What Is It Like In A Hostel?
The experience varies. Some hostels are cozy. Others are loud and noisy. Some are very quiet to the point it is boring. It just really depends on the hostel itself.
What are Backpacker Hostels?
It is a place where you can (for the most part) get cheap accommodation. Often, the rooms are dormitory style where you are assigned a bunk bed in a shared room with other travelers. Prices of the bed go lower the more people are sharing the room (usually in a division of eight, six, or four) and highest when you choose a private room.
Staying at hostels is not in itself, bad and my experiences lead me to recommend it. I have been backpacking for almost 3 years staying at various hostels around the world. While my experiences have been mostly positive. There are just some things about it that I find annoying and hate. Here are 20 reasons I hate about staying at Hostels
1 – Bed Bugs
Unfortunately, bed bugs are real and your likelihood of an encounter with them goes up when you stay at hostels. I have had my fair share of bed bugs encounter during my travels. Some people are not affected by bites but I am highly allergic to these buggers. I break out in hives and the bites are extremely irritating. It is like having tiny cuts and somebody had sprayed lemon juice on the wounds.
Bed bugs spread from hostels to hostels, hiding in your backpacks and luggage. They are found between sheets and covers. They are even found lurking in your clothes and you will not notice because of how tiny they are. Bed bugs are nefarious because they can be found even in hostels that appear to be very clean and tidy.
2 – Dirty Rooms
While most hostels maintain a high standard of cleanliness, some simply cannot catch up with the cleaning due to the number of visitors or other factors. Some rooms become dirty even right after being cleaned.
This is mostly due to the travelers staying in the room. Some may not have had bath or washed their laundry for ages and they are sharing the room with you. It is completely out of your control and probably the cause of Number 1 above.
3 – Dorm Sex
Yes, it happens. It happens a lot. I have woken up plenty in the middle of the night several times to the sights and sounds of backpackers getting it on in the bunk bed next to me. Hostel hookups are very common in the backpacking culture.
A few beers or glasses of wine and your inhibitions go. Even if you are not speaking the same language, the language of sex is the same all over the world and there are many backpackers who do not care if there are other people in the room. If you want to get it on, get a private room. I didn’t travel to watch porn.
4 – Excessive Noise
Some hostels have a noise after a certain hour rule but they are rare. For the most part, you’re going to be woken up by random noise or struggle to sleep because of the excessive noise.
5 – Crazy Drunken Parties
Drinking is part of the backpacking culture, no way around. In fact, some hostels cater to parties and over-consumption of alcohol. Some even have bars and nightclubs built in. I have had my fair share of party hostels and typically avoid them if I want some peace and a good night’s sleep.
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6 – The Anti-American Backpackers
It’s quite often you meet anti-American sentiments when you travel. However, as an American who do not necessarily agree with American policies, I don’t like hearing about how much anyone hates America. Just judge me as an individual, not as a race, culture, or country of origin.
7 – The Countries Visited Contest
You will always meet somebody who has been to more countries than you have and has traveled 10 times longer than you have. Most of the time they are just regular Joes with low-key attitudes. However, sometimes you will meet one who cannot stop talking about their achievements.
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Who cares if you have been to 104 countries? There is no medal or trophy for it. You are no more special of a person because you have traveled longer and what’s up with all the flag patches on your backpack?!?
8 – The Holy Art Though Vegans
While I respect everybody’s opinions and denominations, I have met my fair share of in your face vegans. The arguments that ensue from something as simple as I am eating what these poor people from this poor country eat… I am not out telling you are killing and hurting plants by taking their leaves and boiling it. Do not push your diet on me.
9 – No Gyms
This is often the worst part about traveling long term. You do not have the availability of a gym so staying in shape is a lot harder than at home. I have yet to find a hostel that has a gym.
10 – Crowded and Dirty Kitchens
Some hostels are good with providing multiple kitchens on their facility. However, for the most part, you are going to compete for utensils the kitchen. With so many people cooking and leaving dirty dishes behind, the kitchen quickly becomes a scene from a warzone.
11 – Snoring Roommates
While I have been guilty of being caught snoring in dorm rooms, I have heard my fair share of snoring. Since you’re sharing the room with a myriad of strangers in all occupations, you are likely to hear or witness some of the strangest snoring sounds out there.
Some sound like giraffes in heat calling for a mate in the wild. I have even heard one that sounded like a humpback whale blowing seawater from its blowhole. Some are so loud it could tear a hole through the roof.
12 – Lack of Privacy
Sharing dorm rooms with other people means lack of privacy. Sometimes you just want to fart without having to worry about anyone hearing you or let it hang. Not possible in a dorm room full of people.
13 – Slow Wi-Fi
When you are sharing the internet with everyone else it is going to slow the connection down. Just try getting work done or have a video conference with your client at .05mbps. Yeah, I don’t think so.
14 – Cold Showers
Most hostels in in Eastern Europe still have this Communist era mentality. The hot water only comes on at specific times of the day and it is off other times. If you want to take a shower at noon, you are out of luck. You are using cold and freezing water. In tropical countries, hot water is not available at all. It is a real bummer when you are used to washing your body with hot water. Sometimes you just want at a fucking hot shower.
15 – Having To Pretend To Be Friendly
When meeting other people in hostels you always have to put on a happy face. Sometimes the introvert in me just want to be alone. Sometimes I don’t feel like smiling or being friendly. However, it is impossible in hostel settings because you always have to be “on.”
16 – The Same Old Boring Conversations
Which countries have you been to? Where are you going next? The same questions asked and the same old boring answers ensue, repeatedly. Just in a different hostel or city.
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17 – Food Thieves
There is nothing worse than going to the fridge and find out somebody had swiped your beer or that Chinese food lunch leftover you want to eat for dinner. You cannot really find the culprit with all the other guests and it is not really worth the time and effort to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat for a few pieces of leftover pizza.
18 – The Bad Cooks
While I don’t care if you’re a bad cook. I do care when what you are cooking is choking the air all around me. I have actually stayed at hostels that instituted a rule no to cook fish in the kitchen. Please for the love of god, if you cannot cook do not try. At least cook something that will not stink up the whole building.
19–The Single Serving Friends
It’s like that scene in the movie Fight Club when the main character told Tyler Durden he was the most interesting single serving friend he ever met. You will meet many “friends” in hostels that you will never see again.
20– Good Byes
Saying goodbye sucks. I have made many friends in hostels throughout the years and I have never gotten used to saying goodbye. There is nothing worse than connecting with people and then just days later you have to part ways.
Traveling and backpacking is an amazing experience. It broadens your horizons and opens you up to unforgettable experiences. Staying at hostels has its vicissitudes but with even with all the lows, I relish in all the experience it has to offer.