I can no longer count how many nights I have already spent in various hostels. By and large my experiences have been great and I’m still friends with some of the people I got to know on my way. Nevertheless, there are few stories which still make me cringe when I recall them. If I experienced them, other travellers must have experienced them as well, I thought. Budget travelling is sometimes too good to be true and when I read other travel blogs, I don’t really find unpleasant or weird experiences there. Therefore, I decided to ask fellow travel bloggers to send me the worst hostel stories they have ever experienced and compile them in one post.
Mind you! As bad, grouse, frightening the stories may seem, my intention is not to discourage you from staying in hostels. In fact, I love hostels and one bad experience cannot cross out a dozen of great ones. ;-) So enjoy!
Journalist On the Run – Janet Newenham
When I moved to Australia a few years ago I was lucky enough (or so I thought) to land a job at a party hostel in the Kings Cross area of Sydney. I enjoyed the work at first, working on the reception, showing guests around and the odd bit of cleaning. However, as the days went on, the cleaning took over everything else. Guests would vomit all over the stairs, bathrooms and even in the dormitories on a nightly basis. the ‘party room’ smelled so bad of sex, drink and drugs I would have to shield my mouth and nose when entering. The last straw came when 6 English dudes, who had been living in the hostel for a month in a private ‘Penthouse Dorm’ moved out. The state of the room was frightening….condoms on the floor, dirty underwear belonging to whatever girls they had over, enough empty wine boxes and goon bags to fill a stadium and worst of all….something they had nicknamed the ‘Sex Bed’ which was a mattress they put on the hostel roof so they could take turns sleeping outside with girls and not disturbing the other guys. I ran, very fast, from that hostel that day and will never work in a hostel again!!
Kami and the Rest of the World – Kamila Napora
Couple of years ago I went for the long weekend to England. I booked myself a place in 4 beds dorm in one of the Chester hostels, I checked in as the first one and all was fine. In the evening, when I came back from the exhausting sightseeing three guys came into the room, young Welshmen who came to Chester for the party weekend. They were really surprised when they saw me, even though it was a dorm room they requested it just for themselves, after all you never know how these parties might end. Guys went out to the city, I fall asleep. It was hard not to hear them coming back at 4am, not as the full team of 3. One of them just threw himself into the bed and shortly after started vomiting around… The other one, seeing me waking up, sat at my bed and started talking about Poland. He had big difficulties with speaking clearly but he did his best. Soon he started hitting on me, fortunately in a pretty subtle way so I quickly managed to convince him now it’s the best time to go to sleep. I don’t know how he managed to get to the top of the bunk bed but he felt asleep right away. I was just waiting till the morning, trying to nap but at 7am I just got up and left, before they even woke up. Needless to say now when I stay in dorms I always go for the female only one!
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Podróże Pana Szpaka – Piotr Czyszpak
I could say a lot good and bad things about hostels, about being bitten by bugs and other insects, night-long parties, and other unpleasant situations. However, today I wanted to share my story from the hostel in Armenia, where my friends and I stayed for a few days and where we got to know almost all hostel guests, thanks to a spontaneous party, which which could be a topic for a separate post. As weird as it may sound, it all happened in the shower. Hostels often don’t have separate bathrooms for women and men, but this hostel didn’t even have any shower curtain, so when you entered the bathroom, you could see who’s taking shower right away. With all the details. On the one hand, it was a little uncomfortable; on the other hand, we all know what humans look like. However, the situation becomes unbearable, when you’re taking a shower, there comes a guy from India and starts talking to you with no intention of taking shower. Yep. This Hindu guy came to talk to me while I was taking shower. It this wasn’t creepy enough, he started telling me that my friend, Dominik, is nice, friendly, handsome, and what not. I’m sure I wouldn’t even remember that conversation afterwards, if it hadn’t taken place under shower.To be frank, I had no idea how to behave in this highly uncomfortable situation. Luckily, my back parts stayed safe and I am now recalling that situation with laughter.
Facebook: Podróże Pana Szpaka
Emi w Drodze – Emilia Smolka
When I was travelling around Asia for a few months, I could afford staying only in the cheapest hostels that were available. Rooms without windows, rooms without locks, insects, rats, people having sex in the bed above mine, dirty bed sheets remembering guests who arrived a few months before I did, dirty bathrooms – I’ve experienced all that. My absolutely worst experiences ever took place in seemingly civilized Bali. My boyfriend and I were travelling on a scooter, so we had a chance to look for some hostels and be pickier. However, on the very last day in Bali we got caught up in a storm, it was getting dark and we couldn’t find anything in acceptable price. We were exhausted, soaked to the skin, so when we finally found a room twice as cheap as in previous places, we decided to book it regardless of conditions. The hostel didn’t actually have any bathroom, apart from an open-air shower located outside. Taking shower under starry night has its charm, but not when you notice there is a building in front of you, whose windows overlook the temporary shower. If that wasn’t enough, the drain was stuck, so to take shower, we had to stand ankle-deep in dirty water. Seeing that, we decided not to shower at all, but to go to bed instead. However, it turned out that the windows in our room aren’t working and we couldn’t close them. It was during the rainy season, so the whole room quickly filled with mosquitoes. Needless to say, when you stay in the cheapest place ever, you can’t count on any mosquito net. We also couldn’t just leave the place and go somewhere else, because it was already dark and raining like crazy. Anti-mosquito sprays didn’t work at all, so we put on all the clothes we had, even socks. We heard the buzzing of mosquitos all night long and when we got up in the morning, we were bitten up all over our bodies. Ah, because of that noise, we didn’t really sleep that night.
Facebook: Emi w Drodze
In Foreign Lands – Alannah McEwan
Istanbul, Turkey – March 2014
I chose this hostel because of the budget price and because it was in a good location. The reviews were hit and miss and because of this I was not sure what to expect. The room didn’t have internet as advertised and was really small and stuffy with windows that didn’t open and paper thin walls. I stayed there for five nights and during this time there were two power outages, each lasing at least a day. I had really bad luck because both times the power went off while I was in the shower. At first, I thought my friend was playing a joke when the lights went off but then I realised the power had cut off when the water suddenly turned freezing cold. After the first time that the power came back on I was so happy to go have a hot shower. A couple seconds into the shower the power went off again and I had to have another cold shower. Reception could only provide little tea light candles. It was quite frustrating because they barely put out enough light to see and most of them were already half used so they didn’t last very long.
Facebook: 365 Australia
Bonfire Dream – Nikoleta Míchalová
I went on a road trip with my mom and grandparents. It was not organized by a travel agency, but two teachers/historians recommended us this trip. It was pretty expensive (almost two times as much as one we found online having the same route, unfortunately we could not change at that time). We expected luxury, but were deeply disappointed. As the time was going by, the hostels were getting worse and worse. The climax was in Finland where we lived in a place that looked like and old car machinery. Inside it was full of paintings featuring death, there were no windows and some people were even put to what used to be a sauna. The bed sheets were so dirty and smelly that we doubted they were washed these days. My mother and I decided to take a walk to breathe it through. Outside we met one nurse, a couple and many other people from the trip. They all were so angry that I thought for a while we that there would be a “riot”. After all even the hygiene conditions were unacceptable and we were all scared to live there. At some point I decided to ask locals whether there was a hostel nearby but since it was Friday in the middle of nowhere I unluckily ran into three drunk men. Not only they were drunk but they also seemed horny and were happy to run after me. At this point, complaints were no more important and I stayed in the awful place. And when I wanted to lock the door, I found out that the lock did not work. As you might have guessed I did not sleep the whole night.
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Szwedacz Photo Trips – Agnieszka Szwed
Bathrooms. A never-ending story in hostels. They can be anything from clean to grouse, but at least they exist. I’m sure there’s hardly anyone who would expect not to have any bathroom at all, especially when the price is quite high. However, it sometimes happens that you have to fight for shower even in such places. In one of guesthouses “gostienic” in Kazakhstan where I stayed, having shower was not considered by the owners at all. Those who booked a standard room, could use only a common toilet and a small sink. There was no actual bathroom, there were absolutely no showers. When we asked where we can wash ourselves using the water we earlier bought in the city, having heard that there are water cuts sometimes, the receptionist showed us this little sink just near the toilette. Given that we had spent the previous nights camping wild and it was scorching hot, this view was very disappointing. However, it turned out we could pay more and get something called a “luxurious” room. Although that room had a bathroom, I would never call it “luxurious”. Four of us were booked into a double room, but at least we could “take bottle shower”. I know, paying extra for a bathroom which doesn’t have any water sounds ridiculous. But is travel without such incidents even possible? Staying at this hostel was quite fine, except for the surprising sanitary conditions.
TropiMy Przygody – Karolina i Bartosz Wudniak
Sibiu, Romania. 8-bed room in a hostel, late at night. Bunk beds in the room, I’m on the lower one, located in a corner facing the door. I always have a light sleep in hostels. Maybe because of the noise, maybe because I don’t want anybody to rob me. I was sleeping lightly this time as well, when I woke up at the noise of someone entering the room. It wouldn’t be strange, if that person hadn’t started searching for things left on the only free bed. He hadn’t put on the light. Before I thought this could be a thief, something else stole my attention. There was a slim German guy sleeping in the bed just below the one the stranger was searching through. He suddenly got out of bed without making any noise and sat down on a little chair between his bed and the door. The German guy was clad only in loose boxers and if it hadn’t been for the sense of danger, I would have laughed at the sight of this thin guy in loose boxers jumping out of his bed. I couldn’t imagine the German guy harming the thief in any way, he seemed to weak for that. I looked at the stranger looping someone’s backpack and quietly grabbed mine. I was trying to estimate the level of danger and possibilities for defense, but given it was middle of the night and I just woke up, it wasn’t easy. When I was still thinking, the stranger just went out of the room and came back after a longer while only to… go to sleep. And the thin German guy was still sitting on the chair.
Facebook: TropiMy Przygody
The Heritage Travels – Ashlee Litfin
It was early 2008 and I just finished high school. My boyfriend, at the time, and I decided we were going to fruit pick our way around Australia. Only three hours from our home, we thought it safe to start in Bundaberg. Little did we know this would be our first and last stop on our tour of Australia. We arrived at our hostel in Bundaberg excited for what was going to happen. We met people from all over the world; some who would become lifelong friends. Unfortunately not everyone at the backpackers was very nice. Apparently the guy running the place was insane.
One fateful night the majority of the people staying at the hostel were drinking and enjoying themselves. I was happily eating tacos in the (not so clean) shared kitchen when I heard a commotion. This is when it started. A friend and I walked in to the hall outside the kitchen to see what was happening. The manager and a few of his friends had a new guest on the ground of the men’s bathroom, naked, and were beating in to him. After what seemed like hours the police finally arrived, and the new guy was left on the ground, covered in his own excrement. It was absolutely disgusting. I ended up helping him out to the ambulance when it arrived. I seriously had never experienced something so traumatic; it effected me so much that I spent the next 24 hours in hospital in shock. Needless to say that was the end of our whirlwind trip around Australia.
Facebook: The Heritage Travels
Hanging Around in Asia – Dominika Sidorowicz
A surprising name of the hostel, „Diva guesthouse 2” was promising adventure. As it turned out, a bit different than I expected. Although I had booked the room, my reservation disappeared into thin air and I had to book it again on site. I could check-in only after 2pm, because the room was being supposedly cleaned. Not sure how this was done, since it was dirty and look as if no one had cleaned it in the past five years. What is more, the guesthouse advertised it terrace. Guess what? When I arrived, it was closed. Adding to that, one of the rooms next to mine was being renovated and there was drilling noise all the time. I could not sleep, I could not rest after a long journey, I couldn’t load my batteries before the next day’s trekking. Despite that, the owner of the house still was trying to convince me to buy his trip. I didn’t take it.
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Przedeptane – Zosia i Darek Jedzok
We’ve had our share of bad hostel experiences – bug infested beds in Thailand or dirty toilets guarded by aggressive geckos in Cambodia – but the gold medal goes to Sydney. People warned us not to look for accommodation in Kings Cross, Sydney’s infamous district with a huge offer of cheap hostels and cheap sex (both for people with very, very low standards), but one night we didn’t have any other option. We had to book two beds in a 16 bed mixed dorm right in the middle of the district and boy, what a night it was! Apparently, the theme of our room was “refugee camp”, with people coming and going, underwear and food laying on the floor and street noise perfectly balanced with laughs and screams coming from the corridor. But we couldn’t complain – we had an opportunity to enjoy live music (performed in our room at 3 PM by a bunch of drunk people with guitars) and we met some local wildlife (early in the morning a crow burst in through a broken window and started pillaging the backpacks). Needles to say, we checked out the very next day and we’ve never visited Kings Cross since.
Bałkany Rudej – Olka Zagórska-Chabros
By and large, I don’t usually stay in hostels. However, during my last 2-month-long trip, I had to sleep in a hostels twice. One of them was in Brasov, Romania. August, summer, we are coming back from Turkey, and Brasov is cold and rainy. Looking for accommodation isn’t going too well. We finally arrive at a hostel where supposedly, there should be some vacancies. We can either choose a dorm or a little cottage. We decide to stay in the latter one. And what do we get from that? We sleep in something what resembles a witch’s house, there’s no bathroom, no internet, it’s cold and we can use their dirty blankets, because we would have to pay the fine of 100 Euros for using our own sleeping bags. We still regret staying there.
Facebook: Kianka Expedition
Także jak widać, bywa różnie. :-b Jeżeli macie jakieś nietypowe historie hostelowe, to podzielcie się nimi w komentarzach, niech innym też się włos na głowie zjeży. :-D