I’ve written tons of hostel articles here on About Student Travel, so how about another post on things that don’t fit anywhere else? Everyone knows that hostels are fun and sociable environments, they are safer than you might expect, the best way to make friends, expose yourself to snorers, and have the occasional dodgy bathroom. What is not usually mentioned in these publications? Read on to find out!
You’re going to see some really nasty things
Most of the well-rated hostels are actually very clean, but even the best hostel in the world can’t do much about the type of guests who choose to stay there. When I stayed in a hostel in Riga, I was horrified to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of one of my roommates vomiting in the middle of the room. Later on the same trip, I woke up once more at midnight to the person sleeping on top of me vomiting in the bed on top of mine.
It is not just vomit. All kinds of bodily fluids were expelled in the bedrooms I’ve stayed in, yes, even that, and it’s never pleasant. For the most part, you’ll enjoy staying in hostels, but be prepared to experience some really gross stuff.
You’re going to get really tired of talking to people
Most people fall in love with hostel life within minutes of staying at the first, excited by how easy it is for them to make friends and have conversations. A few weeks later? You will be eager for a conversation that begins with “where are you from?”
Dorms are extremely sociable, but generally revolve around the same five questions. If you long to talk about something that doesn’t involve travel, you will often have a hard time.
There will always be a creepy boy there
An unwritten rule of dorm life is that there will always be a creepy guy in the room, and he’ll sit in a dark corner silently watching you. A particular favorite was the old man she shared a bedroom with in Hualien, Taiwan. Upon entering the room, he greeted me with a ‘Hello! Don’t worry: I’m not a sexual plague.
I immediately wanted to change rooms.
Free Wi-Fi isn’t always that
Most hostels advertise free Wi-Fi (outside of Australia, that is), but there are some limitations. Like free Wi-Fi it can only be in reception where there is nowhere to sit. Or it will only work if there is a maximum of two people on the network; otherwise it will be deactivated immediately. Or it hasn’t worked for months and they have no intention of fixing it.
Free breakfast becomes one of your best moments
Who would have thought that the highlight of a hostel stay would be the free breakfast? But as time goes by and you realize that you are spending more money than you bargained for and you need to start cutting back. The hostel’s free breakfast will save you two meals a day. Make sure you eat as much food as possible to take advantage of the options, then pop a couple of rolls in your bag and that’s your covered lunch!