I don’t know if it is my age, or if after 6 years of travelling, I am almost over staying in hostels. At least staying in the dorm rooms anyway. Hostels are awesome and I will recommend to anyone, in most cases, to stay in a hostel over a hotel. They are the cheaper alternative and the best way to meet fellow travellers. I have made many life long friends in hostels. And, if your into the party scene, hostels are a great way to get a little crazy and let loose! At some point in ones life, hostels start to lose a bit of their appeal. In the words of Lorelai Gilmore “If I had done it in my early twenties or teens, I would’ve been naïve enough to think that hostels were exotic and romantic.” I am only 27, not old by any means. I don’t know if it’s because I am heading towards to late twenties making my way to my thirties or I am simply growing out of the hostel stage of my travels. My latest trip through Central America, staying in dorm room of hostels, really started to test my patience.
Even in the cheapest, nastiest and party orientated hostels there are certain manners, etiquette (and um, is there no common sense left in anyone!?) we all should still maintain when staying in a hostel. Even when you are staying in those big rooms all piled up on your bunk beds, I feel there is a certain amount of respect towards our fellow travellers we should be showing. Hostel life is a whole other realm and one not to be stayed in lightly. There are people and noises, that you will only ever hear and meet when you stay in a hostel. Out there in the big wide world of hostels, there are some super awesome boutique hostels, that make the ordinary hostels look meek in comparison. Still, even in these hostels, there will always be some travellers that just don’t understand that you do need a little bit of manners for everyone to enjoy life inside of a hostel.
Ever been in a situation where you are having a nice sleep, and in the background there is a repetitive noise, and you wake up thinking “WTF is that?” This is something that happens to me every trip I take. I have been woken up to constant knocking at the door at all hours of the night because of someone forgetting or losing their room key. There are still those hostels that give you a key to your dorm room and the door locks behind you. It can’t be helped if some unfortunate thing happened to your room key and I can understand you just want to get back into your room and pass out in your bed. But people! Room keys are important! Keep them somewhere on you that even in your most drunken state, they will still be there at the end of the night ready to let you into your room.
In Mexico I went to bed one night on my bottom bunk and all of a sudden the bunk started shaking. I seriously thought there was some crazy earth quake, trust me to come to Mexico and there’s a fricken earth quake! I was only 4 nights into my 2 month journey for god sake! No, it was not an earthquake, it was the girl above me having an epileptic fit. Of course it must have been awful for her, but it was also scary for me. After she stopped having her seizure I asked if she was ok, and she simply answered “Oh yeah, I’m epileptic that happens all the time. I’m use to it.” Well, hello! I’m not use to it! If she had just told me that in the first place I wouldn’t of worried or panicked for her. If you have a medical condition that may affect some of your bunk mates sleep, or make them wonder what the heck is wrong with you, give them a shout out and let them know about it. 99% of the time your fellow bunk mates are the most chilled, nicest and approachable people out there. After all, we are all staying a dorm room with so many strangers. People are going to be cool and appreciate you telling them.
The Whole Sex Thing
Let’s talk about sex baby! I am the furthest thing to a prude you could find. I am quite open about my sexuality, I don’t blush when sex is brought up and I have no problem talking about sex. The one thing I do find icky is when people have sex in the dorm rooms full of other people. I know it’s hard to find a place to take your lust with that sexy man or woman, you just met, to the next level in a hostel, but there are always other options than a dorm room full of other travellers. Even when you think everyone is asleep and you are being extra quiet, we can still hear you!
Many, many times I have had to set an alarm if I have had to get up at dawn for those early morning travel journeys. I always feel so bad for doing this, because I know that when my alarm goes off, I am more than likely to wake my bunk mates. That’s just hostel life though, and it has to be done. The one thing that drives me up the wall, is when those snoozes keeping pressing the god damn snooze button! It is so not cool when someone presses their snooze button every 10 minutes 5 times until they are ready to get up. Please, don’t be a serial snoozer!
Some dorm rooms out there are so teeny tiny, that you can’t help it when your bag may get in the way of the limited walking space you have. If you can though, squeeze your bag in somewhere where your bunk mates aren’t going to trip over it. Don’t just leave it in the middle of the walk way.
Talking At All Hours
I don’t know why some people feel that it’s ok to have a loud conversation during the night when other people are sleeping. There was a time I was woken, to two girls chatting about their love lives at 3am in the morning, like we were all at a slumber party. I have been woken up by people coming home drunk and chatting away, people talking right outside the door with the door wide open and even people talking on their phones. Noise is apart of hostel life and it can be rare to get a hostel that is completely noiseless. But, you know that whispering is a thing! Can that phone call not wait until morning? That’s what the common room is for!
Pack The Night Before
If you have to get up early the next morning to be on your way, it is a great idea that you pack the night before. Don’t be waking everyone up with your packing at 5am in the morning. Of course you have to pack a few things in the morning. It’s just that re-packing your whole bag and shuffling around stuff can irritate even the easiest going of bunk mates. Especially the rustling of plastic bags, nobody wants to wake up to that.
Turning The Lights On
For me, this is the one thing that I really can’t stand. When someone turns the light on when everyone else is clearly sleeping. It’s bright, you can get disorientated and it can make you start dreaming of your warm cozy bed at home, where no a-hole comes in turning on the lights like it’s a disco. This is where your cell phone light comes in handy, and even those things are bloody bright! But, the cell phone light is a whole lot better than the overhead light blinding everyone when they are trying to sleep.
I know, I sound like a total brat thats having a massive rant about hostels. I am most certainly not knocking hostels, I actually love them! They have been the highlight of my travels and I would not have gotten as far on my budget without them. Maybe, I am coming up to the next chapter in my life where I need to spend the few extra dollars to get a private room instead of a dorm. I can’t wait for the chapter in my life when I am staying in 5 star hotels with a cute butler, room service and extra fluffy pillows!