Ah, hostels. Love them or hate them, these bunk-heavy, binge-inducing, friend-producing digs are one of the rites of passage for any globetrotter. Most people have earned their stripes on the Hippy Trail or European circuits with bouts of bed bugs and boozy nights on the hostel pub crawl. Check out these stereotypes that might just be true about everyone's favorite shoestring stays…
Smalltalk is compulsory
Get ready to ask the same rigmarole of questions over and over and over again! "Where are you from?" "Where are you going?" "What's that accent?" "Have you been to…?" "Where are you traveling to next?" Yep, hostels are hotbeds for this sort of nondirectional chatter. So much so, in fact, that many backpackers have coined a phrase: Hostel talk. Somewhere in between politeness and a desire to seem interested about other peoples' travels, it might be a tad annoying but it's also a great way of breaking the ice. Our advice? Put up with this chin wagging for a little and you'll be talking like best buddies over a Bintang in no time!
There's always one annoying fella' in the dorm
There's the person who comes in late and starts zipping and un-zipping their bags at 4am. There's the uber-loud snorer. There's the guy who hangs his dirty pants on the end of his bed. There are the ladies who up-end having their luggage all over the floor. There's the bathroom hogger, the body odour maestro, and the occasional sleepwalker to boot. The point is, hostel dorms are known as being some weird and wonderful places to sleep. Sometimes that can mean dealing with just one or two irritating travellers. But hey, it's all gravy on the road.
Someone will always steal your food
No matter if you've cooked up a gourmet Italian pasta or just stashed a take-out pizza for the morning after the night before, everyone knows that the hostel kitchen isn't the best place to store it. Some will opt to hide away their hard-earned grub in the dorm room, while others will package it up in plastic bags with their name scrawled over in permeant marker. Still, it seems to us, no matter how hard you try, you'll always be one banana short of a full bunch when hopping between backpacker places. We don't really mind though – anyone's welcome to LBW's bananas.
You won't get much sleep in hostels
With the rise of all-new boutique hostels and some seriously swish backpacker digs, this old stereotype is slowly but surely fading away. These days, from Asia to Europe, the US to South America, it's possible to find places with huge pod beds and private rooms that are more on the hotel end of the scale. That said, there are still the rough-and-tumble options, too. You can still seek out 24-bed dorms with creaking beds and grubby bathrooms, ramshackle common spaces and hungover reception staff. We'll admit we've got a soft spot for those sort of digs – and they are usually as cheap as chips.
They are party central
Whether you opt to join an organized pub crawl hopping between the rambunctious shot bars of eastern Europe's hedonistic towns or sink one too many beers to remember while watching the sunset from the poolside of your Krabi Life Homestay, you're bound to encounter just one or two party moments while doing the hostel thing. These days, many places either define themselves as a party hostel or a chilled hostel, which makes it easier to avoid those long nights of shin-digging and drinking if it's not what you're after. Or, you know, if you've got Buddhist temples and Thai cooking lessons planned for the early morning.
They are full of Aussies
Long hair, often bleached, tanned faces, a penchant for saying words like "gnarly" and "dude" and "sweet", plenty of shackers, and a love of all things surf is what you're likely to find from the seemingly compulsory crowd of Aussies that inhabit the hostels of the world. There's nothing bad about these guys, they are usually lovely, relaxed (intensely so) and easy to talk to. We're just saying that they are there. So be ready for them. Oh, and bring some Vegemite along if you really want to be on their good side.
They are full of Brits
You're likely to hear the tenor football chants of British travellers no matter where you are in the world. But head to a hostel and those odds increase somewhat. And while not all travellers from the land of Old Blighty are tune-spouting soccer heads, most will be typically British about the way they go about hostel life. That means you can expect oodles of queuing for the breakfast buffet, a stiff upper lip when it comes to sadness over spilled pints during happy hour, and pretty much no tea bags left in the communal kettle area.
They are staffed by travellers too
This one's a stereotype that’s more of an observation, and an accurate one at that. In fact, most all hostels have some contingent of travellers on the staff board. And why not? Adding in globetrotters is not only a sure way of getting people to work for free (and free accommodation if you look at it the other way around) but also great for business. That's because travellers and travellers tend to get along, which is why so many reception staff and bar tenders in these places are chatty to the T.
They are more fun than hotels
Damn right they are! From late-night parties to happy hour sessions on the Jager, long chats on rooftop bars with fellow travellers to board game showdowns in the common rooms, hostels have got plenty up their sleeve when it comes to fun factor. You'll also find them top places for meeting and mingling with likeminded folk, which is great if you're a solo traveler hitting the road for the first time. Who wants to be alone in a hotel room anyway?
If you can think of any more glaring stereotypes about hostels, then we'd love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if you think it's time you strapped on the backpack and earned your traveler strips, be sure to check out LBW's offering of bucket-list-busting tours around the globe.
We believe that travel is not a reward for working, but the most valuable and impactful form of education for life. We aren’t just a travel company; we were built to introduce you to the rest of the world. LBW Travel is about more than taking vacation time. We connect you with people and offer experiences that will change the way you look at your world. Travel reminds us what is truly important: family, friendship, love, exploration and adventure.
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