Here are a few simple things that help to maintain a sanitary and reasonably civilized standard of living in a hostel's dormitory environment:
- A Bag For Dirty Laundy: I ended up locally acquiring a cheap small woven nylon duffle bag for this purpose. All it has to do is be somewhat breathable and not be one of the bags containing the clean clothing. All sorts of luggage advise using a mesh compartment inside for this purpose. That might work for travelers who are returning to a different home, where you are compeletely emptying the luggage afterwards and likely laundering everything. When you are using a piece of luggage as a wardrobe, the seperation afforded by a different bag for laundry is necessary.
- Bug Spray: Before departing for a new continent I soaked all my luggaged with the heaviest duty non-organophosphate pesticides I could find with agents covering all stages of the lifecycle of common travel pests. Springing for the nice shit with agents that work against permethrin resistant critters was a wise decision.1 Likewise any new bags, like the laundry bag above get soaked with a locally acquired flea and tick spray before entering the hostel. The idea is making your shit the most hostile place for the fuckers to settle down. It also doesn't hurt to spritz inside the laundry bag before handing it off to the front desk for laundering.
- A backpack: Not a giant thing requiring a frame, but a schoolbook sized thing which meets the airline "personal item" size requirement winning you a second carry on. I ended up acquiring mine locally however. This carries the items you need to keep on your person that are unwieldy to stuff into pockets. Libros para aprender Español, snacks, tools, etc. The local pussies and Brasileros tend to stuff jackets in theirs because they feel cold when the sun goes down. Another item to thoroughly soak in bug spray.
- Zippered vinyl bank bags: When carrying cash across borders they convey you are confidently not hiding shit up your ass, and when you settle down you will discover that you rapibly accumulate a fuckton of heavy coins. You need a place you can keep them that isn't going to be destroyed by their heft. You might also accululate other trinkets and miscellanea that needs sorting.
- Libros para aprender Español. These are surprisingly hard to find in the local bookstores as are libros para aprender Ingles.
- A lock for your locker.
- A problem since remediated for the time being, but given the tourist turnover you never know which dirty motherfucker is going to bring in a new crop of pests. [↩]