locked up in a hostel than carrying it around when your bag could be stolen.
    I wouldn't ever leave my passport in my bag anyway. I'd advise anybody to carry it on your person at all times, preferably in a money belt. It's just not worth the severe amount of hassle if you lose it/it gets stolen. I had a friend who had to rearrange a flight and pay for a fast-track passport so he could get home from Finland because he lost his passport. Not fun.
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    (Original post by Malkmus)
    I wouldn't ever leave my passport in my bag anyway. I'd advise anybody to carry it on your person at all times, preferably in a money belt. It's just not worth the severe amount of hassle if you lose it/it gets stolen. I had a friend who had to rearrange a flight and pay for a fast-track passport so he could get home from Finland because he lost his passport. Not fun.
    I've had a handbag stolen when traveling, as have friends, and I know people who've had moneybelts slashed or taken. I always feel that my passport is safer locked in a room.
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    Yep, my doughnut

    the cleaner took it and never gave it back!!
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    I had all my toiletries stolen during my first ever stay in a hostel, considering they were all bought brand new and hadn't really been used, it would add up to about £20. It was my naive fault - I had left them in a plastic bag on my bed as I went off for the day. But fair play to the hostel though, they gave me 10EUROS compensation. I suspect it was this Italian guy who slept below me and checked out that day, although some of the reviews claimed the cleaners were at it as well. Oh well, lucky it wasn't my passport/cash. In a way it wasn't the worst outcome - it meant I wasn't carrying around mostly full bottles of toiletries like shower gel and shaving foam for the next few weeks - you don't realsie how much weight they can add to your backpack!!

    So yeah, just use your head! Opportunists are everywhere!
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    I've slept in a load of different hostels (including me and my other female friend in a mixed sex room in Frankfurt with 6 adult males) and have had no trouble whatsoever.
    But at the same time you do have to be careful. If you don't look after your stuff properly then you're just inviting theives. Sleep with your passport and credit card on you, or under your pillow on the side of the bed that is against the wall. Try to carry minimum cash, and split up any cash on you over different locations (i.e rolled into socks, inside your passport under your pillow and stuffed hidden into your sponge bag) so even if someone does find one stash they won't realise they haven't found all of it. Also keep track of everything, don't leave your stuff in a mess so you don't know what is where and when you wake up in the morning do a quick check to see if anything is missing.

    From my experience pretty much all other hostellers are perfectly decent people just looking for a safe bed to sleep in at night, same as you. You do hear some stories obviously, but these days hostells do passport checks ect and in general are much safer places.
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    I've had a handbag stolen when traveling, as have friends, and I know people who've had moneybelts slashed or taken. I always feel that my passport is safer locked in a room.
    Depends how high you keep your money belt up I guess. If you wear it around the actual hips and have it tucked into your jeans/shorts/whatever then it's pretty difficult to steal/slashed. Only problem is, it makes it difficult for you to actually access! :p: I quite like having my passport on my person at all times, can be useful to have it on you as police in some countries are pretty iffy about you just showing them a photocopy...
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    I've been alright - tend not to take any valuable gadgets with me and guard my money and paper. My XGF was robbed in hawaii though, before I'd met her. she had her plane ticket stolen - pre 9/11, back then catching a plane was pretty much walk-on.

    She reckons it was the hostel owner (
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    I've had a handbag stolen when traveling, as have friends, and I know people who've had moneybelts slashed or taken. I always feel that my passport is safer locked in a room.
    Don't tell me they had their moneybelt visible? I purchased a slim moneybelt so that it could hold my passport/cards/large notes underneath my clothes, invisible to anyone, whenever I was travelling between destinations. In so far as you have to possess everything when you're (literally) travelling, that seemed fairly prudent enough. I also used to sleep with it underneath a t-shirt in hostels for security, whenever a hostel lacked secure storage.
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    Yeah, it happens a lot. Personally, I've been ok. The biggest thing you have to be careful with is your passport!

    A lot of passports will ask you to leave your passport there with them at reception when you check in. This is for 2 reasons. Firstly, the police can stop by the hostels and want to know who is there, just so that they can keep track of people on visas etc. And secondly, it means they've got something you need so you're not going to just run off and not pay. A lot of hostels you'll have no problems doing this with, but there are times you could run into issues. My advice is to NEVER give your passport to ANYONE. Whether that's your hostel reception who you think you can trust or not. Don't do it. All they actually need is your passport number, so just give them a photocopy of your passport. Sometimes they'll say it's not enough, but it is. As soon as you say that you'll go somewhere else instead, suddenly they'll be fine with it. It probably sounds like I'm being overdramatic and too paranoid, but it's for good reason. You're actually told to never leave your passport with anyone anyway. A friend was travelling in Vietnam a couple of months ago, booked into a hostel which was pretty reputable. But when she went to check in, the price went up so she said that she was going to go somewhere else. So she left, went on to the next place and then realised that she'd left her passport with them. Went back and went to ask for it back and at first the man said he didn't have it and then said that he did but made her pay to get it back. It wasn't huge amounts, only about £20/$30. But the point remains, someone had her passport, something that they know that she has to have and that she cannot leave that place without. If they have that, they have total leverage over you. The question is whether they're dishonest enough to use it against you and unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there who are. So always air on the side of caution. Remember, no passport, no getting home.

    But on a positive note, I've stayed in plenty of hostels and generally always had a great experience. So I would definitely say do it, just be sensible about it!

    Any decent hostel will have lockers that you can rent for the time that you're there. Use them for any valuable stuff, or for your passport and money that you don't want to take out with you every day.
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    It is what it is - With a load of strangers sleeping in a single building all with similar access. Most people are trustworthy, but keep some common sense and don't let opportunists take advantage. I've never had a problem, but at the same time I've always accepted there is a risk. Be sensible and you'll be fine. Sometimes these things are sadly unavoidable, but at the very least keep everything vital (passport and card especially) close to hand.
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    No, and I've heard very few stories of people who have. I've stayed in hostels all over the world (Australia, NZ, South/Central/North America, Europe, China), and it's always been fine.

    About the person who said 'always be suspicious'; although I believe this is probably effective in preventing your stuff being nicked, it also seems like a horrible way to ruin the great experience of traveling and meeting other people. For me it depends a lot on the hostel; is it a small place where after 1 day you know everyone, then I'm far more likely to leave stuff unlocked. In large impersonal hostels I'm far more likely to lock my stuff up and keep my money and passport in my bed when I go to sleep.

    It's not a foolproof method, and maybe one day I will have my camera or phone stolen. However, I've also had my camera and passport stolen (on separate occasions) outside of the hostel when traveling. It happens, it's ****, but it's not the end of the world.
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    I stay in them a couple of times a year and have never had anything stolen- but that's not to say that they're all safe.
 
 
 
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