Have you ever checked into a hip and happening hostel and thought, “Man I wish I chose that expensive hotel down the road instead?”. Yea, me too.
Here are 10 reasons you should never stay in a hostel.
You’ve been warned.
1. They’re too cheap
The first problem with hostels is that they are much too cheap. My grandpa always told me, “If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!” So true Grandpa, so true. The fact that these “hostels” claim to throw in free breakfast, unlimited WiFi and various free activities every afternoon sounds way too good to be true. Nobody in their right mind would throw away $10 of their hard earned money when they can get a perfectly good hotel down the street for $150.
2. You’ll meet new people
This would be my main reason for avoiding hostels like the plague, and will probably be your main reason too once you read on. In many hostels these days, you will be expected to actually speak with strangers, people you have never met before in your life. I mean, if I wanted to be murdered by a random stranger, I would happily just go Couchsurfing! If you are extra unlucky and are travelling solo, these weird and overly friendly strangers might even try to invite you for drinks with them and try to be your friend. To make matters worse, if you should be so lucky that no one tries to befriend you, the staff will most likely zone in on you to ‘make you feel at home’. *shivers*
3. There will be drinking games
As if meeting other backpackers wasn’t enough, staying in hostels inevitably means being sucked into drinking games and often times being handed too many cans of free beer. If I wanted free drink, I would go to an all-you-can-drink wine buffet. Free drink? Nobody has time for that!
4. Operated by locals
This one gets me every time. Most hostels are actually operated by locals rather than large corporate chains which means every individual hostel has its own character and unique decor which can be very unsettling. These locals always seem to know everything about the local area such as the best restaurants, how to get around the city and tips on not getting scammed. Ha, as if they’re not already scamming you!
5. You’ll have to listen to other people’s stories
One of the biggest reasons to avoid staying in hostels is that travel advice will be thrown at you from a sling shot for the duration of your stay. These people don’t care that you have the Tripadvisor app on your phone or that you carry the latest Lonely Planet with you wherever you go. They will do whatever it takes to ensure you hear their own personal stories of getting mugged on the next street, how they got food poisoning in one of the main restaurants in town which other hostels on your route they enjoyed the most. As if you would stay in another hostel after this encounter.
6. You’ll get invited to special events
When will hostel owners realise that all guests really want is a quiet place to sleep?! These days it would appear that every hostel out there is offering free afternoon surf lessons, group volleyball tournaments with free wine and sunset hikes up the nearest hill. When will they realise nobody wants to go to some free VIP party organized by the local club, or some fake music festival apparently known all over Europe. Like my Grandpa wisely said, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”.
7. There might be cooking involved
Who on earth wants to cook their own food when they are on holidays? If I wanted to spend time with strangers in a large fully-kitted kitchen I would have stayed at home and volunteered in the local soup kitchen. It doesn’t matter if I have been travelling for 3 months and have been forced to eat eggs on toast for 90 days in a row, it’s still better than having to cook my own food or teaming up with strangers to prepare some sort of horrid pot luck picnic.
8. Too much security
Sometimes there is nothing worse than feeling ‘too safe’. Staying in hostels means you are are always surrounded by other tourists and staff members, rarely have time to yourself and are greeted by the burly night security man each time you approach the building. This, coupled with a room key or a swipe card to get through every door, seems like safety overkill.
9. Locations are too central
If I wanted to stay in the exact centre point of a city, I’d grab my sleeping bag and go sleep outside city hall. It never fails to baffle me why all the best hostels around the world seem to be located in the most central part of the city as possible, often just a stones throw away from the train or bus station. Perfect for a quick escape, I guess.
10. You’ll be reminded of home
Last, but certainly not least, the biggest reason of all to avoid staying in hostels would be that they tend to feel like home. You will be surrounded by new friends who almost feel like family after a day or two. You will sleep in a shared room with them, eat breakfast with them and spend your evenings playing drinking games or exploring the city with them. Hostels have the ability to create an incredible sense of community that one normally feels at home or perhaps upon moving into their first apartment in University. Why anyone would pay good money to travel to a new city only to feel like they have never left home is just baffling.