Hostels… One of the most fun and economic accommodation alternatives… Giving us a lot of new friends, may be even travel companions, hostels are always in the top-3 list of travelers whose perception of a holiday is not lying on the beach lazily but getting to know a (or a few) new culture. Moreover, it’s definitely the number one preference of a beginner traveler!
As a matter of fact, choosing the right hostel requires serious attention due to the fact that people may tend to call quite different places hostels, be it a flat tucked with bunk beds or a large resort that makes a larger profit than an average hotel.
The features of a good hostel are not debatable. If it’s clean and silent with an adequate amount of showers and toilets, it’s good, alright. But how could you identify a bad hostel? Keep on reading to find out…
1. Low Visitor Score / Negative Reviews
You may not have enough time to check out the reviews or scores if you simply walk-in to a hostel. But if you travel with a plan, it is a MUST to have a look at them before choosing your hostel. Don’t forget that the people who comment on the hostel or give it a score are more experienced that you in that particular hostel. Take their ideas for granted. A hostel with a low score, though there may be exceptions, is a bad one.
2. Locker Impairment
Although theft is not a common issue in hostels, it is for the good of both sides for the hostel to provide lockers for the guests. This way, everyone can enjoy himself/herself without any concerns whatsoever. If you want to stay especially at a crowded hostel, you should choose the one that provides you with lockers because it is quite likely that you will walk around the city to see some sights after you leave your stuff. Would you prefer to think about your belongings while sight-seeing? Probably, not. Although it would be simply exaggrating to deduce that a hostel without lockers is a bad one, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is a negative feature since where to leave your stuff is not the most fun thing to consider while travelling.
3. Curfews – Lockouts (Seriously?)
Although it’s an ancient tradition of hostel management, some hostels (e.g. Florence Youth Hostel, Florence, Italy) have curfews and lockouts. Think about it, you’re at a nice bar in Berlin and it’s 23:30, add 20 minutes to walk back to your hostel and 10 minutes of margin of error, you have to leave that great place right away! Or else the sniper below will take care of you! What is even worse, you pay for this! Negative, sir… Negative with a vengeance…
4. Kitchen Abstinence Syndrome
I don’t know where medical terms came from. But if you are a determined budget traveller, sooner or later will come the day you want to cook your own meal. If your hostel doesn’t have a kitchen on that day, you will probably shout out through the window something like “I will get you Liechtenstein!”. Most hostels already include breakfast in their rates, which means not having a kitchen may indicate not having breakfast at the hostel. You can’t cook, you don’t get a breakfast, you’re obliged to eat out. If this is not something negative, then what is?
5. The Noise Factor
Let’s clarify one thing. Do not expect a home-cozy environment with a lot of silence if you want to stay at a hostel. What you’re staying at is not a hotel and you have to share your room with strangers. But still, there has to be a limit. Of course, people are going to come in to / go out of your room, which is not a huge problem anyway. But if your bunk is too close to the entrance or the bar if there’s one, it could be wise to look for another hostel.
6. “A good shower is the best way to start a d…. WTF!” There are 30 people in the queue!!!
As mentioned above, there are people who stuff a flat with as many bunks as possible and call it a hostel, yaaaaay, fun! The bold sentence above is something you can say in such places. You may literally have to wait for hours only for a shower every night and day due to the inadequate number of showers. No matter how you check in, online or walk-in, this is something you seriously need to consider. Or else you’ll welcome a lot of trouble and nervousness. Just check out the place before you check in, if your instincts tell you that the showers are not sufficient in number, say “See you later, alligator”, or just leave if you don’t want to be that cliche.
7. “My greatest trouble is getting the curtain up and down.” (T.S. Eliot)
Never ever underrate the importance of curtains. Not everywhere is cool like the UK and not every country has those touristic hostels you’ve been before. Check out the room that is given to you, if you suspect it may let sunlight in, ask for curtains, if you’re rejected, stay at another hostel. I mean it, most of us travel in summer and get pleasantly tired thanks to our backpacks and long city tours. But the beautiful session of sleeping caused by this tiredness may be ruined by the sunlight hitting in your face relentlessly, as if it were fighting you. If you travel high-tempo, which is the case for most Interrailers and hitch-hikers, having a good night’s rest is extremely important. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll turn into the below painting, called Scream (as in the movie), by Edward Munch. A hostel with the potential of interrupting your sleep is a bad hostel, simple.
8. “Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet.” (C. Palahniuk)
So far, we have dealt with numerous trouble some circumstances, I just wanted to distract your negative feelings with a Chuck Palahniuk quote to make you think about something else. But this part intersects with the quotation above in the case of, yes, you’ve got it right, toilets! In the 6th item we have mentioned the troubles that could be faced around showers. Shower is one thing, but you could at least wait or kill time doing something else until you’re up.
But the people of all nations (no, I won’t say ‘Unite!’) have to pee in the morning!!! Think about your condition in a morning, waiting behind 10 people to use the toilet. Now imagine that you have to use it urgently! Not cool, yeah?
Make a quick evaluation with your eyes, don’t stay there if you think there aren’t enough toilets. After all, you pay for it and they provide you with the basic needs. If they don’t, LEAVE!
9. A hostel charging you 25 Euros for a night? Are you out of your mind?
What I want is that EcoTripSos readers don’t buy those tricks. Let’s face it, most of us tend to think that everything that is done in Western Europe is right. But there are things we are not aware of, such as the fact that the ancient sports branch of ‘tourist rip-off’ is quite popular there, too.
You walk into a hostel, WOW! There’s everything, a bar, a swimming pool (yes, that’s possible), topnotch showers, this, that… The rate? 30 Euros!!! If you take this bait since you believe hostels are always cheaper than hotels, I am sorry but you are ‘ferociously’ being ripped off (huge festival days may be exceptions).
If the amount of money a hostel asks from you has 2 digits, and the tens digit starts with the number 2 or more, run for your life! Just go and find a “HOTEL” for that price, instead of a hostel. Then, enjoy rolling around in your own room and wallowing in your own shower. Call even the reception just to say “Hey Rec, ‘sup?”… You don’t have to share your oxygen with 10 people if you pay 20+ Euros/Dollars/Pounds…
10. Everywhere is within walking distance if you have time. (S. Wright)
Distance is a bit relative to humans actually. But if your hostel is located too far away from your sights to see, you may have made the wrong decision. The further hostel may be cheaper, but have you added your public transportation cost to that? Speaking idiomatically, is the game worth the candle? If it’s not, you have a bad hostel, change it.
As we have previously said, not having one of the mentioned features may not necessarily mean that a particular hostel is a bad one. But mind you, you are a customer above all, which means a business that provides you accommodation has to cover your basic humane needs. If it doesn’t, and if you’re being treated like a good old friend by the manager meanwhile (old strategy that still works well), you be the subject of a tourist rip-off game. Simply break up with him, but stay friends.
What makes a bad hostel? / Kötü hostel nasıl olur?
What makes a bad hostel? / Kötü hostel nasıl olur?