Hostels have quickly gained a lot of popularity in the travel world. Hostels are preferred by solo travellers as they are easy to stay at, cheap, easily available at most tourist spots and centrally located. Hostels also come in a wide variety of options in terms of smaller dormitories, private rooms, with different food options, etc. There are many advantages to staying at a hostel – the biggest is the cultural exchange. You get to meet people from all over the world and it is a great learning lesson. However, while it seems like a dream, hostel stays can soon turn into a nightmare. There are many travellers (including me) who would never pick a hostel for stay. Why you ask? Here’s why:
One of the biggest disadvantages of hostels is the noise. What seems like bliss soon turns into a nightmare as you simply do not get the rest you need. People can be really oblivious to your comfort. Even though you have strict hours for lights off, this is the rule most commonly flouted. One of my friends stayed in a smaller dorm with just 5 of them – but unfortunately for her, one of her roomies washed her hair late at night and began to blow-dry. Soon after, another girl asked for her blow-dryer and the process continued late into the night, with my friend barely getting any sleep. Asking them to do it in the morning resulted in dirty looks as the girls ganged up against my friend. As it was her last night, she let it pass but vowed to stick to cheap hotels or homestays from then on!
While many argue that we do use shared toilets all through the day in offices, or public restrooms, sharing a bathroom is a completely different ballgame. Also, there’s the question of time. Using a shared bathroom means you have to be the first to use it if you are on a tight schedule or you might miss out. Also, it means if there’s someone who takes longer than usual – or if you are that someone, and take longer than others you might have to suffer a lot of knocks and mutterings. There’s also the question of hygiene when it comes to shared bathrooms and toilets and if you’re a neat freak, even the slightest grime might make you cringe. So nopes, just the thought of a shared bathroom makes me go no-no.
Bugs or Insect Bites
While this is a problem not new to hotels either, it is extremely common in hostels. There have been reports by many of waking up with weird bites and bumps all over the body. And while you might get bitten by bugs, if you develop an allergy, it could be life threatening. Do not even mention the pain of having to clean out your entire luggage as the bugs are extremely likely to enter your baggage. The bugs might be carried into the hostel from other hostel guests. Another nightmare is sharing your room with someone unhygienic who has lice or has a pet with fleas and ticks. You do not want to be going home with a head full of lice and a bag full of bugs!
Lack of Overall Cleanliness
It is not only about the cleanliness of the bathroom but hostels can be overall dirty too. If your roomie is dirty and keeps unwashed clothes or has stinky, smelly shoes, it can result in a nightmare. There could also be some form of illness the guest can bring in and that can spread to you like a cold, flu or something else. If the beddings and the room furniture has not been cleaned, it could be a nightmare. Hostels can also smell weird and if you are allergic to smells it could be extremely difficult for you to survive.
Misunderstandings Among Guests
This often leads to a lot of arguments and can make the remainder of your stay extremely uncomfortable. If you do not get along with your room mates or with the hostel staff, it can lead to very unpleasant situations where you do not know how to manage. Also, as hostels often see people from different cultures and backgrounds, the misunderstandings increase as there are different mannerisms and cultural norms that come into play. While it can mean you make amazing friends and get to learn a lot, it can often be a double edged sword. It can spoil your mood and effectively ruin your trip.
Safety of Belongings
Hostels are known to be unsafe for guests. From cash to passports, anything can go missing. While many lock their belongings or keep the most precious with them, coming back to luggage that has been rifled with can be scary and disappointing. Also, it can be cumbersome to keep all your cash on you at all times as that poses a risk too. In a hotel room, you have the option of spreading it and also a lot of security measures but in a hostel, you’re responsible for your own stuff which means if you lose it, you’re most likely never going to see it again.
Drugs and More
There are many who end up doing drugs, drinking, smoking substances and other things in the hostel room or dorm. It might have a bad influence on you. There have been times when extended stay in hostels with similar people have led to other guests getting hooked too. Hostels – especially with the younger crowd, are notorious for parties where the above are only too common. It’s best to stay safe, and stay away.
Hostels are notorious for their strict timings and also for not having freedom for guests. While some are too lax, others are way too strict. It can be tough to find a hostel that is the perfect fit for you. Many also have restrictions on food which means you have to stick to their food timings and cannot try anything at any time – pretty tough if you’re jetlagged. So yes, hostels for me, are more of a bane than a boon. Do you agree? Let me know in comments!