In 2016 I decided to go on my first working holiday year, before that I had never traveled alone. Also, I had never heard about “hostels”.
Well, actually I had heard about hostels…in fact there is a famous movie franchise about them.
And these movies were the first thing that came to my mind when I thought hostel.
So, when I had to search for an accommodation for my trip to Australia and I saw that hostels were the cheapest option, I was scared. Really, truly scared. I mean, of course I knew that the movies are fiction and all but what if hostels were actually really dirty and full of poor people who stole your things… what kind of people stay in hostels?
And also, shared rooms!? I had never shared rooms with strangers before, what if I got the bad roommates?
But I had no choice because staying in a private hotel room was just too expensive for me (especially in Sydney) and at the time I didn’t know any other options and so I booked 5 days in a hostel. In a 10-bed female dorm. I did not know what to expect but I decided to expect the worse thinking if I had low expectations I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Once I arrived I realized I had been completely wrong. First of all, the receptionist was so helpful to me, maybe it was written in my face that it was my first time traveling AND staying in a hostel, but she gave me all the information about where to go to open my bank account, where the cheapest supermarket was, the closest train station, and a map of the city.
All that information that I didn’t even had to ask for but she gave it to me anyways. I felt welcomed from the beginning.
Then I saw the room, it was quite big, and even though it was for 10-bed room there were no bunk beds and we each had a night stand/locker. Even though the room was messy, it was still better than I expected. I lived there for a month and nothing ever happened. No one stole from me, no one killed anyone. It was nice and peaceful, I even met some girls there and we travelled together and became friends.
Now its 2017 and I have stayed at many hostels in many different places, I have stayed in mixed dorms and female only dorms. I have stayed in hostels where I was pretty much the only guest. And never has anything ever happened.
Of course, I have had some horror roommates that seem to not know basic manners for sharing a room but that has been the extent of it.
In my opinion, hostels are safe. Still I always lock my stuff if there are lockers but when there aren’t I leave my stuff out and never have I come back to something missing.
While travelling alone I also have stayed many times in mixed dorms and never have I felt any kind of danger, even when the majority of people staying in the room were guys.
Once while staying in a 16-bed mixed dorm in a cheap hostel in Melbourne, Australia my friend and I witnessed a marihuana buying and selling transaction between two guys staying there. But we stayed there 3 nights with no problem.
And once in Byron Bay, also in Australia, I stayed in a dorm with an old man who sold marihuana. Other backpackers knew and kept knocking in our door to buy from him! It was a bit annoying but dangerous? Never. I stayed there 3 nights and not once did I feel danger, in fact the old man was actually a really nice guy and I enjoyed talking to him.
Oh wait, actually there was one moment when that old man really scared me. I was inside the room reading while he and other smokers were outside enjoying a puff and talking when all of a sudden, the old man walks into the room telling me, “hey, look I found a Christmas bug!!”
A Christmas bug….
I hate bugs! All kinds of bugs. Even Christmas ones. Obviously, I screamed as soon as he showed me the bug which looked like a really colourful beetle. I screamed so loud the old man got scared and let the bug go which made the situation even worse because now I was screaming for him to catch it and get it out.
Poor old man, he thought he was doing something nice showing me the Christmas bug. Little did he know I would panic so loud hahaha.
But actually, that is a “scary” situation to me because of the bug, not because of the people there. So, I hold to my opinion that hostels are safe. Of course, safety in hostels probably depends on the country you are in, but in my experience, I think that most travellers are good people who, for the most part respect other travellers.
Now, are hostels comfortable? Well that’s a different story…
Please tell me in the comments, have you ever stayed in a hostel? If so, do you agree or disagree with me. And have you ever experienced any scary situation while in a hostel?