My Hostel Nightmares

If you are a budget traveller then hostels will quickly become your best friend on the road. The benefits of staying in hostels are endless: cheap rooms, like-minded people and great locations to name a few. Don’t get too comfy though, if you travel for long enough it is certain that you will end up staying somewhere a bit sketchy. Here are some of the hostel nightmares that have plighted my travels:

1. Bed Bugs

They are the thing that every traveller fears. They skitter over your body as you sleep and feast on your flesh.  I had my first brush with bed bugs in Malaysia and spent the next few days unable to stop raking at my skin. Not a good look.

2. Damp bedding and towels

Oh China, what are you like? Departing my shabby hostel room in the hutongs of Beijing with an armful of sheets and towels, I asked the woman at the desk, ‘Can I have new bedding? These are damp’. To which she replied, ‘Yes, they are meant to be’. Right…

3. En suite bathroom- no sink?

In fairness to the hostel in Laos, the absence of a sink was probably the least of its problems, which started with damp walls and an invasion of lizards in the middle of the night. As for the sink (or lack of) who knew what had happened to it.

4. Creepy crawlies

Cockroaches are one of my ultimate hostel nightmares!
Another tale concerning things with too many legs, I have been plagued by cockroaches, cicadas and millipedes during my stints across the world. They say that two is company, any more than that is definitely a no go.

5. Why doesn’t my room have a floor?

Perhaps the most bizarre of all my hostel nightmares, being directed to a room only to find they haven’t actually finished building it yet. And you want me to pay how much?

How to avoid bad hostel experiences:

  • Before you check in (and pay), always ask to see where you will be staying first. If the room is bad, exercise your right to walk away.
  • Use guidebook recommendations…or don’t. I have found some great accommodation using recommendations from guidebooks but have also stayed in some atrocious places as a result of this. Being featured in a travel guide such as Lonley Planet practically guarantees a string of travellers and sometimes standards drop.
  • Use Tripadvisor and other review sites as a guide. Listen to the opinions of the travelling community and likewise warn others if you have a bad experience.

What are your hostel nightmares?

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