When your partner starts snoring you can give them a jab in the ribs and tell them to roll over. But what about when there’s 7 strangers in your room all playing a Capella in their sleep, can you give them a kick and tell them to shut the fuck up?
No, no you can not.
There’s lots of different accommodation you can stay in whilst travelling; hostels, air bnb, car/van/tent, Couchsurfing, hotels (not really), sharehouses etc etc etc. There’s always somewhere to lay your head. After staying in the same hostel for 5 months, and various other ones on my travels, I think it’s fair to say I’m pretty clued up on them. So I’m going to give you the pros and cons of hostels.
A hostel where everyone stays up all night, drinking, smoking, chatting, playing music, is so much fun IF you are a part of it. But if you are working and just need to sleep then this is a nightmare. It’s difficult to tell them to be quiet as you don’t want to be a party pooper, and if you are one of the noisy ones then some sleepy angry person telling you to shut up is a buzz kill. I’ve been both the noisey bitch and the frustrated one. Best thing to do is to keep away from the rooms and respect each other!
Have you ever sat on the top bunk whilst people have been having sex beneath you on the bottom bunk? If it’s a no, you are a very lucky person. There’s nothing more to say here.
Sharing a small room with 7 other people means there is limited space for all your stuff. The floors are normally covered in clothes (I’ve lost so many items of clothing I’ve lost count), it’s just a hostel room so none of the travellers want to clean it and most hostel cleaners just do a basic job rather than the thorough deep clean they so badly need. Kitchens are normally small and filthy, I lived on instant noodles for 5 months so I didn’t have to cook in the dirt (and because I’m lazy), people chucked their plates and cutlery in the sink leaving them for someone else to do.
4. Alone time
Sometimes you just need some “me time” away from everyone else. But this is pretty impossible in a hostel as it’s hard to be anti-social with a hundred other people sharing your home. Most people on the bottom bunk would hang a blanket around their bed to act as a curtain from the rest of the world, just a snippet of privacy for themselves.
5. Toilet business
This is a con and a pro. Any one else a nervous pooer? Go share a toilet with some strangers for a while, you won’t be any more.
6. The staff
I haven’t been to one hostel yet where the staff were decent. Most don’t care about the backpackers and are often reluctant to help out.
In most hostels I have felt safe and unthreatened. However you must remember not everyone has the same morals as you. Some hostels offer lockers but I’ve rarely seen them. You can usually scout out the people in your room and pick up their vibes early on, so you can decide yourself if you feel it’s safe to leave your valuables laying around. I stayed in one hostel in Bondi beach for a week, one day I went to work and left some makeup, pyjamas and dirty knickers on my bed. When I came back, it was all gone! I’m not sure who took it, the staff didn’t want to help, I just hope someone put it all to good use.
1. The people
The best part of a hostel is the people you are living with. As I’ve said before, you’re never alone! And sometimes this can be great. I would leave work looking forward to getting home to see all my friends. There’s always someone there to chat to, to go out with, to eat with. People are quick to invite you places and happy for you to tag along anywhere. Soon we became a little family that went out together every weekend, and it would always be strange if one of us was missing from the gang.
Most hostels are pretty well priced. My favourite hostel fluctuated it’s rates between $20-25 a night which is reasonable for a city like Melbourne. (And if you’re sneaky like me, you can get under the radar without paying for a few nights, too!) However, in Sydney we have found hostels for $40 a night, which is extortionate for what you get! Hostels are a good stop off if you can’t yet afford a big bond for a share house.
3. They are everywhere!
Especially in cities, there’s so many, and they are easy to book on apps and websites such as Hostelworld. So you should always be able to find a place to stay.
On paper there’s more cons, but for me the people I met and experiences I had whilst staying in a hostel far outweigh the cons.
Oh and top tip; take the reviews with a pinch of a salt.