Re: How would you protect your tripod and camera while staying in hostels?
Hmm, good question. I'm pretty sure you can buy a small lock for your bag as well as something kind of similar to a bicycle lock, ie that you can use to chain your backpack to the bed. Between those two things, your bag would probably be too much of a hassle to steal, especially if you're just down the hall for a shower. (Of course, someone could still use a knife to slit through the bag and steal things that way.)
I think taking your money belt to the shower and sleeping with it at night is definitely a smart move. And having a lock/using lockers is smart too. But beyond that, I wouldn't spend TOO much time worrying about it. 99% of the other travelers you meet will be perfectly decent and have no interest in robbing you. Once you've taken the most common-sense precautions, just be nice to everyone and trust in the basic goodness of people.
Good luck! Let us know how things work out.
"I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag