Swapping Your Hostel For A Hammock

Jugenheim/Germany, December 2013.

By guest author Jimmy Ryan

Swapping your hostel for a hammock is not only an effective way of saving money while backpacking, but it’s also a great way to add adventure to your travels.

If you’re looking to save money while travelling, you’ll probably think that you’ve thought of everything; but have you thought of swapping your hostel for a  hammock? Hostel prices around the world vary depending on geographic location; checking out of your hostel and sleeping in a hammock could help save you a lot of money, enhance your travel experience and, maybe, help extend your stay.

Why Backpacking With A Hammock

Hammocks make people happy – pure and simple – and people are often drawn to them, which makes them a great social tool. Whether it’s with a beer or cocktail, hammocks are cool and a great way to chill out on a backpacking adventure. But they’re not just for sitting; hammocks are really made for sleeping and can save you paying for accommodation.

Copyright by LA SIESTA 2013
“Free like a bird” travel adventure with the COLIBRI hammock

Where To Tie Your Hammock

The ideal place to tie your hammock might be between two palm trees on a beach, the thought of falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing is almost poetic. Though, try finding a location where you’re not going to attract attention to yourself and passersby won’t disturb you.

Even though you’re not sleeping in a hostel bed, it doesn’t mean you can’t sleep in the hostel grounds. Ask at reception if it’s possible to tie-up in their garden and try haggling for a fair price for the use of their showers too. It’s common for hostels to allow tents on their grounds, in this respect, hammocks are no different.

How To Sleep In A Hammock

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding hammocks is that it’s just not possible to sleep in one all night. But, did you know that in Central and South America millions of people actually choose not to have a bed and spend every night sleeping in their hammocks instead. Hammocks can actually be better for you than laying flat in a bed; the material will perfectly conform to the natural curve of your spine, as your head and legs are slightly elevated in a hammock.

The trick to sleeping in a hammock is to not lie from rope to rope, but to pivot your body 30 degrees. By doing this you’ll be laying in a curved hammock almost completely flat and with perfect support and much comfort.

Copyright by LA SIESTA 2012
Taking a nap in the COLIBRI travel hammock, Parque Tayrona / Colombia

Where To Store Your Things

In a hostel you would normally have the security of a locker, but unless you’re sleeping in a hostel grounds this luxury will be lost. Thankfully, there are other ways to protect your things.

 If you’re near a train/bus station, you can usually store large bags and belongings safely in the station lockers; these are often cheap and incredibly safe. You could also speak to a hostel reception, as they’ll often have a luggage holding area and could charge you only a small fee for looking after your belongings. You might also want to try guest houses, Inns or even a local restaurant – they could also charge a small fee for their inconvenience, but it should be less than a night’s accommodation.


Hostels are a great way to meet fellow travellers and to socialise with like-minded individuals and their costs are often much lower than that of hotels. Hostels can offer services such as laundry rooms, cooking facilities and even provide entertainment such as games and tours. But, the atmosphere and relaxation you get from spending the night sleeping in a hammock under the stars is something that any traveller should experience. The gentle sway of the ropes and the unrivalled support of the parachute silk base is what dreams are made from.


There are many ways to sit in a hammock. How many of them do you know?