Staying in a hostel can be a great way of traveling – it’s cheap, it allows you to meet other travelers, and they often have travel booking facilities so you can arrange tours with your newly made hostel buddies.
However, staying in a hostel can have its downsides too, especially for travel newbies and visitors who may have grown accustomed to the comforts of staying in a hotel.
While there aren’t many “nightmare” hostel stories – akin to those found in the movie Hostel – there are definitely more than a few “bad experiences”…
Getting To Know Each Other A Little Too Closely
Getting to know other travelers is awesome, but that new bond of friendship can be stretched too far.
While there are often smaller dorm rooms, made up of four, six and eight beds, there are also much larger dorms that sleep twenty, thirty, and in one famous Fiji hostel, as many as one hundred people!
Sound like the best slumber party ever? Perhaps, but when you think about sharing a room with 20 or so other people – many of whom are likely to be drunk, snoring, having sex, talking in their sleep and who knows what else – it might mean a less than restful night.
One of the worst hostel room mates we’ve had was a homeless and clearly ill woman who snuck into the room at midnight, sat down on one of the beds and started laying out all her possessions and then packing them up again into her many (noisy) plastic bags – she repeated the process throughout the whole night, despite everyone complaining. We thought she was one of the guests until she finally turned off the lights and left at 5 am.
Lowered Hygiene Standards
Unlike most hotels, hostels are not always known for their cleanliness – there are endless stories of dirty bathrooms, toilets that don’t flush, bed sheets that are sprayed with air freshener instead of cleaned, unhygienic kitchens, bodily fluids where there shouldn’t be bodily fluids…
The worst hostel we ever stayed in had green and black mold everywhere in the bathroom – it was so disgusting we had to take a photo (see photo above!!)
Creepy Room Mate Stories
There is the story of a few backpackers who happened to be sharing a room with a very large, very drunk man who was ex-military.
The man spent most of the night alternating between yelling incoherently in his sleep, and waking up and telling the silent room to be quiet or he would kill them all in their sleep.
There is another story of a guy who went to sleep on his first night in a hostel, only to wake up and find a row of M&Ms at two-inch intervals all the way round his bed. He was about to accuse his roommate, but saw he was just as freaked out as he was …
Learning About The Birds & The Bees
While most people would cringe at the thought of getting busy in a room full of other people, there is a surprising number of travelers who don’t have a problem with it.
It’s safe to say that the drink probably doesn’t help with the decision-making process there.
No doubt, there are many lovely stories about many lovely hostels in the world, however, there are enough horror stories to make most travelers want to pay a little extra and stay in a hotel!
Think about clean, fresh sheets, your own bathroom, no one snoring next to you or turning the lights on at 3am…
Travelers to Sydney can avoid the hostel experience by staying at one of the hotels in Darling Harbour – one of the city’s most exciting tourist districts – check out Novotel Darling Harbour or ibis Darling Harbour for an experience far from the hostel horror stories.
What about you – share your nightmare hostel stories in the comments below!