Hostels. They are cheap (most of the time) and cheerful (maybe less often), and despite a raft of nightmare stories, backpackers seem to love them. On one hand, it’s easy to see why they are popular – they are generally cheaper than hotels, and they have common areas that are perfect for meeting other travellers.
However, hostels have their downsides as well. For one thing, you could be staying in a room with 20 other people. Smelly people, obnoxious people, loud people, drunken people, people who lack certain common courtesies and social etiquette.
Then there can be problems with shared bathrooms, shared kitchens, dirty rooms, dirty sheets, mice, rats, cockroaches, bed bugs, windows painted shut, windows painted open, no windows at all… The list goes on.
One of the most common stories hostel-goers come back with are those of couples getting amorous in shared dorm rooms. While most people would be keen to keep their bedroom activities under wraps, it seems there is something about a shared hostel dorm that brings out the exhibitionist in people.
There’s not much worse than waking up to your bunk bed rocking, and strange noises coming from the upstairs bunk. You can choose to ignore it, throw a shoe at it, or confront it. Sometimes it will be a drunk couple who don’t know any better, at other times (particularly in Bangkok, it seems), it will be a hostel-goer enjoying the services of a prostitute.
Leaving stories of Amsterdam aside, it’s perhaps best to concentrate on the legal stuff – alcohol. Alcohol is one of the main causes of shenanigans in hostels, making people act in the worst possible ways.
A common complaint is the complete obliviousness of a drunken person to his poor room mates. Lights being switched on in the room at 3am, crashing around for half an hour before going to bed, waking up innocent bystanders to have random conversations about the meaning of life, and loss of control of bodily functions…
Rock and Roll
It’s no secret that many backpackers like to party, which is why many hostels are found near – or on top of – pubs and clubs. While this can be great when you are partying, it’s not so great when you are trying to sleep. If you don’t like the music, you better buy some earplugs!
While hostels have their upsides, they most definitely have their downsides too. If you want less of an adventure and more of an experience, it can be a better idea to stay in a hotel! Think about the peace and quiet, the clean sheets, having your own bathroom, and having a whole bedroom to yourself!
If you’re travelling to Sydney, it’s worth checking out hotels in Darling Harbour. As part of the thriving tourist district, Darling Harbour is an awesome choice for travellers – and accommodation doesn’t have to be expensive either!