A Glimpse of Our Hostel Experience

As our travel adventure of nine months is coming to a close, I am taking a break from my regular posts to reflect on accommodation.  This year, Callum and I have slept in a lot of different places.  We slept in our van for several weeks, we enjoyed free accommodation from friends, acquaintances and family members of mine, we braved some pretty interesting motels while in America and we stayed in a lot of hostels.  We did stay in some nice hotels that were a reprieve from the hostels, but a private room with a private bathroom were a rarity this year.

Overall, we’ve stayed in a lot of hostels and we’ve disliked a lot of them.  There were some memorable ones: the tree house in Brazil, the one in Cusco we kept going back to (3 separate times) because the owner was really nice, the one in St. John’s Newfoundland where our roommate kept sliding his crap in and out of the room and locked the door every time he left the room even though we were in the room.  There’s the mega hostel in Amsterdam with a billion people staying in it, and the cozy German hostel with only 3 dorm rooms.  All in all, this year we have come to a conclusion that I am really excited about: after this trip, our hostel days are over!  I am literally getting too old for this crap.  I am 34 and I think there seems to be a written and also unwritten rule that 35 year olds shouldn’t be rooming with 18 year olds.  I would also really like to get some proper sleep for goodness’ sake.

We’ve noticed differences in hostels this year that we haven’t noticed before.  I think I mentioned in a previous post how it’s such a shame that people don’t seem to talk to each other anymore.  Hostels should be a cheap alternative to a hotel, with kitchen facilities, a hot shower, a simple breakfast for free, and a good common area to meet people.  We didn’t hit on all of those things all in one place…except maybe Lotte hostel in Heidelberg.  Every place seemed to miss one or all of those things.  Most of all, it has NOT been as cheap as we would like.  Granted, we are currently in Europe during one of the busiest travel times of the year.  But still.

Another difference that has surprised us over and over again is that there are old people staying in hostels.  I know I just said above that I’m too old…and I am.  There is this strange age gap of hostellers though where there are people 18-30ish and then the 30ish-55ish are not there.  But bang, if you’re 60, you’re at a hostel.  We have seen a lot of older people staying in dorm rooms in the 55-65ish age bracket.  Very strange.  I guess the older generation is realising that a dorm bed for 20 euros a night is a lot better than 100+ at a hotel.  I just wonder—don’t they want their privacy at that age???  I want my privacy now!  I don’t get it.  Maybe they’re lonely and want to meet other people.

Through all this hostel experience we have come to appreciate what we as guests and customers need and want and one day, if we ever open up our own accommodation place, we’ll be experts in that respect.  We have also come up with a list of things that we do not appreciate.  I decided to include only the things that annoy us about other guests.  I have dubbed this list “The Sins and Crimes of Hostellers”.  It is a demerit system that I’ve developed that categorizes my dislike of other people.  If a roommate of ours receives 20 demerits or so, I find them only mildly annoying and will still talk to them.  Anything higher and I lose all respect for people.  Like I said, I’m just getting too old for this crap.  This is meant to be funny, not bitter, btw.

The Sins and Crimes of Hostellers

             (in particular, when people are trying to sleep)

If you reach 100 demerits, I will no longer care about avoiding these sins myself when it comes to ME waking up before YOU in the early morning. So take that.

  • Opening the window without asking others (5 demerits)
  • Snoring (5)
  • Taking longer than 5 minutes to get ready for bed when everyone else is sleeping (5)
  • Staring at your phone instead of engaging in even just a minute of friendly conversation or pleasantries (during waking hours) (5)
  • Zipping and unzipping things over and over again (10)
  • Not finding your clothes and toiletries the night before and trying to find them all in the early morning (10)
  • Unpacking everything the night before but then leaving very early the next morning anyway (10)
  • Slamming the door when it could be avoidable (15)
  • Opening your locker noisily—ie: continually missing the lock for some reason, or leaving the keychain to clang on the locker, or letting the door bang onto the other lockers, etc. (15)
  • Setting alarms and sleeping through them (15)
  • Forgetting to switch off your alarm before you leave the room (20)
  • Forgetting to switch off your light before you leave the room (20)
  • Talking on your phone when people are trying to sleep (25)
  • Dragging furniture such as chairs when they could be picked up (30)
  • Dragging luggage across the floor rather than picking them up (30 points)
  • Dropping coins or other noisy objects onto the floor other than carpet (30)
  • Not packing the night before and trying to pack very early in the morning (35)
  • Turning the light on when you could use your phone light (40)
  • Thumping as you walk (or thwacking, my personal favourite of the flip-flop wearers) (45)
  • Talking or making noise, especially in an echoey buildings (45)
  • My biggest pet peeve of them all: Crinkling plastic bags or anything else that makes a crinkly plastic noise (50)  For pete’s sake who uses plastic bags anymore?  And chip bags?  Are you serious?

There are many other infringements that we could add, and I’m sure Callum and I ourselves are not perfect—gasp—if that’s possible.  But it’s a taste tester for ya and I’m interested to hear from anyone with any other funny dislikes about staying in hostels.

I am sitting writing this to the world from the last ever hostel that we will stay in, in Berlin Germany.  It is roughly the size of a New York apartment.  No seriously, it’s the size of Callum’s storage room where the class set of textbooks is stored at school.  Or the size of a small build-it-yourself shed where you could keep a couple of bikes, a broken bar-fridge and some plant pots.  It’s come equipped, ladies and gentlemen, with a shower and a sink the size of my hand.  No toilet though.  That’s down the 4 different hallways about a minute walk away.  So, no trying to go pee in the middle of the night—I’d get lost in my half-asleep stupor for sure.  The cost of this little shed?  100 euros a night.  And with that I will bid you adieu.

Regular programming will recommence in the very near future 🙂


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