Back in May, I stayed in my first ever hostel at the ripe old age of 19. Having never stayed in one before, I never really knew what to expect. Growing up I had only ever stayed in hotels or private accommodation so I guess it’d be safe to say I was in for a bit of a shock. As part of a university trip, almost 90 students and 5 tutors piled into a hostel in the centre of Barcelona – here are some general ‘hostel observations’.
You will speak to LOTS of people from ALL over the world.
I feel like I’d have hated this part if I was a shy person. Luckily, I’m very much the opposite. As a hostel virgin, I had no idea just how diverse it would be. We chatted away to Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Italians, Spaniards, English, German, Swedish and French – majority of them lovely. 1am chats about where you’re from and what you do are commonplace. I never imagined that we’d be speaking to people from all over the world, considering we filled up about half of the hostel due to the size of our trip.
Someone will try to become too friendly.
On our first night in the hostel, a Canadian man approached us. Originally, we were happy to chat away to him while enjoying a few drinks in the bar. Then, he just got a bit ‘weird’, telling us all about how he was an entrepreneur and that he wanted to know weird facts about us. As you can probably imagine, conversation awkwardly fizzled out leaving him staring at us while we sipped on (disastrous) unmeasured spirits. After a long day of traveling, myself and my university friends gave each other the ‘look’ you give your friends when things get awkward and made a bee-line for the exit of the bar. We were headed up to our room and who followed us? The Canadian Man. Brilliant. “I’m not stalking you, I promise” he protested as we launched ourselves out of the lift on the wrong floor to run away. This is the same guy that mysteriously appeared everywhere we went in the hostel. This is the same guy that stared at my hungover friend as she napped in the lounge room – not stalking??? you sure???
At breakfast, you’ll have to take what you get.
If you’re even offered one that is. Potentially the weirdest ‘continental’ breakfast I’ve ever had. Cardboard cereal with suspiciously warm milk, under-done or burnt AF toast – no happy medium. Cucumber, fruit cocktail in syrup and the world’s smallest croissants. Earl Grey or Mint tea and thats’ your lot. Better than nothing? Take it or leave it.
You’ll have to put up with some pretty stupid rules.
No food or drink (both alcoholic and soft drinks) in your room – girl’s gotta eat, girl’s gotta drink. No sleeping or lounging in the ‘lounge room’. No smoking when standing outside the hostel, you have to move away from the building. You aren’t allowed to take your shoes off, too – apparently.
Hostels aren’t just for young people.
The hostel we stayed in was what I imagine to be in the upper echelons of the hostel world. Ensuite rooms that were clinically clean, keycard rooms, electric lockers and extremely modern decor. During our stay I spotted families with kids, teens, students and people much much older. I didn’t expect this either – there’s some kind of global stereotype that you only stay in a hostel if you’re under the age of 25 and wanting to see the world. Stereotype busted.
Every night out ends in the hostel bar.
Even when you know that one more drink will ruin any chance of you doing anything the following day. It’s where just about everyone goes to die after a night out before heading up to bed and not making it out the next day till 3pm. While I don’t recommend this – it was a whole lot of fun.
It makes you grateful for your home.
Fighting over plug sockets, fighting over the one full length mirror in the room when trying to nail the perfect mirror pic for Instagram. Walking around the room slowly trying to get the best lighting for your make up. Living out a suitcase due to not having a wardrobe. Smacking your legs off the bunk-bed metal stairs during the night. Home is a wonderful thing. Just because a room has 4 beds, doesn’t mean if fits 4 people – you feel?
Clean sheets ain’t a thing.
Even if you go to reception and ask nicely because your friend was sick in her’s during the night. Every 6 days only, apparently.
There is always a congregation of people standing in the lobby. ALWAYS.
People about to move on to a new city, people who have just arrived or are leaving or people attending an excursion – you can never walk straight through the lobby without weaving in and out a massive group of people. Guaranteed.
Despite all the less appealing factors – it is pretty fun.
While it might not be super glamorous or what I’m used to, staying in a hostel was an eye-opening experience and I’d definitely do it again. Maybe not alone but definitely as part of a group. I’d really recommend staying in a hostel, even if it is only once. I honestly had such a great time, even if I was woken up by the sound of my friend spewing into her bed sheets at 6am…