When I first started travelling I was impressed every time I walked into a new hostel. (Most) hostels have a nice friendly ambience: you are welcomed at the reception by well-travelled and informative hosts, the kitchen is full of laughing backpackers cooking together and sharing their stories of the day, and the rooms are brightly decorated in strong vibrant colours that make you feel happy. Life is good. You have a new home to enjoy every couple of days.
But then a funny thing happens.
After a while of being on the road, the hostel; once your friend, your comfort, your shelter, begins to drive you insane.
Here are my biggest pet peeves about hostel life.
Faulty Electricity Sockets
If you are lucky enough to even have a plug socket in your room (some hostels don’t) then there’s a high chance that it will not be working. At best you can manage to ram your plug adapter in, trying to avoid the flashing sparks as you do so, and hold it up with tape or anything else lying around. At worst the entire plastic surround will be hanging off the wall leaving exposed electrical wires. Don’t even attempt to plug anything in with the second scenario.
Inconsistent Shower Temperature and Water Pressure
It’s the end of a long bus journey and you’re feeling dirty and tired. You need a warm shower to make you feel human again. You select a pricier hostel because they promise to have hot water. And they do. The problem is that the scalding hot water only lasts for a few minutes, or is too hot to stand under at all. Sometimes it fluctuates between said hot water and freezing cold water every few seconds for the duration of your shower. Frankly, I’d rather have a consistent cold shower than inconsistent hot water. If you’re really unlucky, the water pressure will be a pathetic drizzle that you can barely stand under. It doesn’t matter if it’s too hot or too cold, a bad shower is a miserable experience.
I know that hostels are cheap, but come on. Backpackers are not animals, well most of them aren’t anyway. I once stayed in a hostel with bedbugs where they refused to believe me when I told them about it. I did not ask for money back or get mad at them. Assuming that they would want their guests to be happy and comfortable, I just informed them so that they could sort it out for the next guests. They told me that I was lying and that my bites were caused by mosquitoes. I suspect they say the same thing to everybody else who mentions it too.
Most of their guests only stay for one night.
Filthy Kitchens that lack proper cooking utensils
If you’re staying in a hostel then it’s quite likely that you are travelling on a budget, and therefore will be looking to cook in the hostel a few times during your stay. So it’s really annoying when you find yourself in a kitchen that is harbouring deadly bacteria on every wash-cloth, the cutlery is made of cheap tin, and the plastic plates are warped out of shape. And let’s not even think about the state of the fridge.
People who constantly complain about others’ noise when sharing a dorm room
So many people in dorms complain about other guests who snore, cough, talk or fidget constantly in their sleep, turn the lights on when they come in during the night, or rustle plastic bags incessantly when they get up for that early morning excursion. And, yeah, that’s all really annoying, but that’s the deal when you opt to share a room with strangers.
Some behaviour is totally unreasonable – like shouting loudly when you come in to the room at 5am.
But coughing and snoring?
Yes it is annoying, but snorers can’t help it, and if you have a cough then you are unwell – not unreasonable . Believe it or not, they are not doing it deliberately to keep you awake. If you have chosen to share a room with other people and you are a light sleeper then maybe you could wear ear plugs. If it is so bad then you could change rooms or take a private room.
But what is the benefit of yelling at somebody for something they can’t control?
If you do snore and you are planning to stay in a dorm, maybe you could have some consideration for your light-sleeping roomies and use nasal strips to limit the noise? Come on guys, we all want to save money and everybody has equal right to a shared space so try a bit of mutual respect.
As for me, I always take a private room. I can’t stand sleeping with other people in the room and the extra cost is worth it. Plus I’m a really noisy and fidgety sleeper who dares not risk the wrath of my fellow travellers 🙂
What are your biggest peeves when travelling? Let me know in the comments below.