Beg bugs, nits, stained mattresses, and sleepless nights. This is what I originally though hostel stays consisted of! But as is not so surprisingly turns out, hostels are OK.
Have I had bed bugs? Yes. I have had stained mattresses? Yes, and have I had sleepless nights? Yep. But don’t let this scare you off saving some hard eared money for travelling on the cheap! It turns out hostels can surprisingly be really fun, a great place to meet new people, perfect for saving money, and seeing more down to earth parts of the cities you choose to stay in!
When we start to plan our trips we often question whether or not it is worth it to stay in hostels, and are likely to too at some point during our travels! It more so often than not comes down to where and when the best time for backpackers and hostels come in. It also varies depending on your trip style, the type of person you are, and what exactly you are expecting out of your trip abroad.
My first ever-proper backpackers experience didn’t actually happen until just recently whilst I was travailing through South America! After being on the road for a few months, I decided as a solo traveller not only to step out of my comfort zone, but also more importantly try new things and meet new people. I saw staying at a local hostel as the perfect timing for myself to experience the true traveller way!
We have all heard of the dreadful stories, and I’m sure many of us have similar experiences – things being stolen, parasites, dirty and unclean spaces etc. but even though with the unfortunate chance something could happen during our stay, it comes down to knowing where you are staying and what type of comfort zone you have.
I decided to stay at a local hostel in Buenos Aries, it is a well know youth hostel and even though it is double the price of a normal hostel in the area, it is popular and known to be a great hostel for young, solo travellers. I chose to be in a 6 bed coed dorm and made sure I prepared myself for the many stories I had heard from others whom had stayed in dorms before.
After arriving I made extra effort to be outgoing, friendly and excited to be there. Within the first 2 minutes I met other travellers in the foyer and soon to be sharing my dorm. As it turned out this wasn’t going to be a bad experience after all!
The best part about hostels is everyone is often extremely friendly because they, like you are travelling and keen to meet new people!
The room facilities where clean and tidy, but the beds where stained, the lights kept flickering, and door would not close properly… BUT I had already made new friends who I still talk today! I was in a part of town that was more down to earth, within walking distance from everything and super excited to test out my first ever hostel stay!
Now don’t get me wrong, hotels are amazing! Its nice to have your bed made for you each day, the over friendly staff who will help you with whatever you may need, but it isn’t the best way to be very sociable and harder to meet people this way.
With the pros and cons put together, traveling in hostels and backpackers may not be for everyone, but it is so much fun! you meet new people, have to be more independent with cooking, cleaning and washing which is great because it helps you develop into become a better traveller, and most importantly helps you to see the destination in a totally different light. You can easily hop on a plane and go anywhere staying in hotels and resorts, which is all some people want to do but at the same time you may be missing out on meeting the locals, great friends, and traditional experience you wouldn’t find in any kind of hotel or resorts.
It doesn’t matter the age, the traveller type – solo, couples, friends etc. everyone in backpackers are friendly and happy to be there! Yes you may have a higher chance of an unfortunate event happening to you, such as horrible rooms, stolen items and sleepless nights, but it’s all apart of the experience! and a great experience to have! just lock up your things, bring your own silk bed liner, and an eye mask/ear plugs if you are unsure and not knowing what to expect. it is definitely the true travellers experience, and a memorable one for sure!
Safe Travels and fly far!